SAUSER AND KULHAVY MOVE TO SECOND PLACE
Stage one was a 96-kilometer loop with 2 350m of climbing on virgin Absa Cape Epic territory that started and finished in Citrusdal, a small farming town at the foot of the Cederberg Mountains. The stage started with climbing from the word go, up Piekenierskloof on relatively smooth and sandy roads, before descending nearly 600 meters in seven rocky kilometers of a wet Olifants River crossing. A steady eight-kilometer climb led to a four-kilometer section of rugged dual track and a short, but thrilling, single-track descent. The gradual descent to water point two was on uneven farm roads through citrus orchards. Riders needed to fill up here as the most challenging section of the day awaited them – seven kilometers of climbing, a brief rutted descent and then a portage that tested bodies and humour. The long descent to water point three was followed by approximately 20 kilometers through the farmlands in the Olifants River Valley. With no significant climbs, though by no means flat, riders enjoyed a slight reprieve before reaching the final obstacle of the day: a tough, sandy slog up the mountain side and the just reward of a fast, fun descent into the race village in Citrusdal.
Wow, what a vibe. Today’s prologue was tough but amazing with 700m elevation gain over 23 kilometers. The crowds lining the course were fantastic and we tried our hardest to rise to the occasion.Awesome singletrack and having the legendary Bart Brentjens steaming past me is what stands out in my mind.
Top South African rider Brandon Stewart (31) will participate in this year’s Absa Cape for the 10th time, partnering with Neil MacDonald as team FedGroup-Itec. Stewart won the Absa African Leader jersey in both 2007 and 2012, as well as finished in the top 5 in 2005, having partnered with Gerrie Beukes, Shan Wilson, Max Knox and Jacques Rossouw in the past. He was the South African Cross-country Champion in 2008 and a TransAlp stage winner in 2007.
PROST AND DI PASQUA RETURN FOR THEIR 2ND ABSA CAPE EPIC
World famous former Formula One champion Alain Prost (58) and well-known international ski champion Sebastien Di Pasqua (36), return for their second Absa Cape Epic. Together with 1 198 riders they will take on the challenging 698km and 15 650m of climbing in the untamed African mountain bike race. This year’s race, which takes place from 17 to 24 March, will kick-off with a prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville and finish eight days later at the traditional Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West.
Winner of the Master’s category in the 2010 Absa Cape Epic, Shan Wilson (46), will participate in this year’s Absa Cape for the 10th time. Wilson has an impressive stage win history finishing first in seven of the eight stages in 2010 (first place overall in the Master’s category) and taking first place in the Prologue and stages three to seven (second place overall in the Master’s category) in 2009.
DRIEPOOT TOYOTA FIRST AMPUTEES TEAM TO COMPETE IN ABSA CAPE EPIC
Reuben Van Niekerk (28) will be teaming up with Dane Wilson (30) for this year’s Absa Cape Epic as team Driepoot Toyota. The legendary mountain bike stage race, which takes place from 17 to 24 March 2013, will take 1 200 riders over 698km with 15 650m of climbing through from Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West.
Van Niekerk, a motoring journalist by profession, says that he took part in the Absa Cape Epic Volunteer Programme in 2012 in order to be able to participate in this year’s event. He received sponsorship from Toyota, which made it all possible for him.
Previous winner of the Absa Cape Epic in the Ladies category, Sharon Laws, had to withdraw from the 10th edition of the race yesterday after a serious fall in the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour. Her partner, Hanlie Booyens, will now be riding with Ischen Stopforth as team Pragma Volcan Ladies.
Says Booyens: “Yesterday was a very challenging day for us all. To see a great friend in agony and heartbroken is never easy. Sharon had a horrible crash nearing the finish line of the Argus. She was out there having a brilliant ride, breaking away on Suikerbossie. She was in front, riding aggressively and unfortunately this meant she was the first in line when one of the guys went down, sending her rocketing over him and crashing badly.
From 17 March to 24 March 2013, all eyes will be on the Western Cape as the world’s top riders compete for position in what is billed to be the most competitive event in the Absa Cape Epic’s 10-year history. Covering a distance of 698km with 15 650m of climbing, the race will finish eight days later at Lourensford Wine Estate. Manuel Fumic (30) and his partner Marco Aurelio Fontana (28), will be aiming to give there all as first-time participants in the race.