Posted by Editoress on 03/28/08
Cape Epic South Africa
Report courtesy organization
Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas successfully kicks off with inaugural prologue
At 8am this morning the fifth Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas The Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race kicked off on the Field of Dreams at the Pezula Estate outside Knysna. After months of preparation, 1200 riders from 41 countries started the first day of the 9-day race with the all-new Absa Cape Epic prologue.
The race started with a big surprise when South Africas podium contenders Kevin Evans and David George of team MTN Energade claimed the first ever yellow leader jersey for South Africa by winning the prologue with a lead of one minute to second placed Roel Paulissen (BEL) and Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) of team Cannondale Vredestein. Last years Absa Cape Epic winners Karl Platt (GER) and Stefan Sahm (GER) of team Bulls came third.
The international pro teams were astonished with the huge gap Evans and George built up, but the two had a very logical explanation. "We have worked together since November last year to develop our team skills as this is a team race and we can only win if both riders work well together," says Kevin Evans. "Weve spent every free minute together on our bikes to an extent that our wives got worried. We were on the phone about three times a day to discuss race statistics, our tactics for each stage, our different roles in the stages and how we would react in case of technical problems. We even matched our body weights and our pedal strokes. We didnt want to leave anything to chance and planned this race almost with military perfection." And David George ads: "A nine day stage race is my game. This were I can use my experience to benefit the team. I am a time trial champion and I know how to ride it. Kevins strength is the technical side, so he was riding all the lines today and all I had to do is stick to wheel and suffer. We trained together for six months and it was also an opportunity for me to pick up some of his skills."
Team Trek VW WSD Ladies win prologue
The twenty-four Ladies teams in the field were the first to experience the Absa Cape Epic prologue format. The teams started in 30-second intervals and transversed the beautiful 17 km loop route. Not knowing what to expect, as this was the first time they would ride the route, the riders were understandably nervous and had to be prepared for anything.
Susan Haywood (USA) and Jennifer Smith (NZL) of team Trek VW WSD, were the first team to conquer the sought-after red leader jersey. They completed the time trial loop in 42.51,2 minutes, 38.5 seconds ahead of second placed Alison Sydor (CAN) and Pia Sundstedt (FIN) of team Rocky Mountain. Title sponsor Absa was pleased to welcome their Absa Ladies, Hanlie Booyens (RSA) and Erica Green (RSA) in third place.
"This prologue was a great way to start the stage race," says Susan Haywood. "It felt good to work our legs after the long trip to South Africa. Since we are used to cross country races, the short and intense racing today was something that suited us, especially since we could race in a safe environment with few riders around us. We are more worried about whats laying ahead"
Photos by Gary "Flipper" Perkins
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