Perskindol Swiss Epic
Catharine Pendrel and Haley Smith in the leaders jerseys at Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018. Photo: Nick Muzik

Team Canada is on the move in Switzerland. Haley Smith and Catharine Pendrel, who teamed up for the Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018, have moved into the lead at the five day mountain bike stage race.

Perskindol Swiss Epic
Smith and Pendrel celebrate winning stage two of the Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018. Photo by Marius Maasewerd.

Following an impressive performance at 2018 world championships in Lenzerheide – Smith finished a career best 6th and Pendrel 14th after a returning  from a mid-season injury – the two Canadians are racing together at Perskindol Swiss Epic. Far from a casual post-worlds cruise, the stages average over 60km and  between 2,000m and 2,800m of elevation gain each day.

Perskindol Swiss Epic
Kathrin Stirnemann led after day one, but now sit second in the general classification. Photo: Nick Muzik

Pendrel and Smith won Stage Two, traversing from Bettmeralp, through Grächen to Zermatt to take the overall race lead from the Thömus / RN Racing team. The Canadian duo defended their lead on Stage 3, but only after fighting back from a flat tire early in the day.

Team Canada now holds an 11 minute advantage over Kathrin Stirnemann and Alessandra Keller (Thömus / RN Racing), with Ghost Factory Racing’s team of Barbara Benko and Anne Terpstra in third after three days of racing.

Perskindol Swiss Epic
Two leading Swiss teams cross a lengthy bridge on Stage 1 of the Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018. Photo: Marius Maasewerd.

Scott-SRAM’s team of Matthias Stirnemann and Andri Frischknecht leads the men’s GC after three days of racing. The two are being chased by a second pair of Swiss riders: Hansueli Stauffer and Konney Looser of BiXS Pro Team.

Swiss Epic 2018
Team USA chases the two Swiss duo’s during Stage 1. Photo: Marius Maasewerd.

It was the third placed Team USA of Christopher Blevins and Keegan Swenson that rode away with the stage victory on the third day of racing. The American’s cut into the Swiss team’s lead, but are still 21 minutes back on the GC standings.

Canada’s Andrew L’Esperance and Sean Fincham (Forward Racing-Norco) currently sit seventh in the GC after three stages. The Forward Racing-Norco team had been racing with the lead group during the Stage 2, before a flat tire left the pair chasing the lead group.

L’Esperance and Fincham aren’t the only Canadian men in the event. Sarto’s team of David Grenier and Sidney Boisvert currently sit 31st overall.

Swiss Epic 2018
The Perskindol Swiss Epic is certainly scenic, but riders have to work for the views. Stages range from 1,800m of elevation gain to 2,850m. Photo: Nick Muzik.

Watch highlights from Day 2 racing at the Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018. Keep an eye out for Forward Racing-Norco’s Andrew L’Esperance and Sean Fincham, and of course Pendrel and Smith.

Day 1 Highlights – Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018

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