2024 Venue Focus: Crans-Montana, Valais, Switzerland


2024 Venue Focus: Crans-Montana, Valais, Switzerland

4 months ago

Crans-Montana, and the Valais region, are well known and beloved to the snow sports fraternity, and in the warmer months, a superb mountain bike racing venue. The destination is truly a four-season resort with hiking, mountain biking, shopping, culture and gastronomy which entertain visitors all year-round. The busy town of Crans-Montana offers stunning views of the Swiss alps no matter which way you turn and, in 2024, will represent the third brand-new venue of the year on the calendar. 

Here’s everything that you need to know: 

Where is it? 

Crans-Montana, Valais, as the name would suggest is within the Valais canton of Switzerland in the southwest of the country. Switzerland is a famously beautiful country, but this is one of its most staggeringly scenic corners. Every vista seems somehow painted on or that it may have been borrowed from The Big Book of Beautiful Swiss Backdrops.  

As mentioned, it is just as famous for its summer as it is its winter sports. With a packed event schedule all year round, it hosts the Alpine Ski World Cup between November and February. In September, the European Tour’s Omega European Masters golf tournament, plus both the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de Romandie are regular visitors whilst it also hosted a Tour de France stage finish back in 1984.  

In 2025, Crans-Montana will also host the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships as well as the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship in 2027.  

Has there been racing here before? 

In addition to Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie, and Tour de France, in 2023 Crans-Montana also hosted a stage of the Giro D'Italia and the Cross-country Olympic and Cross-country Short Track Swiss Championships.  

Crans-Montana became the UCI Enduro World Cup’s Swiss round back in 2021 and quickly became a rider favourite. The international racing scene was still emerging from the grips of the global pandemic and the stages of the debut venue were a welcome jolt of adrenaline to the system.  

This is the first time we will see Endurance athletes taking to the same landscape and when you consider that Cross-country racing is so popular in Switzerland it becomes an even more tantalising proposition.  

What’s the course like? 

That remains to be seen! The Enduro stages surrounding the town of Crans-Montana were beautifully crafted by talented trail builders who clearly knew not only how to sculpt trails but how to build racetracks, so expectations are high.  

Back in 2021, the theme was wide open, high speed, high alpine bike park tops depositing riders into ultra steep, tight and technical, natural sections lower down. All skillsets were tested, and they proved to be great levellers. It’ll be interesting to see if the Cross-country tracks can pull off the same trick.  

What else can we expect? 

Switzerland has two of the biggest names in Cross-country racing of all time. Ten time Olympic World Champion Nino Schurter ( Scott-Sram MTB Racing Team) and the reigning Olympic champion and Crans-Montana ambassador, Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) have both elevated not only the domestic but international profile of the sport exponentially.  

The result will be a huge and massively partisan Swiss crowd. And that’s all before you consider all their many other home favourites. It promises to be a lairy one.  

Who are the favourites? 

Neff and Schurter will gain untold additional horsepower solely based on the volume levels alone. Aside from them expect Alessandra Keller (Thömus Maxon Swiss Mountain Bike Racing Team) to receive substantial backing. Keller won both Cross-country Olympic and Short Track overall titles in 2022 and just so happens to be piloting a Swiss-made bike for an all-Swiss team.  

Mathias Flückiger (Thömus Maxon Swiss Mountain Bike Racing Team) had a redemptive 2023 season wherein he took victory against the backdrop of some of the toughest conditions of the year in Pal Arinsal Andorra and pushed Nino Schurter right to the final round of the season in the Cross-country Olympic overall standings. A Swiss-on-Swiss showdown, in Switzerland? Yes please. 

Crans-Montana, Valais will roar into life on the 21 – 23 June, you can find out more here. 

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