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March 25/18 15:47 pm - Cape Epic Day 7


Posted by Editoress on 03/25/18
 

Kulhavy, Grotts Cruise to Overall Victory

With 69km and 2000m of vertical gain standing between riders and a finisher’s medal at Val de Vie Estate, this year’s Grand Finale was arguably the toughest in the Absa Cape Epic’s 15-year history. With four beastly climbs punctuating the course, even the sharp end of the field would feel every metre. Despite their eight minute cushion over Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini, Investec Songo Specialized would have to mark every attack and pray for a mechanical-free day following a string of bad luck earlier in the race.

Cannondale Factory Racing were first to make a move, together with Centurion Vaude, but these early attacks would prove futile as both teams struggled to respond to the counter attacks launched by Trek Selle San Marco 2, Buff Scott MTB, Canyon Topeak and Investec Songo Specialized. After struggling to stay aboard the Czech Express in the earlier stages of the race, Grotts showed his pedigree – driving the pace on the climbs and controlling the lead.

“For the first few days I was struggling quite a bit but things changed in the last few days,” said Grotts. “I felt comfortable on the climbs and I’m happy with the way things have worked out for us.”

The Trek Selle San Marco 2 pairing of Fabian Rabensteiner and Michele Casagrande attacked and took the sprint on the Dimension Data Hotspot and opened up a 20 second gap in the process. Further back Cannondale Factory Racing were struggling to maintain a rhythm and risked losing their overall podium to the darkhorse Buff Scott MTB pair, who have been looking better and better as the race has progressed.

A heated exchange between Jeremiah Bishop (Canyon Topeak 2) and Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) would culminate in a crash after Fumic appeared to deliberately knock Bishop off his bike. Fumic however, was quick to dismiss the incident as “racing dynamics” and expressed there was no “foul play” intended.

“It was an epic battle today,” said Fumic. “We were battling for second overall with Canyon Topeak on the general classification. We had a crash and a puncture, and it was really close but we never gave up – we were always fighting. I’m happy with third place.”

The leading group would stay together for much of the stage before the Czech Express launched an attack on the Freedom Struggle climb in an attempt to splinter the group and gain an advantage heading into the final Land Rover Technical Terrain Section of the race – the “Bone Rattler”. Only Trek Selle San Marco 2 were able counter their attack, responding with a daring move of their own that would ultimately hand them a well-deserved stage win.

“Today was a good day for us,” said Rabensteiner. “We attacked to take the Dimension Data Hotspot and decided to go full gas from there. Jaro (Kulhavy) and Howie (Grotts) attacked on the last climb but we made a move on the descent and it was full-race-mode to the finish line.”

Canyon Topeak had a bit of a scare on the final descent after Kristian Hynek suffered a rear puncture. With Cannondale Factory Racing breathing down their necks just a few minutes down, Hynek was quick to fix the leak as the two managed to hold on to second place on the general classification. For Alban Lakata, it was a bitter-sweet moment as an Absa Cape Epic title continues to elude the Marathon World Champion.

“The whole Absa Cape Epic was a rollercoaster ride for us but in the end I’m happy about the second place,” said the Austrian. “It’s a pity with how things went but we will have to come again next year to try and win.”

“It was amazing that we got through the Absa Cape Epic with so few mechanicals,” said Hynek. For a moment there we were a little stressed with the puncture on the final descent but it all worked out in the end.”

For Investec Songo Specialized it was a case of minimising any unnecessary risks – particularly on the treacherous Bone Rattler descent. Their strategy paid off and despite gifting the stage to Trek Selle San Marco 2, they’d roll across the finish line at Val de Vie Estate as deserved champions after eight days of consistent riding.

“We had a pretty good ride,” said Kulhavy. “I’m very happy for Howie (Grotts) as he is a newbie and he rode really well. Maybe we will come back next year to win again. Who knows – maybe I can try and beat Suzi’s (Christoph Sauser) record of five victories. I’ve learned a lot from him and he helped us a lot this year.”

Women

Courtney Helps Langvad to Four in a Row

Much has been made of the Kulhavy Express hauling the Investec Songo Specialized men to victory at the Absa Cape Epic, but their corresponding women’s team has also been on rails from day one, with the Annika Express leading them to a massive overall win at Val de Vie Estate.

Annika Langvad, now a four-time winner from just four attempts at the gruelling event, and young American novice Kate Courtney were sublime this week as they crushed all opposition with an almost faultless display of stage racing.

