The MEDITERRANEAN EPIC is the first mountain bike stage race of 2021 in the UCI Hors Catégorie (highest UCI category), held from Thursday, 25th to Sunday, 28th of March 2021 in the picturesque Spanish region of Castellón. It has been a unique start in the history of the Mediterranean Epic.
A time trial has opened the race that this year has UCI SHC category, with the participation of the two XCM world champions and full of stars from the XCM and XCO. Stage 1 had 16 km and 550 meters of positive elevation that combined fast roads along the seashore, scary rock-gardens, flowy singletracks and a long final ascent to the antennas of Oropesa del Mar.
At the sporting level, the long list of top-level bikers made it impossible to make a forecast. Italian Fabian Rabensteiner (Trek Pirelli) set the best passing times to finish winning with an impressive 38:11 time, beating Czech Martin Stosek (Canyon Northwave) by just 6 seconds and German Sasha Weber ( Trek Vaude).
Although the differences have not been big among the first classified, it has been a way to show what riders arrive in better shape, as well as to discard some favorites from the fight for the general classification.
Among the victims of the day is the world champion, the Colombian Leonardo Páez, who, still recovering from the injuries of a fall last weekend, has not been at his usual level. Iván Díaz, 8th, was the only Spaniard in the top-10.
In the women’s category, the victory of the young Italian Chiara Teocchi was not a surprise, but it was the advantage obtained. The member of the Italian team was 30 seconds faster than the XCM World champion and defending champion, the Swiss Ramon Forchini (jB Brunex – Superior). Estonian Janika Löiv was 3rd, just 5 seconds behind Forchini. The rest of the riders have lost more than a minute and a half from Teocchi.
Stage 1 Results – Men:
1. Fabian Rabensteiner (ITA) – 38:11min
2. Martin Stosek (CZE) +00:06min
3. Sascha Weber (GER) +00:15min
4. Daniel Geismayr (AUT) +00:23min
5. Hans Becking (NED) +00:37min
1. Chiara Teocchi (ITA) – 45:54min
2. Ramona Forchini (SUI) +00:30min
3. Janika Loiv (EST) +00:36min
4. Greta Sewald (ITA) +01:43min
5. Nina Benz (GER) +01:48min