Posted by Editoress on 04/5/08
Cape Epic Final
Report courtesy organization
Alison Sydor and Pia Sundstedt win Ladies category
First to cross the finish line in the Ladies category was Pia Sundstedt (FIN) and Alison Sydor (CAN) - the Rocky Mountain team - at 3:23:45, their sixth stage win during this year's event. This secured them the overall win as well (43:05:51). With this impressive overall time the victorious Ladies place among the top 25 overall in the Men's category! In second place during the final stage as well as second overall was Trek/VW Wsd Susan Haywood (USA) and Jennifer Smith (NZL) (3:28:16 for stage 8 and 44:41:33 overall). In third place overall was the Scott Contessa team, Jane Seggie (RSA) and Ischen Stopforth (RSA), with a time of 48:00:03.
Crossing the final finish line in Lourensford, Sydor and Sundstedt were overwhelmed with joy and hugged each other while rolling over the last timing mat of this year's race. Unexpectedly, their handlebars caught, resulting in a crash in front of the astonished crowd. Sundstedt hurt her shoulder when they fell on top of each other, but was back on her feet quickly to celebrate their victory.
Sydor and Sundstedt both commented that the 2008 Absa Cape Epic was a hard race in a beautiful environment. I can truly say that the Absa Cape Epic is the toughest sporting event I've ever done in my life. Everything about this race is extraordinary - the scenery, the organisation, the people. It is long ride, but it is a great ride and I can't imagine a more fantastic way to explore this beautiful country, says Sydor.
Cannondale Vredestein overall winners, Bulls Team wins final stage
The final stage of this year's Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas saw Cannondale Vredestein, Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) and Roel Paulissen (BEL), walk away as overall winners for this year's event. With a nine minute time advantage built up of over the last couple of stages, they solidified their position as winners once again when they crossed the finish line within the leading bunch of riders who sprinted the last couple of metres of the Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race. They were welcomed by thousands of enthusiastic spectators who lined the impressive finish at Lourensford in Somerset-West.
However, first to cross the finish line of the final stage was the Bulls team, Karl Platt (GER) and Stefan Sahm (GER), at a time of 2:42:21. This secured them the second place overall (36:10:49). Following the Bulls was Alb-Gold Mountainbike, Hannes Genze (GER) and Jochen Kaess (GER) in second place, at a time of 2:42:25 (they ranked fourth overall at 36:28:35). One second later was the Cannondale Vredestein team (2:42:26), who took top honours this year thanks to their time advantage from the previous stages (36:01:45). The best performers from South Africa, MTN Energade (1), Kevin Evans (RSA) and David George (RSA), claimed their overall third place win (36:18:34) when they crossed the finish line fourth (2:42:29). They also won the African category overall.
For the final stage of the 2008 Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas, riders enjoyed a stage half the length of the longest one, but the climbs were amongst the steepest. Through the vineyards and orchards of Oak Valley there were several short, jagged hills. Then came the long, steep climbs over Nuweberg, which forced many of the riders into their 'granny gear'. As slow as they had to ride up, the opposite was true of the next downhill sections. Hair-raising descents forced riders to stay alert in order to avoid a tragic exit to the race at such a late stage. This took them to the flat section nearing the bottom of Gamtou Pass where, like last year, they had a compulsory portage section through this National Heritage Site. The Absa Cape Epic participants followed in the Voortrekkers' footsteps down to the railway line, through more vineyards taking them to the finish line at Lourensford.
Roel Paulissen of the overall winning team (Cannondale Vredestein) says that they were prepared to ride the final stage at a very relaxed pace, as they felt they didn't need to fight too much thanks to their time advantage. But in the beginning, Brandon Stewart of USN/adidas broke away to set the pace for the first twenty kilometres. Once he shot off to attack, our race instincts kicked in and we immediately stayed with him. Paulissen then decided to take over in terms of leading the teams, which he did for most of the race.