Their perfect party was gate-crashed on the final day by the PMRA/CST Racing team of Margot Moschetti and Raiza Goulao, who spoiled the clean-sweep by winning the 67km stage from Wellington to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl on Sunday. The French/Brazilian pair was followed home on the stage by South Africans Candice Lill and Amy Beth McDougall (dormakaba), who also wrapped up the Absa African Women’s special jersey and ended fourth overall.

Sabine Spitz and Robyn De Groot (Ascendis Health) claimed third on the stage, just ahead of the race winners, which secured their runner up spot on the overall standing. Annie Last and Mariske Strauss (Silverback-KMC) limped to the finish in fifth position to secure the final step on the overall podium.

The final stage results was relatively meaningless to the overall result as Langvad and Courtney had opened up a massive 46-minute lead during the previous seven days of racing and the only thing that was going to derail their charge to victory was a bad crash or serious mechanical. They remained on track throughout the final 67km to the finish line to claim the well-deserved victory.

“That was a good day,” said Langvad after the champagne celebrations on the finish line. “Our main goal today was just to get to the finish line.

“This is all a little bit unbelievable and a lot more than I could have asked for. Coming here and doing so well with the Epic World Cup win and the Absa Cape Epic is unbelievable. It has been amazing to race with Kate and I have enjoyed it a lot.”

Courtney was also a surprised at how well the eight days of racing had progressed.

“It is definitely a bit of an emotional finish for me. When I set out to do the Absa Cape Epic, my first marathon and stage race, people thought I was a little crazy but my inner circle supported me and helped me get here.

“And Specialized gave me the opportunity to race with one of my heroes in the sport and I could not have asked for a better experience. And I think I have proved to myself that I can do it.

“It has been an incredible week of teamwork and so I do not think there is much more that we can ask for.”

In the race for the second spot on the overall podium, Mariske Strauss and Annie Last were able to complete the stage, something that was doubtful the previous day when Strauss was rushed straight from the finish line to the medical tent.

“We were able to get to the finish today and Mariske is much better than yesterday, but there was no gas,” said Last. “We could not race hard today.”

That meant a relatively easy path to the runner up spot for Spitz and De Groot.

“Today was pretty tough. Last night I started to get a cold, so that was a bit of a handicap today. We then decided just to keep second on GC and get to Val de Vie Estate safely,” said an exhausted Spitz.

“After the Hotspot we caught Annika and Kate again but I felt very bad and so I could not go for it after that.

“In the end you have to compare our second position overall to how it was at the beginning of the week when I was not feeling very good. To get to second overall was good and so we are happy with how it turned out in the end.”

Goulao was a bit surprised to have claimed the final stage victory and rates it as a highlight of her career.

“It was not expected that we would win today,” said the Brazilian. “We were just fighting for the top three again, but at about kilometre 15 we saw the top riders were looking a bit tired we decided today was our day. For the last 30 kilometres it was full gas and no looking back.

“I have never had this feeling of winning a race like this. The Absa Cape Epic is the hugest goal for me and I am leaving here with a new highlight.”

Report by Cape Epic

 

 

Stage 7: Huguenot High and Primary Schools to Val de Vie. Paarl. 70 km
 
Elite Men (Top 20)
1 Fabian Rabensteiner (Ita) / Michele Casagrande (Ita) Trek Selle San Marco 2 2:47:37.5
2 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) / Howard Grotts (USA) InvestecSongoSpecialized at 0:48.0
3 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Esp) / Luis Leao Pinto (Por) BUFF SCOTT MTB 1:10.6
4 Alban Lakata (Aut) / Kristian Hynek (Cze) Canyon Topeak 1:39.1
5 Miguel Muñoz Moreno (Esp) / Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Esp) BUFF®-SCOTT MTB 2 3:44.8
6 Nicola Rohrbach (Sui) / Daniel Geismayr (Aut) Centurion Vaude 4:22.5
7 Jose Hermida (Esp) / Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) MERIDA FACTORY RACING 5:31.8
8 Karl Platt (Ger) / Urs Huber (Sui) BULLS 5:32.8
9 Manuel Fumic (Ger) / Henrique Avancini (Bra) Cannondale Factory Racing 5:34.2
10 Nico Bell (RSA) / Matthew Beers (RSA) NAD MTB 6:28.6
11 Frans Claes (Bel) / Markus Bauer (Ger) KULU MANZI PROJECT 6:30.8
12 Thomas Bundgaard (Den) / Benjamin Justesen (Den) Team Velofit Commit 7:12.4
13 Martin Fanger (Sui) / Simon Vitzthum (Sui) Price&bischi-bikes 7:26.8
14 Hendrik Kruger (RSA) / Stuart Marais (RSA) Ellsworth - ASG 7:39.6
15 Damiano Ferraro (Ita) / Samuele Porro (Ita) Trek-Selle San Marco 7:46.8
16 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) / Tim Bohme (Ger) BULLS 2 8:31.3
17 Roberto Bou Martin (Esp) / Cristofer Bosque Ruano (Esp) TBELLES GAES CANONDALE 9 10:19.7
18 Matthys Beukes (RSA) / Julian Jessop (RSA) PYGA Euro Steel 12:01.1
19 Dylan Rebello (RSA) / Marco Joubert (RSA) Imbuko Momsen 12:19.7
20 Timothy Hammond (RSA) / Arno Du Toit (RSA) SPOT Africa 14:00.7
 
