It may be unfair to characterise two such talented riders as dark horses for the Swiss Epic title. Their cross-country pedigree suggests they will be fast, but their infrequent stage racing experience leaves question marks as to just how high up the overall general classification Mārtiņš Blūms and Sebastian Fini could finish.
Based on raw talent alone there is no arguing that the CST Post.NL Bafang pair of Mārtiņš Blūms and Sebastian Fini are among the riders to watch in the 2020 Swiss Epic. Their cross-country skills and explosive power will serve them well on the trails of Graubünden, but how will they compare over five challenging days against some of the best mountain bikers in the world? Only time will tell. Though they are feeling bullish about their chances.
“For the Swiss Epic I expect to be in the fight for the top five overall and for podium spots on individual stages” Blūms predicted. “That would represent a great achievement; because the Swiss Epic is a great race and the 2020 field is very strong, too. It provides us with a good chance to compete against the very best riders. After the Covid-19 disruptions and cancellation of races, our schedule for the rest of the year does not include enough race days. Our attitude is thus to take every opportunity we can to race.”
“My motivation to race is very high, and after two XCO races since the restart, I believe I’m ready to line-up at the start of this great race” the Latvian added. “I did a lot of training during the Covid-19 time, so I can say that I’m well prepared for the Swiss Epic.”
His partner, Fini, is equally keen to get going in Graubünden. “Mārtiņš [Blūms] and I have never raced the Swiss Epic before, but are expecting a hard and fun race in the Alps” the Danish cross-country champion explained. “I believe we can be in the fight for a top spot in the overall, but stage victories would be good too. It’s important for us to work well together and have a good race, as our primary goal. I also believe that the Swiss Epic can make us even stronger for the XCO season, which now begins in September.”
Hailing from Latvia and Denmark respectively Fini and Blūms will need to adapt quickly to the high mountains of Graubünden. The highest points in either country, at 311.5 and 170.89 metres above sea level, mean that neither are naturally adapted to the thin air of the alpine passes. During the 2020 Swiss Epic, the route never dips below 750 metres above sea level, with much of the race taking place at nearer 1 500 metres; therefore, to achieve a stellar result, the CST Post.NL Bafang pair will have to race outside of their comfort zones.
One of Blūms’ two races thus far have been at altitude, however. He secured a very credible fourth place, in the Proffix Swiss Bike Cup race in Leukerbad. While Fini makes his season debut, in a Czech cross-country race in the ski resort of Zadov. They appear to be doing all they can to ensure they are ready for the challenges of the Swiss Epic. To see how they perform visit our website from the 18th to the 22nd of August.