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 Langvad’s birthday.
Annika Langvad celebrated her birthday by winning a “brutal” Stage 4 of the Absa Cape Epic with her American partner Kate Courtney on Thursday and extended their lead in the Women’s category to an almost unassailable 32 minutes.
The birthday presents started rolling in for Langvad even before the start as their nearest rivals, Ariane Lüthi and Githa Michiels (Team Spur), were forced to withdraw with the tough Michiels picking up a fever overnight and being advised not to start by the race medical staff.
And then out on the course the Investec Songo Specialized pair broke away early on the 113km stage from Worcester to Wellington as their rivals let them ride off the front. By the time they reached the finish Langvad and Courtney could celebrate a win of over eight minutes over Mariske Strauss and Annie Last (Silverback-KMC), with Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health) just more than a minute further back.
It is hard to see Langvad and Courtney not being crowned the 2018 champions when the race finishes at Val de Vie Estate on Sunday, but the leaders refuse to concede that their victory is finalised.
“Day by day it looks better and better, but we are not going to jinx anything because we know that even a tiny little issue can cause a lot of problems,” said Langvad after crossing the line.
“It was a really tough birthday present to myself. That was the hardest day out there so far this year. It was brutal – super brutal. There was so much single track, so much concentration, so much power and so much on-the-gas all the way through.
“It did not feel like we were dominating out there.
“Mariske and Annie put the hammer down big time over the first half of the stage. I was sure that we were not going to make it but after the hotspot sprint they sat up and we just slowly pulled away.
“On a long climb we opened up a gap and all of a sudden we saw they had fallen behind. We went really hard out there and when we got a time split of 11 minutes we were surprised.”
Courtney agreed that it was a tough way for Langvad to celebrate her birthday.
“That was a tough present to give … it was a really hard day for us, and it was very tough for me. Some of my weaknesses are flats and sand and there was a lot of that today.
“We heard about Githa at the start and obviously that is such a bummer. You never want to see your competition taken out by something so horrible and so unfair. But we wish her a quick recovery.”
The real battle in the Women’s category is now to decide the positions of the bottom steps of the podium with Strauss and Last holding a nine minute advantage over De Groot and Spitz after the Silverback-KMC pair added a minute in the closing kilometres of the stage.
Friday sees the competitors ride the second time-trial of this year’s Absa Cape Epic and the 39km race against the clock. The lumpy profile of Friday’s route is an indication that big chunks of time can be won and lost if somebody is struggling.
“Tomorrow is going to be hard,” said Strauss after the finish. “But at least we can do our own thing and don’t have to worry about people around us. Like we saw last year, and this morning with Githa, anything can happen so you have to keep chiselling away at the big block and see what happens.
More About ABSA Cape Epic
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
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
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
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