Stage 2 at the 2017 Perskindol Swiss Epic was a close battle at the front of the Elite Women’s field. On the thrilling technical descents between the lung-busting Alpine climbs, Team Spur’s Ariane Lüthi and Alice Pirard put pressure on the leaders, Team Meerendal/CBC’s Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag, throughout the 70km stage.
“We started well and soon caught Esther and Jennie on the first downhill of the day. The narrow trails prevented us from overtaking and forced us to ride on their wheels for a bit” explains Ariane. “Soon after passing them, Alice unfortunately had a little crash and the game of trying to catch Esther and Jennie began again.” she says
They got back up and running and were able to chase down and overtake Süss and Stenerhag before Alice suffered a mechanical. “Alice’s chain hopped between the spokes and the cassette, so we had to take the wheel out before we could get rolling again,” says Ariane.
Off the back of the following climb and descent, the Team Spur pair managed to reel in Team Meeredal/CBC once again. “We were able to slipstream them on the flatter sections towards the final climb of the day.” explains Ariane. This would be the last time the two teams would ride together on the day with the stretch to the finish line in Leukerbad being a 10km climb.
The climbing strength of Süss and Stenerhag was shown as they pulled away, and held this gap to the line. “Unfortunately we lost a bit of time on GC again with a lot of stop and go, but thankfully there is no serious damage to bike or body.” says Airane. “We are happy that we made it to the finish without too big of a disaster.” Team Spur enters Stage 3 in 2nd place, 16 minutes adrift of Meerendal/CBC
Due to rain and snow forecast for the day, race organisers have been forced to alter today’s Stage 3. The course will be shortened to 42km with 1500m of climbing, cutting out some technical trails Ariane and Alice had hoped to exploit.