Elite Women (Top 10)
1 Margot Moschetti (Fra) / Raiza Goulao (Bra) PMRA/CST Racing 3:22:00.8
2 Candice Lill (RSA) / Amy Beth Mcdougall (RSA) dormakaba at 3:01.7
3 Sabine Spitz (Ger) / Robyn De Groot (RSA) Ascendis Health 5:33.1
4 Annika Langvad (Den) / Kate Courtney (USA) Investec Songo Specialized 5:53.1
5 Mariske Strauss (RSA) / Annie Last (GBr) Silverback - KMC 7:05.9
6 Carmen Buchacher (Aut) / Samantha Sanders (RSA) dormakaba 2 9:23.7
7 Nina Mcvicar (NZl) / Reta Trotman (NZl) Hirepool 24:51.3
8 Sunniva Dring (Nor) / Kristin Aamodt (Nor) Milslukern 25:02.3
9 Nadia Visser (RSA) / Katie Lennard (RSA) Western girls 28:20.6
10 Hannele Steyn (RSA) / Jeannie Dreyer (RSA) Nolands Spar Ladies 33:35.5
 
Final GC
 
Elite Men (Top 20)
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) / Howard Grotts (USA) InvestecSongoSpecialized 25:29:48.9
2 Alban Lakata (Aut) / Kristian Hynek (Cze) Canyon Topeak at 9:38.5
3 Manuel Fumic (Ger) / Henrique Avancini (Bra) Cannondale Factory Racing 13:12.9
4 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Esp) / Luis Leao Pinto (Por) BUFF SCOTT MTB 18:53.3
5 Nicola Rohrbach (Sui) / Daniel Geismayr (Aut) Centurion Vaude 23:32.4
6 Fabian Rabensteiner (Ita) / Michele Casagrande (Ita) Trek Selle San Marco 2 31:28.8
7 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) / Tim Bohme (Ger) BULLS 2 43:52.3
8 Frans Claes (Bel) / Markus Bauer (Ger) KULU MANZI PROJECT 45:13.9
9 Miguel Muñoz Moreno (Esp) / Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Esp) BUFF®-SCOTT MTB 2 51:40.2
10 Karl Platt (Ger) / Urs Huber (Sui) BULLS 59:29.7
11 Thomas Bundgaard (Den) / Benjamin Justesen (Den) Team Velofit Commit 1:18:10.4
12 Matthys Beukes (RSA) / Julian Jessop (RSA) PYGA Euro Steel 1:24:57.4
13 Hendrik Kruger (RSA) / Stuart Marais (RSA) Ellsworth - ASG 1:32:44.6
14 Martin Frey (Ger) / Simon Schneller (Ger) BULLS 3 1:34:37.6
15 Nico Bell (RSA) / Matthew Beers (RSA) NAD MTB 1:38:04.4
16 Damiano Ferraro (Ita) / Samuele Porro (Ita) Trek-Selle San Marco 1:42:17.7
17 Martin Fanger (Sui) / Simon Vitzthum (Sui) Price&bischi-bikes 1:44:09.9
18 Dylan Rebello (RSA) / Marco Joubert (RSA) Imbuko Momsen 1:48:08.6
19 Timothy Hammond (RSA) / Arno Du Toit (RSA) SPOT Africa 1:53:33.5
20 Jordan Sarrou (Fra) / Victor Koretzky (Fra) KMC-EKOÏ-SRSUNTOUR 2:00:17.1
 
