Skip Navigation

Battle Royal Earmarked for the Prologue

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Greg Beadle

ABSA Cape Epic

The Absa Cape Epic Men’s category is gearing up for a veritable clash of the titans as world champions, national champions and Olympic medalists prepare to go head-to-head on Table Mountain this Sunday.

This year’s Absa Cape Epic has one of the most competitive men’s fields ever assembled with a host of world-class mountain bikers all hoping to give the overall podium a proper crack. Reigning champions, Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann of Scott-Sram, will be well aware of the impending teams looking to usurp their dominance at the top of the food chain. A brief analysis of Nino’s performance at the Epic World Cup last Saturday suggests his recent training regime has been tailored more around endurance than intensity – validating Scott-Sram’s intentions at defending the crown. The Swiss superstar was in high spirits ahead of his title defense and expressed his relief that last week’s Epic World Cup winner, Sam Gaze, isn’t racing the Absa Cape Epic this year.

“The Epic World Cup was an awesome event and the racing against Sam (Gaze) was a great battle. I’m glad he’s not racing the Absa Cape Epic on Sunday,” laughed Schurter. He went on to pertinently point out his intentions and ambitions for the race: “We (Scott-Sram) have prepared for every stage this year and we showed last year we can do it. I’m looking forward to every stage and Matthias and I have a good team spirit.”

Canyon Topeak’s Alban Lakata has raced the Absa Cape Epic eight times and while the overall victory has always eluded him, he feels this year might very well be the one. “I think I’ve prepared well but this year I’ve done some things a little differently than the past. I think we can get to the top step of the podium. We’re in top shape,” said Lakata. As a genuine marathon racer and reigning XCM World Champion Lakata is well versed in the type of racing and conditions teams will confront over the next eight days – particularly the first four back-to-back 100+km stages. He finished up with a bold warning statement for his rivals: “The marathon racers are going to show the cross-country riders how to race the Absa Cape Epic.”

Amid the heated banter however, team BULLS appear to be flying under the radar. Five-time Men’s category champion, Karl Platt, is feeling positive ahead of the Untamed African MTB race following a few months of uncertainty caused by a broken hip he sustained during training in November last year. Having turned 40-years-old yesterday the affable German joked that maybe he and Urs Huber should race in the Dimension Data Masters category come Sunday. On a serious note he assured his rivals that he’s back to his best and ready to give 2018 a serious go.

“I had great time at home with my family and have fully recovered,” said Platt. “I started training in January and feel I’m in a good way – I had a good Cape Town Cycle Tour and put in some efforts to test the legs. I’m ready.” The BULLS have entered three teams proving the team’s long-term outlook on developing the next wave of stars. “We have a young team here (BULLS 3) and they need to learn a lot from these big races. This year we have another role for our second team (BULLS 2) and Simon Stiebjahn and Tim Boehme can go free and do whatever they want.”

The Absa African Men’s special jersey – a race within the race – will once again add another dynamic to men’s field with several teams vying for the win. While PYGA Euro Steel’s Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes have bigger fish to fry this year – namely the overall podium, their support team of Phillimon Sebona and Julian Jessop will have a genuine shot at securing red. “It was a great experience racing with Julian at Tankwa Trek and the team has invested a lot in us and we feel we can compete at this level,” said Sebona. “The Absa African special jersey gives us a big opportunity which is what we’ve been targeting. It will help us improve our skills and we can go for it.” Sebona and Jessop’s biggest threats – besides their senior teammates – will come from NAD MTB’s Nico Bell and Matt Beers and the Silverback-Volvo partnership of Jaco Pelser and Shaun-Nick Bester.

Who’s going to wear the yellow jersey on Stage 1 in Robertson on Monday 19 March? Well, it’s too tight to call at this point. The Prologue course certainly favours the cross-country specialists such as Cannondale Factory Racing, Investec Songo Specialized and Scott-Sram but the BULLS duo of Platt and Huber as well as the PYGA Euro Steel combination of Buys and Beukes may very well pose an outside threat come Sunday, not to mention Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek who are racing with only one goal in mind – winning. One thing is for sure: this is going to be one of the closely fought Prologues in recent history. 

More About This Event

Kulhavy, Grotts Cruise to Overall Victory

Kulhavy, Grotts Cruise to Overall Victory
With 69km and 2000m of vertical gain standing between riders and a finisher’s medal at Val de Vie Estate, this year’s Grand Read More


Courtney Helps Langvad to Four in a Row

Courtney Helps Langvad to Four in a Row
Much has been made of the Kulhavy Express hauling the Investec Songo Specialized men to victory at the Absa Cape Epic, but their Read More


Illnesses Forces Podium Change in Women’s Race

Illnesses Forces Podium Change in Women’s Race
Illness and injury has been a constant spectre hanging over the women’s race at the Absa Cape Epic, and on Saturday it once again Read More


Songo in League of Their Own

Songo in League of Their Own
The trails in and around Wellington on Stage 6 would offer a superb mix of singletrack but with 2000m of vertical ascent spread over 76km Read More


