Mission accomplished is the best way to describe Adrien Niyonshuti and Mannie Heymans (Garmin-adidas/MTN) overall victory in the Absa Cape Epic’s African Jersey competition.
Moments after finishing the last stage on Sunday at Lourensford Heymans made it clear that finishing ninth overall in the Epic and winning the African Jersey with Niyonshuti is a definite highlight in his already illustrious mountain biking career.
“I don’t have words to describe the feeling. It was our plan to win the African Jersey and it means as much as winning the first Absa Cape Epic with Karl Platt in 2004.
“I am so happy that the hard work I put into making Garmin-adidas/MTN paid off since this will open even more doors for a super rider like Adrien.
“I achieved a lot in my long cycling career and it was time to give back. It was a pleasure to teach Adrien some of my racing secrets during the last ten days.
“For example I even got him to relax more in front of the television cameras. Give him another year or two and his English will be as good as his riding.”
Doug Ryder, team owner of MTN/Qhubeka, made it clear that it is a great result for both team and their respective sponsors – MTN/Qhubeka and Garmin-adidas.
“Adrien could not have asked for a better Epic-partner. Mannie was unbelievable. I am sure that Adrien learned during the Epic about what it takes to become a winner on a mountain bike.
“For example Mannie helped Adrien to stay calm during the stages. In the past Adrien sometimes made the mistake of immediately racing off with the race leaders and then ‘exploding’ during the latter part of a race.”
Heymans and Niyonshuti’s overall winning time in the African Jersey competition was (30:29.36,5. They were followed by Brandon Stewart and Shan Wilson (Toyota DCM) in 31:33.52,7. Paul Cordes and Charles Keey (MTN/Qhubeka) finished in third position in 32:01.11,9.
The 36ONE Songo Specialized team of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser walked away with top honours as overall winners of this year’s exciting Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas.
Stander and Sauser finished the last 8 days of the Magical and Untamed Mountain Bike Race of 707km in an overall time of 28:44.44,0. It is the first time in the history of the race that a South African is part of the winning team.
In second place in an overall time of 28:51.52,8 were the German team of Hannes Genze and Jochen Käss (Multivan Merida Biking), with the Bulls, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, in third place overall in 29:05.53,7.