The local pair of Florian Golay (CH) and Olivier Grossrieder (CH) win this demanding event which has put both riders and machines to the test.
A round of applause for the end of the inaugural edition of the E-Tour du Mont-Blanc (E-TMB), which took place from the 14th to the 16th August 2019, as part of the Verbier E-Bike Festival.
16 teams began the race on Wednesday – of which there were 3 womens and 2 mixed teams – made up of both professionals, retired pros, and passionate amateurs. Also of note, was Jérémie Heitz, professional Swiss freeskier, who wished to take part in the race for the experience. Overall, an experienced yet eclectic mix of participants who took part in this race that, for many, became a full-on adventure.
At the top of the game was Florian Golay (CH), Verbier local and VTTAE LAPIERRE team member who won the race alongside his teammate Olivier Grossrieder (CH) with a time of 13 hours, 19 minutes and 24 seconds. On their heels were team SPECIALIZED, Sauser (CH) and Bundi (CH), who finished 12 minutes behind; Sauser having broken the motor on his e-bike during the approach to the Col de Malatra forcing him to push it up hill for 45 minutes. The French pair of Muller and Giordanengo (MAVIC-MOUSTACHE), e-bike specialists, came in 3rd place to complete the podium.
For the women, the Anglo-Swiss team of Moseley (professional British downhill rider) and Schneitter (2011 World Championships mixed relay silver medalist) won with a time of 19 hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds.
Worthy of note was the exceptional performance from French rider, Nadine Sapin (mountain bike and e-mountain bike rider) who came in 4th place overall in her mixed team with an incredible time of 14 hours and 52 minutes, more than 4 hours faster than the first woman’s team.
An amazing route
This race was not a walk in the park. The figures speak for themselves: 300km (260km of single track) long, 3 countries crossed, 12000m of climbing, and 16000m descent.
The first step was the most challenging: counting for 1/3 of the distance with 5350m of climbing. The route was technical, engaging and alpine, including crossing the Fenêtre de Durand (2897m) and numerous sections in which carrying the bikes was obligatory on the way to the Col de Malatra (2928). During this section, German rider, Fabian Scholz’s knee gave out forcing him to abandon the race and leaving his teammate, Italian, Marco Fontana (former cross-country Olympic medalist) to finish the race alone. Fontana went on to win the final stage of the race but was unable to be ranked due to losing his teammate.
The second day was calmer: giving the riders a welcome break on a less technical route made up of 87km distance and 4300m of climbing between Courmayeur (IT) and Les Houches (FR).
Finally, the third stage, 105km long with 6300m of climbing, came with its fair share of surprises, including the climb up the Alpage de Bovine and a lofty traverse of the ridge of Col de Mille before a long final descent to Verbier (CH).
Finish line reactions:
Florian Golay (CH), Men’s Winner: “It’s an enormous satisfaction to win against the best of the discipline. We gave it our all right until the end and it worked. The last climb was extremely physical but the sight of Sauser’s team just ahead pushed us along”
Marco Aurelio Fontana (ITA), “What we lived was unbelievable, there’s not many words to describe the whole thing.
Nathalie Schneitter (CH), Woman’s Winner: “I am knackered but delighted to have won. E-biking is not as easy as it looks, my arms and legs are really sore!”
Tracy Moseley (UK), Woman’s Winner: It was incredible to ride this mythical route on a bike. The climbs were a lot harder than expected. I really suffered on the first day, but my teammate really helped me especially on the Col de Malatra, thank you very much!
You can find the results and further info at http://www.verbierebikefestival.com