Investec Songo Specialized Teams Tighten Their Grip on Stage 5

Investec Songo Specialized Teams Tighten Their Grip on Stage 5
Yellow and Orange are increasingly beginning to look like gold as the men’s and women’s leader jersey wearers consolidated Read More


Birthday Win for Langvad and Courtney

Birthday Win for Langvad and Courtney
There was cause for double celebrations for Investec Songo Specialized as they put themselves in an almost invincible position on Read More


Geismayr, Rohrbach Victorious on Queen Stage

Geismayr, Rohrbach Victorious on Queen Stage
Despite winning the Queen Stage on Thursday 21 March, Centurion Vaude’s Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach still find themselves in Read More


Canyon Topeak Stamp Their Authority on Stage 3

Canyon Topeak Stamp Their Authority on Stage 3
A breakaway at the start of Stage 3 turned the Men’s category and general classification on its head as the race moved to Read More


Songo Keep Their Perfect Record Intact

Songo Keep Their Perfect Record Intact
The Investec Songo Specialized team kept their unbeaten record intact in the Women’s category by claiming win number four on the Read More


More Drama, Same Result For Cannondale

More Drama, Same Result For Cannondale
The battle between the marathon racers and cross-country specialists continued into Stage 2, on a tougher course with more climbing and Read More


Third Win Consolidates Langvad’s, Courtney’s Lead

Third Win Consolidates Langvad’s, Courtney’s Lead
Once again Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney stamped their authority on the Women’s category of the Absa Cape Epic when they collected Read More


Cross-Country Riders Take Revenge

Cross-Country Riders Take Revenge
Sunday’s Prologue marked a well-earned victory for Centurion Vaude and the marathon contingent but the cross-country specialists had Read More


Composure Wins the Day for Langvad/Courtney

Composure Wins the Day for Langvad/Courtney
Multiple World Champion Annika Langvad and her young American partner Kate Courtney overcame a puncture to surge to a second successive Read More


Marathon Racers Steal the Show

Marathon Racers Steal the Show
You can’t win the Absa Cape Epic on the Prologue but you can prove a point – and that’s exactly what the Centurion Vaude Read More


Langvad and Courtney Dominate Women’s Category

Langvad and Courtney Dominate Women’s Category
Three-time winner Annika Langvad and her novice partner Kate Courtney combined perfectly to win the Prologue of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic at Read More


A Look At The 2018 Prologue Venue, Table Mountain National Park

A Look At The 2018 Prologue Venue, Table Mountain National Park
Table Mountain National Park is proud to host the Prologue of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. When the 20km time trial takes place on Sunday 18 Read More


Women’s Race Wide Open With Untested Combinations

Women’s Race Wide Open With Untested Combinations
After a year’s break three-time Absa Cape Epic Women’s category champion Annika Langvad is back having “built up the Read More


Top Step Beckons For Team Centurion Vaude

Top Step Beckons For Team Centurion Vaude
In one breath, Nicola Rohrback will tell you that there is no secret to winning the Absa Cape Epic. In the next, the Swiss will smile and Read More


The Boys in Baggies Want Yellow

The Boys in Baggies Want Yellow
Cannondale Factory Racing’s baggy-wearing duo of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini might be one of the most entertaining teams at Read More


Kate Courtney and Annika Langvad Team Up as Investec-Songo-Specialized 2

Kate Courtney and Annika Langvad Team Up as ...
Choosing the Absa Cape Epic as your first-ever stage race and partnering with a modern legend is not a decision most would take. But Read More


It’s Full Speed Ahead for Investec-Songo-Specialized

It’s Full Speed Ahead for Investec-Songo-Specialized
When the powerful diesel engine that drives the Jaroslav Kulhavy Express leaves the station, you had better be ready or you will be left Read More


Team BULLS Ready to Rock and Roll

Team BULLS Ready to Rock and Roll
Karl Platt may have broken his hip just a few months ago but he’s back to his best and is feeling confident ahead of this Read More


Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath Team up for the 2018 Absa Cape Epic

Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath Team up for the 2018 Absa Cape Epic
Top South African mountain biker Candice Lill finished her first Absa Cape Epic in 2017 “hungry for more”.   Lill used Read More


Spitz And De Groot Hungry For The Win

Spitz And De Groot Hungry For The Win
One of the enduring images of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic, was Sabine Spitz crossing the line with a stick and tape holding her broken Read More


Lakata Back for 9th Time In Search Of The Elusive Win

Lakata Back for 9th Time In Search Of The Elusive Win
Hope springs eternal for Alban Lakata as he heads into his ninth Absa Cape Epic, desperately seeking the win that has proved elusive for Read More


Absa Cape Epic Launches New Route to Showcase The Wonders of the Cape

Absa Cape Epic Launches New Route to Showcase The Wonders of the Cape
From the majestic slopes of Table Mountain to the magnificence of the Grand Finale at Val de Vie Estate with a manic time trial in between Read More


Add an Adventure Racing related link

Now Reporting On

Facebook

like us on facebook

Yellow Brick Tracking