Team Spur’s Ariane Lüthi and Alice Pirard will start Tuesday’s Stage 1 of the Perskindol Swiss Epic in the leaders jerseys after winning the Prologue on Monday, 11 September in style. According to Lüthi, the pair rode within themselves over the 18km route yet finished with a 1 minute 54 second gap over their closest challengers, the Team Meerendal CBC outfit of Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag.
“We’re incredibly stoked to take the stage win,” said Ariane. “Especially since Alice arrived only at 2am the previous morning from Belgium, where she had won Belgian Marathon Champs – which was a really tough race as well.”
“We thought there was a chance of riding in snow, but the weather turned out to be perfect,” Ariane said of the day, explaining how the stage started at 2100m above sea level and went straight into a climb with another 300m of vertical gain. “After that there was a really nice technical downhill and I think that is where we made the difference on the other teams,” she commented.
Team Spur were the second last women’s team to start, two minutes behind Team Scott R’adys (Cornelia Hug and Florence Darbellay) and two minutes ahead of Meerendal CBC. “We caught Cornelia and Florence in the downhill, so we knew we had closed the gap to them, we couldn’t see Esther and Jennie, only way down on some of the climbs, but Alice set a really nice pace and we rode safe – without taking any unnecessary risks – and the bikes were running perfectly,” she said.
“At the finish we were just waiting to see that we had enough of a gap and surprisingly we took quite a lot of time out of them – almost two minutes on this short stage is a good gap and I’m really happy about that.”
“We’re looking forward to a great week – it’s such an awesome race with beautiful trails,” Ariane concluded.
Today’s Perskindol Swiss Epic Queen Stage takes them from Grächen to Leukerbad, over 92km with 3000m of vertical gain.