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 handlebars together.
The German star crashed hard 15km from the end of Stage 6, snapping her handlebars which resulted in a significant amount of time being used to fix her bike. It meant that any hope she and Team Ascendis Health partner Robyn de Groot had of winning the Absa Cape Epic were gone. The two eventually won four stages together, but luck deserted them.
“It does feel a little surreal to have won four stages and still finish third overall,” said De Groot. “When we were able to ride without lady luck falling out of favour with us, we made a formidable team and we really raced well together. That’s why Lange Sports have paired us up together again for 2018.”
De Groot was full of admiration for the courage shown by Sabine, the former Olympic gold medallist, in finishing the race after her second big crash of the race, the first happening during Stage 1.
“We both couldn't believe what had happened in that crash,” said De Groot. “There was no time to waste. It was amazing how we started looking at options to make the bars rideable. We knew we lost a lot of time, but giving up was not an option.”
“We lost our second place that day and the gap between us and Meerendal CBC was impossible to close. We could not dwell on what could have been. We just had bad luck and dealt best with what the race threw at us. In a way, the hardships we endured made our other stage victories that much sweeter, and also helped us realise what a great team we made. Winning the Grand Finale after the handlebar stage was a great feeling.”
While De Groot has had to take some time off to overcome an injury in the build-up to the Absa Cape Epic, she is back on track and has been training with Sabine in South Africa. “She has been paramount to helping me through this injury mentally and physically. Her preparation is going well and she has really enjoyed exploring more of South Africa on her bicycle.”
The South African Marathon Champion has enjoyed much success in Prologues at the Absa Cape Epic, having won it twice and taken a second place in her three races. “I’ve enjoyed the Prologues and really just focussed on enjoying starting a race you prepare so hard for... it always feels great to finally start. It’s a small part of the race, but, none the less, they are hard stages where we push our limits, so winning them is just as big a win as the longer more endurance based stages.
“I wouldn’t say you can jump to conclusions based on the Prologue performances. So much can happen in eight days. Last year was certainly a testament to this for us.”
De Groot does not like to over-analyse the route of the race too much. She knows the stages will be tough, the drought in the Western Cape will make the trails more challenging, and feels the time trial on Stage 5 will bring a new dynamic to those racing at the sharp end.
More About This Event
With 69km and 2000m of vertical gain standing between riders and a finisher’s medal at Val de Vie Estate, this year’s Grand
Much has been made of the Kulhavy Express hauling the Investec Songo Specialized men to victory at the Absa Cape Epic, but their
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
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
Yellow and Orange are increasingly beginning to look like gold as the men’s and women’s leader jersey wearers consolidated
There was cause for double celebrations for Investec Songo Specialized as they put themselves in an almost invincible position on
Despite winning the Queen Stage on Thursday 21 March, Centurion Vaude’s Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach still find themselves in
A breakaway at the start of Stage 3 turned the Men’s category and general classification on its head as the race moved to
The Investec Songo Specialized team kept their unbeaten record intact in the Women’s category by claiming win number four on the
The battle between the marathon racers and cross-country specialists continued into Stage 2, on a tougher course with more climbing and
Once again Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney stamped their authority on the Women’s category of the Absa Cape Epic when they collected
Sunday’s Prologue marked a well-earned victory for Centurion Vaude and the marathon contingent but the cross-country specialists had
Multiple World Champion Annika Langvad and her young American partner Kate Courtney overcame a puncture to surge to a second successive
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
Three-time winner Annika Langvad and her novice partner Kate Courtney combined perfectly to win the Prologue of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic at
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
After a year’s break three-time Absa Cape Epic Women’s category champion Annika Langvad is back having “built up the
The Absa Cape Epic Men’s category is gearing up for a veritable clash of the titans as world champions, national champions and
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
Cannondale Factory Racing’s baggy-wearing duo of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini might be one of the most entertaining teams at
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
When the powerful diesel engine that drives the Jaroslav Kulhavy Express leaves the station, you had better be ready or you will be left
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
Top South African mountain biker Candice Lill finished her first Absa Cape Epic in 2017 “hungry for more”. Lill used
Hope springs eternal for Alban Lakata as he heads into his ninth Absa Cape Epic, desperately seeking the win that has proved elusive for
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