A good weekend for Specialized at the MTB World Cup Round 4
Last weekend saw the fourth round of the UCI MTB Cross-Country World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. For a few days, the venue was overrun with riders and fans who enjoyed the spectacle of MTB racing in some of the best scenery Europe has to offer. The weather lulled everyone into a false sense of security with warm sunshine during practise runs, only to drench the course overnight, turning it from dusty and dry, to slippery just in time for the racing proper. All in all, it was a good weekend for the Specialized Factory Racing XC team, who were running the brand new S-Works Epic FSR for the first time.
The all-new Epic has been updated not in just one area, but in many, adopting the philosophy that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. The refreshed design moves with the times, optimised for the technical singletrack and rock gardens that now characterise cross-country trails. The new frame is Rider-First Engineered™ with a modern XC geometry, up to 525g lighter than its predecessor, and it features a new Brain 2.0 rear shock and suspension platform. The shock sits closer to the rear axle and has a new layout and oil flow path for more consistent control and responsiveness. The geometry is such that handling is more responsive than ever, thanks to longer reach, slacker head tube, and custom fork offset. The result is a faster and more confident all-round performance package.
In the sloppy conditions of the relentless XC course in Lenzerheide, the S-Works Epic FSR certainly seemed to do the trick for our athletes. Though many riders found they had to dismount in some sections and struggled to maintain flow, the racing was outstanding. The conditions were far from ideal, but it was great to see Jaroslav Kulhavy and Kate Courtney thriving in their respective events.
Kulhavy came from behind to infiltrate the leading group on the final lap even as it splintered. World champion, Nino Schurter, was the last man in front of him, but Kulhavy was running out of laps in which to catch his rival, despite the impressive pace he was setting. In the end, Kulhavy came in just three seconds after Schurter, sealing second place. On the U23 women’s race, the battle was fierce in the early laps, but Specialized athlete, Kate Courtney, rode off the front on lap three and stayed away to take the win unchallenged.
The next MTB World Cup event takes place on the weekend of the 5-6th August in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. This year’s racing marks the 25th time that the World Cup has been held at the iconic location which is considered a mecca for MTB enthusiasts thanks to its sprawling network of trails. It is sure to provide some sensational racing and we’re looking forward to seeing the all-new Epic in action again.
pic: michal cerveny photography
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