All of the leading teams said that it was a really great final stage. For most of the way, the five leading teams (Bulls, Alb-Gold Mountainbike, Cannondale Vredestein, MTN Energade and USN/adidas) rode together and broke away from the rest of the bunch. But the USN/adidas team encountered some problems when Brandon Stewart had a chain suck one kilometre from the finish line, and had to fix it. After that I was out of the sprint and I am really sad about it. We felt so good today that I believe we could have stepped on the podium in the last stage.
The MTN Energade (1) team is thrilled about their third place ranking overall. David had very good legs today so he could have performed well in the sprint. I ended up in the back of the leading bunch and once I tried to get to the front, it was too late and I was not in a good enough position to compete in the final sprint. However, we are really proud of our overall third place and our African category overall win, says Kevin Evans.
He added that after winning the Prologue of the 2008 Absa Cape Epic, they thought that they might be able to take top honours in this year's event. But after Stage 2 and 3, we thought absolutely not. Then our confidence grew after Stage 4 and we thought that maybe if we fight and with Lady Luck's help, we can climb the overall podium, which we did!
David George adds: What impressed me most about the Absa Cape Epic is the camaraderie between the pro riders. The mutual respect and the relaxed atmosphere amongst the top riders is something I have never experienced before in road racing, that's why it stood out for me.
In second place overall for the 2008 Absa Cape Epic, the German Bulls team returned this year to defend their overall win from the 2007 event. Asked on whether they thought prior to the race that they could win again this year, Karl Platt said absolutely yes. I have never felt this good before during any Absa Cape Epic as I did this year. Stefan had a few weak days in the beginning and I had to pull him on occasion, but we grew from strength to strength together. It was really hard work to at least claim the second place.
Champions of the 2008 Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas, the Cannondale Vredestein team, embraced each other as they completed their race. It is a very sweet victory for us, especially after last year when we were confident that we might be able to win. But it was taken from us, partially due to bad luck. But we returned this year to finish unfinished business, and our goal was to make it happen. And we did!
Doug Brown and Barti Bucher win Masters category
In the Masters category it was no surprise that the Absa Masters, Doug Brown (RSA) and Barti Bucher (SUI), walked away as overall winners (40:22:38). But today they completed their stage race in second place at 3:06:21. First to cross the finish line of Stage 8 was Adidas William Simpson, Shan Wilson (RSA) and Walter Platzgummer (IRE), with a time of 3:05:19. They ranked second overall (40:39:07). Third overall was the Pragma Masters, M. C. Franken (RSA) and Peter Buggle (ITA) (41:55:27), who came in fourth today (3:20:33).
Brown says that at the Absa Cape Epic you go through all the emotions a human being can experience in a very short period of time. It's an exceptional challenge and in a few years time I won't be able to believe that I've finished it three times. His riding partner Bucher added: I imagined the Absa Cape Epic to be a scenic ride through some game reserves where I can see giraffes and elephants. To be honest, during the first two stages I couldn't see a thing around me. All I saw was the route that went up and down and up and down. Big lungs and good legs are not enough for this race. You have to be an all-rounder who can cope with loose gravel, sand, steep climbs, single-track, wind and endless flat stretches to win the Absa Cape Epic. Simply finishing it is a real accomplishment.
Ivonne Kraft and Nico Pfitzenmaier win Mixed category
Joybike-Maloja Express walked away with top honours in the Mixed category when Ivonne Kraft (GER) and Nico Pfitzenmaier (GER) won their sixth stage with a time of 3:17:07. They also won the Prologue. Their overall time was 43:31:32. Second overall was Cyclelab Toyota, Johan Labuschagne (RSA) and Yolandè de Villiers (RSA), at 44:15:58. Third overall was Absa Mixed, Kobus Barnard (RSA) and Fienie Barnard (RSA), at 45:50:21.
Pfitzenmaier commented about his experience the last ten days: During the Absa Cape Epic you go through all stages in life. You experience emotional highs and lows, joy and happiness as well as frustration and anger. It is a true life experience. His riding partner Kraft added: It is fun, pain, exhaustion, but happiness at the end.