Elite Women (Top 10)
1 Annika Langvad (Den) / Kate Courtney (USA) Investec Songo Specialized 29:57:06.5
2 Sabine Spitz (Ger) / Robyn De Groot (RSA) Ascendis Health at 46:29.2
3 Mariske Strauss (RSA) / Annie Last (GBr) Silverback - KMC 53:15.6
4 Candice Lill (RSA) / Amy Beth Mcdougall (RSA) dormakaba 1:51:10.6
5 Margot Moschetti (Fra) / Raiza Goulao (Bra) PMRA/CST Racing 1:52:06.8
6 Carmen Buchacher (Aut) / Samantha Sanders (RSA) dormakaba 2 1:59:18.6
7 Sunniva Dring (Nor) / Kristin Aamodt (Nor) Milslukern 4:10:52.1
8 Hannele Steyn (RSA) / Jeannie Dreyer (RSA) Nolands Spar Ladies 4:44:28.4
9 Hielke Elferink (Ned) / Cornelia Hug (Sui) Shimano S-Phyre 4:59:21.6
10 Nina Mcvicar (NZl) / Reta Trotman (NZl) Hirepool 5:21:50.7
 
 
Stage 6 (Mr 24th): Huguenot High & Primary Schools to Huguenot High & Primary Schools. 76 km
 
Elite Men (Top 20)
1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) / Howard Grotts (USA) InvestecSongoSpecialized 3:09:08.5
2 Fabian Rabensteiner (Ita) / Michele Casagrande (Ita) Trek Selle San Marco 2 at 1:06.0
3 Manuel Fumic (Ger) / Henrique Avancini (Bra) Cannondale Factory Racing 1:07.0
4 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Esp) / Luis Leao Pinto (Por) BUFF SCOTT MTB 1:30.5
5 Alban Lakata (Aut) / Kristian Hynek (Cze) Canyon Topeak 1:31.7
6 Nico Bell (RSA) / Matthew Beers (RSA) NAD MTB 4:00.5
7 Miguel Muñoz Moreno (Esp) / Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Esp) BUFF®-SCOTT MTB 2 4:26.1
8 Nicola Rohrbach (Sui) / Daniel Geismayr (Aut) Centurion Vaude 5:58.1
9 Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) / Tim Bohme (Ger) BULLS 2 6:09.6
10 Damiano Ferraro (Ita) / Samuele Porro (Ita) Trek-Selle San Marco 7:40.1
12 Matthys Beukes (RSA) / Julian Jessop (RSA) PYGA Euro Steel 7:54.2
11 Martin Frey (Ger) / Simon Schneller (Ger) BULLS 3 7:54.2
13 Frans Claes (Bel) / Markus Bauer (Ger) KULU MANZI PROJECT 8:11.4
14 Thomas Bundgaard (Den) / Benjamin Justesen (Den) Team Velofit Commit 10:07.6
15 Erik Kleinhans (RSA) / Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Canyon Topeak 2 12:34.4
16 Hendrik Kruger (RSA) / Stuart Marais (RSA) Ellsworth - ASG 13:50.9
17 Dylan Rebello (RSA) / Marco Joubert (RSA) Imbuko Momsen 15:40.0
18 Calle Friberg (Swe) / Henrik Sparr (Swe) PostNord 17:33.9
19 Phillimon Sebona (RSA) / Pieter Du Toit (RSA) PYGA Euro Steel 2 17:34.4
20 Timothy Hammond (RSA) / Arno Du Toit (RSA) SPOT Africa 17:57.4
 
DNF Martin Gluth (Ger) / Raphael Gagne (Can) Silverback OMX
 
Elite Women (Top 10)
1 Annika Langvad (Den) / Kate Courtney (USA) Investec Songo Specialized 3:46:34.4
2 Sabine Spitz (Ger) / Robyn De Groot (RSA) Ascendis Health at 5:00.2
3 Margot Moschetti (Fra) / Raiza Goulao (Bra) PMRA/CST Racing 6:57.3
4 Candice Lill (RSA) / Amy Beth McDougall (RSA) dormakaba 9:30.3
5 Carmen Buchacher (Aut) / Samantha Sanders (RSA) dormakaba 2 15:10.8
6 Mariske Strauss (RSA) / Annie Last (GBr) Silverback - KMC 16:34.9
7 Sunniva Dring (Nor) / Kristin Aamodt (Nor) Milslukern 34:23.0
8 Nina Mcvicar (NZl) / Reta Trotman (NZl) Hirepool 35:06.0
9 Nadia Visser (RSA) / Katie Lennard (RSA) Western girls 36:16.7
10 Hannele Steyn (RSA) / Jeannie Dreyer (RSA) Nolands Spar Ladies 37:35.3

 

 


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