Schurter and Langvad Guide Their Newbies Home
Former winners Nino Schurter and Annika Langvad on Sunday completed their objectives of guiding two Absa Cape Epic newbies to victories in the gruelling eight-day race around the Western Cape.
Multiple World Champion Schurter and his Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing partner, European Champion Lars Forster, wrapped up a tense week of racing in which they had to fight back from a day of mechanical dramas to beat Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) by seven-and-a-half minutes overall.
In the women's race, Langvad shepherded World Road Champion Anna van der Breggen to seven stage victories, including the win on Sunday's Grand Finale from Stellenbosch University to Val de Vie Estate. Overall the Investec-songo-Specialized pair ended up a massive 30 minutes ahead of South African Candice Lill and her German partner Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) with Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) third, another 30 minutes further behind.
The top three finished the Grand Finale in the same order as their GC standings.
In the final stage for the Men's category, South Africans Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) were inched out of their second stage win when, according to a photo finish, Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez beat Buys across the line. The Grand Finale stage win provided some late consolation for Gutierrez and his KROSS-SPUR partner Ondřej Cink after a disappointing event in which mechanicals robbed them of any chance of a high finish.
The move by Buys and Beukes to go for the stage win meant they were the first team across the line in the Absa African Men's Jersey competition, but they were never in contention for the overall title after a consistent eight days from Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (SpecializedFoundationNAD). Hatherly and Beers ended fifth overall after crossing the line sixth on Sunday. Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens (Imbuko Giant) ended second overall in the competition for the Red Jersey, just under 40 minutes back.
In the race for the Absa African Women's Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk were comfortable winners after claiming sixth position overall.
In the Dimension Data Masters category, Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) wrapped up the victory with their sixth stage win and an impressive 26th position overall. Ondrej Fojtik and José Silva (Mitas Head New Race) were second, over 70 minutes behind.
Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) completed their clean-sweep in the Grand Masters category and the eight stage wins meant they beat Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) by one hour 40 minutes.
The MMR Mixed team of former Road World Champion Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza won the Grand Finale stage in the Virgin Active Mixed category. However, after a dominant performance throughout the week, the Cape Town-based German husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) were category winners by 36 minutes. Miller Paneling's David Miller and Shayna Powless were third, another 30 minutes further behind.
The Exxaro Jersey race saw the lead change hands numerous times throughout the week, but finally Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) took control over the final few days and their stage win on Sunday confirmed a 40-minute win over Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree), with Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/RMB 1) third.
Early Bird Entries for the 2020 Absa Cape Epic will open at 15:00 South African time (GMT +2), Monday 25 March on www.cape-epic.com.
1. KROSS-SPUR 14-1 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 14-2 Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 02:53.07,3
2. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 02:53.07,4 +0,1
3. CST Sandd 19-1 Sebastian Fini (Denmark) 19-2 Martins Blums (Latvia) 02:54.02,2 +54,9
1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 26:09.45,5
2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 26:17.22,4 +7.36,9
3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 26:26.22,8 +16.37,3
1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 03:33.46,1
2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 03:34.03,5 +17,4
3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 03:40.18,4 +6.32,3
1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 31:26.41,4
2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 31:57.04,1 +30.22,7
3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 32:35.09,3 +1:08.27,9
Dimension Data Masters category
1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 03:10.19,3
2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 03:18.23,7 +8.04,4
3. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 03:21.16,5 +10.57,2
1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 29:03.43,4
2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 30:18.17,1 +1:14.33,7
3. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 30:21.28,9 +1:17.45,5
Grand Masters category
1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 03:18.30,3
2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 03:28.03,0 +9.32,7
3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 03:31.56,2 +13.25,9
1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 29:58.15,1
2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 31:38.58,8 +1:40.43,7
3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 32:30.44,4 +2:32.29,3
Virgin Active Mixed category
1. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 03:36.16,8
2. Nardinature 293-1 Florence Darbellay (Switzerland) 293-2 Eric Morard (Switzerland) 03:39.21,2 +3.04,4
3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 03:41.09,5 +4.52,7
1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 32:40.15,0
2. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 33:17.01,3 +36.46,3
3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 33:44.31,7 +1:04.16,7
Absa African Men's Jersey
1. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 02:53.07,4
2. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 02:56.43,6 +3.36,2
3. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 02:57.55,2 +4.47,8
1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 26:47.12,0
2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 27:22.23,3 +35.11,3
3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 27:36.11,0 +48.59,0
Absa African Women's Jersey
1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 03:59.35,2
2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 04:26.26,6 +26.51,4
3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 05:12.39,6 +1:13.04,4
1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 35:01.38,4
2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 40:17.55,5 +5:16.17,1
3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 45:16.30,5 +10:14.52,1
1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 03:36.17,3
2. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 03:37.39,7 +1.22,4
3. Exxaro/RMB 1 88-1 Kagiso Tlou (South Africa) 88-2 Patrick Rengane (South Africa) 03:38.03,2 +1.45,9
1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 32:53.08,2
2. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 33:32.19,1 +39.10,9
3. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 34:05.00,0 +1:11.51,8
2020 Absa Cape Epic set for 15-22 March
The Western Cape will become the focus of the cycling world again in March 2020, when the 17th edition of the Absa Cape Epic will attract the biggest names in mountain biking to South Africa to tackle the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race.
"The third week of March is perfect for both our organisational teams and our riders, with slightly cooler temperatures as the Western Cape heads into Autumn, helping keep the Epic on everyone's must-do list." said Sarah Harrop, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Absa Cape Epic. "It is also event month, with the Cape Town Cycle Tour the week before – the biggest timed bike race in the world - and IRONMAN South Africa and the Two Oceans Marathon both held in the weeks after the Absa Cape Epic."
Limited Early Bird entries for next year's Absa Cape Epic will be available on Monday, one day after the race at 15:00 GMT+2 (25 March 2019). There are 100 entries up for grabs and only those with the quickest reactions will be able to secure their spot on the start line at the Prologue in 2020; historically, they sell out in seconds.
Those who miss out on the Early Bird process can enter the using the Lottery Application system - which opens as soon as the Early Bird entries sell out - ride for charity or even reserve a spot by participating in the Epic Series qualifier events: the Swiss Epic, The Pioneer in New Zealand or Australia's Reef to Reef.
The route is ever changing – leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers the world over through roughly 700 kilometres of untamed, unspoilt scenery and 15 000m of vertical ascent around the Western Cape, South Africa. The 2020 route will be announced in September 2019.
The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike race in the world and the only eight-day mountain bike stage race classed as hors catégorie by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). This official UCI status makes it a highlight on the professional racer's calendar. The Absa Cape Epic also attracts aspiring amateur riders wanting to test themselves against the best. It is a full-service race, meaning everything is taken care of from the start – all riders need to think about is riding.
If the 2020 Absa Cape Epic is on your to-do list, make sure your browser is tuned in to www.cape-epic.com at 15:00 GMT+2 tomorrow.
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