Simply finishing is a victory
Mike De Beer (RSA) and Casper van Wyk (RSA) of team River Group were the last riders to cross the finish line before the cut-off time in an emotional finale of the Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas. Overwhelmed by emotion they rolled in to the tune of 'Heroes Live Forever', a song that captures the spirit of the event: simply finishing this gruelling stage race is a victory in itself.
Out of 1198 riders who embarked on their gruelling journey on two wheels nine days ago, 968 cycled all the 966km from Knysna to Lourensford (Somerset-West). During the prologue and the 8 stages they climbed a total of 18 529m on their bikes, which is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest twice. 435 teams managed to arrive at the final destination whereas 98 riders had to complete the 2008 Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas on their own. Only those who have completed all 8 stages of Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race are awarded with the prestigious title of Absa Cape Epic finisher.
29 riders have completed the Absa Cape Epic an astonishing five times (since the inaugural event was started in 2004).
|1. Rocky Mountain (Pia Sundstedt/Alison Sydor)||3:23:45|
|2. Trek/VW WSD (Susan Haywood/Jennifer Smith)||3:28:16|
|3. Absa Ladies (Erica Green (RSA) & Hanlie Booyens (RSA)||3:35:53|
|1. Bulls (Karl Platt/Stefan Sahm)||2:42:21|
|2. Alb-Gold Mountainbike (Hannes Genze/Jochen Kaess)||2:42:25|
|3. Cannondale Vredestein (Roel Paulissen/Jakob Fuglsang)||2:42:26|
|4. MTN Energade 1 (Kevin Evans/David George)||2:42:29|
|5. USN (Brandon Stewart/ Max Knox)||2:43:18|
|1. Adidas William Simpson (Shan Wilson/Walter Platzgummer )||3:05:19|
|2. Absa Masters (Doug Brown/Barti Bucher)||3:06:21|
|3. ORACLA (Claudio Pellegrini/Orazio Casaccio)||3:17:14|
|1. Joybike Guided by VMT and Maloja (Ivonne Kraft/Nico Pfitzenmaier)||3:17:07|
|2. Novatec - CK MTB Dohnany (Janka Stevkova/Tomas Legnavsky)||3:20:53|
|3. Cyclelab Toyota (Johan Labuschagne/Yolande de Villiers )||3:29:49|
|1. Rocky Mountain (Pia Sundstedt/Alison Sydor)||43:05:51|
|2. Trek/VW WSD (Susan Haywood/Jennifer Smith)||44:41:33|
|3. Scott Contessa (Jane Seggie (RSA) & Ischen Stopforth (RSA)||48:08:03|
|1. Cannondale Vredestein (Roel Paulissen/Jakob Fuglsang)||36:01:45|
|2. Bulls (Karl Platt/Stefan Sahm)||36:10:49|
|3. MTN Energade 1 (Kevin Evans/David George)||36:18:34|
|4. Alb-Gold Mountainbike (Hannes Genze/Jochen Kaess)||36:28:35|
|5. Full-Dynamix Rsm (Fredrik Kessiakoff/Massimo Debertolis)||36:53:01|
|6. Dolphin (Bart Brentjens/Alban Lakata)||37:02:11|
|7. USN (Brandon Stewart/ Max Knox)||37:13:45|
|8. Etto Hoydahl (3) - Martin Bratland/Kristian Torgersen)||38:31:53|
|9. Etto Hoydahl (2) (Rune Hoydahl/Ola Kjoren)||38:49:37|
|10. MTN Energade (2) (Mannie Heymans/Melt Swanepoel)||39:14:01|
|1. Absa Masters (Doug Brown/Barti Bucher)||40:22:38|
|2. Adidas William Simpson (Shan Wilson/Walter Platzgummer )||40:39:07|
|3. Pragma Masters (M.C. Franken /Peter Buggle)||41:55:27|
|1. Joybike Guided by VMT and Maloja (Ivonne Kraft/Nico Pfitzenmaier)||43:31:32|
|2. Cyclelab Toyota (Johan Labuschagne/Yolande de Villiers )||44:15:58|
|3. Absa Mixed (Kobus Barnard/Fienie Barnard)||45:50:21|
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