Team Spur is a professional South African mountain bike team, sponsored by Spur Steak Ranches and Specialized Bicycles. Team riders Ariane Lüthi and Alan Hatherly are proud ambassadors of the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League.

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Second Overall for Team Spur-Wallonie at Perskindol Swiss Epic

Ariane Lüthi and Alice Pirard won the final stage of the Perskindol Swiss Epic on Saturday, 16 September to finish second overall on GC in the women’s category. “What a great week of racing!” commented an ecstatic Ariane after the finish of the 45km final loop around Zermatt, which included some 1900m of climbing. The Team Spur-Wallonie pair finished in 3 hours and 24 minutes, six minutes ahead of the Meerendal CBC outfit of Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Süss who did enough to win the overall.

Emphatic Silver for Alan Hatherly at UCI MTB World Champs

Team Spur’s Alan Hatherly capped off his best ever XCO season by finishing in second place in the U23 Men’s race at the UCI MTB World Champs in Australia, on Friday 8 September. Hatherly completed the six laps of the 4.3km course in 1:17:57, some 11 seconds behind New Zealand’s, Sam Gaze who won his second straight U23 World Championship, Maximilian Brandl of Germany rounded out the podium.

Stage 3 Win in the Mud at Swiss Epic!

Thursday’s Stage 3 of the Perskindol Swiss Epic served up a wet and muddy day, which played into the hands of Team Spur’s Ariane Lüthi and her Belgian partner, Alice Pirard. Race organisers were forced to shorten the stage due to severe rains forecast, the already short stage was cut to just 42km with some 1700m of climbing.

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Ariane Lüthi and Alice Pirard wrapped up the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC – MTB Stage Race on Saturday. The pair finished the successful week by claiming second overall and walked away with three stage victories. Take a look at our full race report below:

Ariane Lüthi and Alice Pirard won the final stage of the Swiss Epic on Saturday, 16 September to finish second overall on GC in the women's category. "What a great week of racing!" commented an ecstatic Ariane after the finish of the 45km final loop around Zermatt, which included some 1900m of climbing. The Team Spur-Wallonie pair finished in 3 hours and 24 minutes, six minutes ahead of the Meerendal CBC outfit of Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Süss who did enough to win the overall.
"It was tight racing and a good fight throughout," Ariane said. "Congrats to Esther and Jennie for the win though – what a successful year they've had, winning the Absa Cape Epic and various other stage races."

"We're just happy to have challenged them as much as we could," she said.

The final stage was a continuation of the theme from throughout the week's racing: Ariane and Alice dominated on the descents and over technical terrain, while Meerendal CBC owned the climbs and tempo flat sections.

"Today we could get away and stay away, however," Ariane said. "The first climb was really steep towards the end and went to almost 2600m altitude," she explained. Meerendal managed to get a two-minute cushion on Team Spur-Wallonie on the climb, but the descent down the other side was technical and they took full advantage.

"We caught Jennie and Ester really soon [after the climb]. We managed to drop them and continued to increase our gap to two minutes at the bottom of the last climb. From there we stayed ahead of them before the last downhill which was a huge success for us. It was the first time all week we could stay away on the climb."

"We knew if nothing happened to them they would win the race, but we still raced flat-out to the finish, so we were super happy to take the stage win."

Aside from the win on Saturday's fifth and final stage, Team Spur-Wallonie also won the Prologue over 19km in convincing fashion and took charge of the weather affected Stage 3 for a total of three stage wins. The third stage served up a wet and muddy day and race organisers were forced to shorten the stage due to severe rains forecast, the already short stage was cut to just 42km with 1700m of climbing.

As on the final stage, they made their move here on the final descent and kept the pressure on through the last flat section and finished 24 seconds ahead of Süss and Stenerhag. On every other stage Meerendal-CBC crossed first with Ariane and Alice in second. But even those second places were not gifted.

The week served up its share of challenges for the pair too, including a double puncture on Stage 1, but throughout they endeavoured to manage their losses and stay positive, while having a good time on the beautiful trails. "Alice was a great teammate and we had so much fun together," Ariane said.

Photo Credit: Perskindol Swiss Epic

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While Ariane Lüthi and Alice Pirard currently tackle the gruelling 85km Stage 4 of the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC – MTB Stage Race, take a look at our race report from Stage 3 below. Winning the stage in tricky race conditions made for one of the best days of Alice's career on the bike.

Thursday's Stage 3 of the Perskindol Swiss Epic served up a wet and muddy day, which played into the hands of Team Spur's Ariane Lüthi and her Belgian partner, Alice Pirard. Race organisers were forced to shorten the stage due to severe rains forecast, the already short stage was cut to just 42km with some 1700m of climbing.

Team Spur had intended to target this stage, as the technical trails suited the pair's superior bike handling skills. However, Ariane and Alice entered the stage with uncertainty as the shortened course eliminated the technical descents they were salivating over, and included an extra 200m of climbing. Yet their fighting spirit shone through, as they executed a tactical victory in Leukerbad. "We won," exclaims Ariane. "That was a great day out for us, it was just really fun."

Team Spur lost the wheel of overall leaders Team Meerendal/CBC on Stage 3's first climb. But the ensuing technical descent allowed the team to make contact again. "It was on the 1000m or so of downhill after the first climb where we caught up with Esther [Süss] and Jennie [Stenerhag]," says Ariane. "We then hit the final climb up to the finish and they pulled away from us again." Crucially, Ariane and Alice kept the leading pair in their sights.

Knowing the descent would be slippery with the rainfall, they worked to limit their losses on the climb with the plan to attack on the downhill run to the finish. "It was just technical enough and we managed to catch Esther and Jennie before the flat run in to the finish," explained Ariane. From there it was a flat-out run to the line over the final couple of kilometers. A clearly elated Ariane and Alice crossed first, 24 seconds ahead of Team Meerendal pair.

Alice called the day's racing as a highlight of her career. "It was incredible, going full gas downhill and catching Esther and Jennie in the final 2km. It's one of the best days of my career on the bike."

Ahead of the final two stages, Team Spur holds second on GC. Stage 4 today is a long one, riders will cover 85km with 2800m of climbing as they make their way from Leukerbad to Zermatt.

Photo Credit: Swiss Epic Media

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