MTB

MTB – strongest field ever at the Cape Epic 2017

By Quattro Media

It’s going to be the strongest Absa Cape Epic field yet and the racing should be thrilling. That’s the word from the world’s top marathon riders as they prepare for March’s eight-day challenge. Speaking at a Cape Town press conference Wednesday several of the race favourites were looking forward to a mighty battle.

Defending champion and five-time winner Karl Platt of Team Bulls predicted that the racing would be “even more exciting than previous years”.

“We have the best marathon racers in the world coming to the race,” commented American JeremiahBishop of Topeak Ergon.

Austrian strongman Alban Lakata and his Topeak Ergon teammate Kristian Hynek of the Czech Republic will be among the favourites. Lakata pointed to several possible contenders for the title: “Jaro (Kulhavy) and Susi (Christoph Sauser) are super strong. The Bulls guys know how to win it. The Scott guys are very good at descending and Nino (Schurter) has a lot of experience.”

“But it is best to win a race against this sort of competition,” he added. 

Hynek said he was looking forward to racing in such a quality field: “I like it. Having Christoph coming back will give the race another dynamic. We’ll have to be stronger than ever before.” 

Five-time Epic winner Sauser’s return from retirement with Kulhavy (Investec Songo Specialized) of the Czech Republic has been the major talking point of the pre-Cape Epic season. The Swiss rider said he was “very happy with my comeback... I’ve been surprised how well I’ve done and I am super motivated”. 
 
Photo courtesy of Quattro Media 

An indication of the level of competition as that seven of the men’s teams will bring support or back up teams – more than ever before in the 14 years of the Absa Cape Epic. They will be on hand to assist the big guns with mechanical or other issues on the trails and sometimes to even hand over parts off their bikes. 

Sauser and Kulhavy, Platt and Urs Huber (Bulls), Lakata and Hynek, world and Olympic champion Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann (Scott-SRAM), Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco), Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann (Centurion Vaude) and Max Knox and Héctor Leonardo Páez (Kansai Plascon) will all have backup teams in the race.

Asked about the role of support teams in the Absa Cape Epic, Hynek said: “They are super important. I would say having a backup team is crucial.”

This year will also see the debut of a support team in the women’s category, where defending champion Ariane Lüthi of Switzerland and her new partner, German Adelheid Morath, (Team Spur) will bank on backup from Frenchwoman Sabrina Enaux and Belgian Alice Pirard.

Lüthi will have her work cut out making it a fourth successive win (all three previous race she won with Dane Annika Langvad). She and Morath will have to see off challenges from mountain bike legend and former Olympic gold medallist Sabine Spitz of Germany and her South African partner Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) as well as the formidable Swiss/Swedish combination of Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag (Meerendal CBC).

“The racing is going to be very competitive and I think it is going to a good category to watch,” said De Groot. Lüthi said: “We are pleased to have two very strong backup riders ... they are very, very strong riders. It’s going to be a really exciting race.”

The Absa Cape Epic takes place from March 19 to 26. It starts with a Prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate before visiting Hermanus, Greyton and Elgin on the way to the Grand Finale finish at Val de Vie Estate in Franschhoek.


*The 2017 Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race takes place from 19 to 26 March and the much anticipated route can be viewed here.
CYCLING
Tour de France 2017: 10 riders to watch
Monday, 26 June 2017
CYCLING
Paralympics New Zealand announces UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships team and new development squads
Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) is thrilled to announce the selection of the New Zealand Para Cycling Team to compete at the upcoming UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships.
Monday, 26 June 2017
MTB
Final Report Alpentour Trophy 2017
Daniel Geismayr.
Monday, 19 June 2017
MTB
Brannigan (NZL) 5th at Crankworx Les Gets Downhill
Hot, loose conditions combined with the wide turns, steep woods and a crazy grass section unseen on any other modern track gave the Crankworx Les Gets Downhill presented by iXS a race worthy of its legendary course status.
Monday, 19 June 2017
MTB
Superhero Comeback For Sensational Canadian Slopestyle Athlete
Canadian superstar Brett Rheeder returned to the top Sunday evening in the Crankworx Les Gets Slopestyle, delivering a measured, near flawless performance in his first Crankworx competition since tearing his meniscus, and besting the latest breakout star in the sport, 17-year-old Swedish rookie Emil Johansson.
Monday, 19 June 2017

News Index »