ALPINE E-BIKE BLISS AT THE FLACHAU E-BIKE FESTIVAL
E-bike fans flocked to the Flachau E-Bike Festival for alpine e-biking – memorable trails, perfect weather and a fantastic Austrian hospitality.
The 2022 E-Bike World Tour kicked off in fine style with the Flachau E-Bike Festival drawing almost 700 e-bike enthusiasts from around Europe to the Austrian Alps for a weekend of e-biking bliss. The weather could not have been better for riding – balmy temperatures and long summer evenings confirmed Flachau’s growing reputation as the premier e-biking destination in the Austrian Alps. This inaugural edition of the Flachau E-Bike Festival was the first stop on the 2022 E-Bike World Tour, with the diverse festival programme catering to e-bike enthusiasts of every description: from e-bike tests and Gourmet Tours to adventure trails and races for riders of all fitness and skill levels.
The world’s best e-bike technology and athletes were on show throughout the weekend – both at the ever-popular e-bike testing expo, and during the UCI-accredited E-Tour of Salzburgerland stage race. Fans were privileged to see the rainbow jerseys of the reigning UCI eMTB world champions Jérôme Gilloux (FRA) and Nicole Göldi (SUI) in action at the E-Tour of Salzburgerland, especially during the thrilling night race that looped through Flachau village itself.
With multiple timed and liaison stages, and a neutral tech zone for running repairs and battery swaps, the E-Tour of Salzburgerland challenged pros and seasoned amateurs alike with its high alpine traverses, lush forest paths as well as plenty of technical uphill singletrack and high-speed descents. Back at the festival village, much of the e-bike technology that the pros were riding was available for testing at the try-before-you-buy expo.
Leading industry brands like Haibike, Ghost, Lapierre, Commencal, KTM and Trek had 300 e-mtb, e-road and e-gravel models available for testing on a variety of different loops – ideal for testing the same bike across different terrain or different bikes on the same loop, depending on your specific needs and criteria. For those with a taste for adventure, the Discovery Trails took riders on dirt tracks up through the forests and meadows to secluded mountain restaurants and panoramic outlooks. The Discovery Trail Black route, ridden with an experienced guide, was another popular option, with its technical riding and singletrack leading to remote waterfalls and beautiful views.
Always a fan favourite, the Gourmet Tours offered a curated ride-and-dine experience: a selection of picturesque, undulating routes stopping off at the best local eateries where regional specialities such as buchtel and honey schnapps, or pulled pork in pita bread dressed with red cabbage sauerkraut, could be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. The final race of the weekend, the Bosch eMTB Challenge, pitted intermediate and advanced riders against the clock on an entertaining course which tested bike handling, navigation and battery management techniques.
With two days of racing already in the legs, a handful of riders from the E-Tour of Salzburgerland, including hometown hero Benjamin Pichler, turned up on the start line of the Bosch eMTB Challenge. In the men’s race, Portugal’s Tiago Ladeira ultimately lead home countryman Emanuel Pombo and France’s Kenny Muller. In the women’s section, Laura Charles (PRT) edged out Greta Weithaler (ITA) and Elke Rabeder (AUT). Some of the keenest riders at the Flachau E-Bike Festival were also the youngest. The KidsZone by Intersport, staffed by two watchful cycling coaches and stocked with plenty of bikes for the kids to pedal around a gentle circuit, proved to be an irresistible introduction to the joys of cycling for the youngest generation of festival-goers. Off the bike, and après-bike, Flachau certainly didn’t stint on the renowned Austrian hospitality. Austria’s Red Bull athlete Tom Oehler put on a spectacular trials bike show and, of course, the official Flachau E-Bike Festival party by Haibike was something to remember.
From the Austrian to the French Alps, the E-Bike World Tour now moves on to the second leg of the series – the Tignes-Val d’Isere E-Bike Festival (29–31 July) and the eagerly awaited two-day E-Tour de Haute Tarentaise for pros and committed amateur riders.
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