Aug 26, 2022

José Hermida takes on the E-Tour Du Mont Blanc with old teammate Ralph Näf

There are few better ways to catch up with an old buddy than a great big riding adventure, so when Shimano offered MERIDA athlete and ambassador José Hermida the opportunity to take part in one of the toughest e-bike races in the world, he jumped at the chance – especially as he could team up with old Multivan MERIDA compatriot Ralph Näf.

Their reunion as riding buddies would come at the E-Tour De Mont Blanc, a three-day event in the Swiss Alps, taking in more than 11,600 m of descending and 190 km of big mountain riding. However, with the ‘2 Infernale’ back together, their focus wouldn’t be on pushing the ragged edge but on having a great time catching up in the stunning scenery around the race base of Verbier.

“The eTour isn’t just a competition with e-bikes, it’s an adventure, a daily gossip where you are talking with your partner and other opponents, it’s about solidarity and friendship,” said José, “e-bikes are the perfect choice as you can socialise with people with completely different fitness levels, but we all reach the top of the eTour mountains at nearly the same time…”

Set high in the Valais region of Switzerland and famous as a ski resort frequented by the rich and famous, Verbier is also home to some world-class mountain biking. It’s also famous for hiking, being very close to the route of the famous Tour De Mont Blanc long-distance trail, something the route of the E-Tour de Mon Blanc shadows.

For José, his MERIDA eONE-SIXTY would be the weapon of choice, powered by Shimano’s latest EP8 drive unit. Both man and machine would be getting quite the workout over the three-day event, with some severe technical climbs that would challenge even the power of an e-bike combined with the legs and skills of an Olympian and more downhill than most people do in months.

Jose said: “It’s a long time since Ralph and I raced together, but it was great to be back with him and spend four days having an adventure, catching up and having fun on our bikes, just like the old times!”

Despite some long days in the saddle, their trip together was a great success and not because they were hunting for podium positions like in the old days. Instead, it meant they could enjoy each other’s company while riding amazing trails, catching up to gossip, having fun and enjoying the simple pleasure of being in the mountains with a good friend.

To find out more about the e-Bike World Tour, head to their website here.

Make sure you follow José on Instagram here to keep up with his adventures.

You can find Raph Näf on Instagram here too.

To learn more about our Shimano-equipped e-MTBs, check out our full-suspension range here.