On 26 May, we asked Swiss mountainbike legend Christoph Sauser for advice on a winning bike setup for the Raid Evolénard and the European Championships. Here is his advice!
Hardtail or full suspension
For a race like the Raid Evolénard with so much climbing (3900hm for 76km for the elite men), a hardtail is definitely the go-to option. The race track has many long climbs on gravel roads and steep, technical descends, which makes saving weight on the bike very important to be competitive. Of course, this is advice for the racers who go for winning! If you are riding to enjoy the fun descents or don’t want your body to be destroyed after the race, bring your full-suspension bike!
To drop or not to drop?
In the XCO WC races earlier in May, we’ve seen the introduction of dropper posts on almost all bikes to facilitate technical downhills. Even technically very skilled riders like Nino Schurter now have a dropper on their bike. It is definitely a welcome feature for your bike during the Raid Evolénard, although not all riders will have one as the 200-300 g additional weight can make the difference at the highest level.
Tyre choice and pressure
Tyre choice is something riders will choose during the race weekend in function of the trail conditions and the weather! In general, there is a move towards somewhat wider tyres in the MTB scene: 2.3” or 2.4” widths are no exception! In the Raid Evolénard, you can be sure that even on a sunny day, some of the mountain trails will be wet, so enough thread on the bike is important. A setup with a more knobby tire in the front and a tire with better rolling resistance at the back can be a good option, but all is to reviewed during race weekend. Important as well to check out the tyre pressure on the race course: how low can you go without risking a pinch flat!?
Don’t forget… clothing!
One aspect that we cannot overlook is clothing choice! Make sure you look at the weather forecast to make sure you dress properly for the race! The conditions in Evolène at 1300hm can be very different than those at Béplan at 2500hm so make sure you don’t lose the race with hypothermia!
For more details, watch the conversation live here.