Canadian Cyclist


March 7/04 8:31 am - PEI Website, Cape Epic Final

Posted by Editor on 03/7/04

New PEI Website
Courtesy Darrin Deveau

Cycling PEI has launched it's new website. Cycling PEI's website can now be
found at

Cape Epic - South Africa
Report courtesy organizers

The weather could have not been better in honour of the inaugural Cape Epic finishers: 463 mountain bikers who cycled all the way from Knysna to Cape Town, covering a distance of nearly 800 kilometres and over 11,000 metres in elevation gain, completed the final of eight stages under blue sunny skies.

At the start in Stellenbosch, the field was accompanied by a parade of honking sponsor cars, giant trucks, and specialised vehicles which had transported the race village from stage town to stage town for the past week. The last leg of the challenging stage race led the aspiring amateur athletes and professionals riders from around the world once more through the magnificent scenery of the Western Cape to the beautiful Spier Wine Estate near Cape Town. On the final day of the inaugural Magical and Untamed African MTB Race, the riders' soul was fed with some spectacular single track riding, technical climbs and downhills, stunning drops as well as hike a bike sections - in short every element that makes a race an unforgettable mountain bike experience.

Mannie Heymans (Nambia) and Karl Platt (Germany), the leading men of team Focus - Rocky Mountain, were the first to cross the finish line after 2:32:09 hours together with Shan Wilson (South Africa) and Jacques Rossouw (South Africa), the best South African team (GT Africa) in this race, who placed third in the overall rankings. Three minutes and ten seconds later team adidas Fiat Rotwild with Andi Strobel (Germany) and Silvio Wieltschnig (Austria) enjoyed the vibes arriving as second overall in the Men's category at the gorgeous finish location on Spier Estate.

Over one hundred children lined the finish, cheering excitedly and singing "Welcome to Cape Town" for The Cape Epic champions and finishers.

"The course today was excellent", says Mannie Heymans. "It was a great event, very well organised. And a very tough competition. Now all riders need time to recover. The race was actually a bit too hard for international athletes, since they came straight out of the winter season and couldn't train enough on their bikes." Heymans/ Platt needed a total time of 31 hours, 2 minutes and 54 seconds to ride the 785 kilometres from Knysna to Cape Town. By the end of the race they had accumulated a lead of over twenty minutes to second placed Strobel/Wieltschnig.

The leading women's team Yellow Jacket with Hannlie Booyens (South Africa) and Sharon Laws (South Africa) completed their successful race with a final victory on the last stage and an overall lead by an hour. The two girls needed seven hours longer than the leading men (38:42:22). Louise Kobin (USA) and Hillary Harrison (USA), team Cateye Kenda Enduro, finished second overall, team Smith-Speedy with Christy Smith (South Africa) and Yolanda Speedy (South Africa) is on third.

South African Mixed team Fiat - Bianchi with Hannele Steyn-Kotze and Johann Greef pushed hard today and could celebrate another stage victory on home territory, however they couldn't threaten the overall leading position of HAI Bike - Scott with Kirsten Rosel (Germany) and Robert Eder (Germany) who won the inaugural Cape Epic in the Mixed category in a total time of 35:42.19. Third place overall went to Melissa Thomas (USA) and Eric Warkentin (USA) of team Cateye Enduro, who were full of praise for the excellent organisation of The Cape Epic.

"The organisation of this event is awesome", says Eric Warkentin. "Just awesome! I don't think many people in South Africa are actually aware of the fact that The Cape Epic has set a new international benchmark in mountain biking, since they have not seen any stage races abroad. For a first time event the level of organisation is an incredible achievement."

Team Bowmans-Giant with Frank Soll (South Africa) and Duncan English (South Africa) demonstrated once more on the final day of The Cape Epic that they were the best riders in the Master category, by winning the stage and the overall race superiorly. "We have trained between four and five months for this event and we have done four-day stage races before, so we knew what to expect", says Duncan English. Despite several stage wins, team Willie Engelbrecht with Bryan Strauss (South Africa) and Mc Franken (South Africa) could not catch up with Bowmans-Giant and finished second overall. Two teams battled until the very last minute for place three overall: Marsilio Masters and Eminem. With a tight gap of only 45 seconds after eight days of racing, Corrie Muller (South Africa) and Jacques Malan (South Africa) of team Eminem secured their bronze medal in the inaugural Cape Epic.

In the afternoon, tired but proud Cape Epic finishers lazed under shadowy oaks in the beautiful Spier gardens, enjoyed their first glass of wine after eight gruelling days in the saddle and told their families and friends, who had all come out to the Winelands to celebrate their heroes, about their personal African MTB adventure.

A total of 546 riders (273 teams) had departed from Knysna last Saturday for an arduous and exciting journey on mountain bikes, but only 463 of them completed the epic challenge today. Single riders, whose partner quit, formed new teams to stay in the competition.

Stage 8 - Stellenbosch to Cape Town


1 Focus/Rocky Mountain (Mannie Heymans/Karl Platt) 2:32:10
2 GT Africa (Jacques Rossouw/Shan Wilson) at 0:01
3 Adidas/Fiat Rotwild (Andreas Strobel/Silvio Wieltschnig) 3:12
4 Breitling/Vineyard Hotel (Geddan Ruddock/Kevin Evans) 3:52
5 Mazda Drifter Two (Theo Grobler/Grant Usher) 7:47

Final GC
1 Focus/Rocky Mountain (Mannie Heymans/Karl Platt) 31:02:55
2 Adidas/Fiat Rotwild (Andreas Strobel/Silvio Wieltschnig) at 21:04
3 GT Africa (Jacques Rossouw/Shan Wilson) 27:23
4 Breitling/Vineyard Hotel (Geddan Ruddock/Kevin Evans) 1:29:41
5 Tom Tailor / Fujitsu-Siemens / Walkabout (Marcel Honing/Tommy Velthuijzen) 2:57:01


1 Yellow Jacket (Hanlie Booyens/Sharon Laws) 3:07:38
2 Cateye - Kenda Enduro Team (Louise Kobin/Hillary Harrison) at 14:57
3 Team Fair Lady (Adrienne Cobb/Christelle Van Niekerk) 18:20
4 Team Rotwild /Hr (Monika Birk/Christine Hoelzl) 19:56
5 Magura/Bodyglide (Cristina Begy/Simone Otto) 31:16

10 Canucks2 (Martie Du Plessis/Marlene Van Heerden) 1:33:30

Final GC
1 Yellow Jacket (Hanlie Booyens/Sharon Laws) 38:42:22
2 Cateye - Kenda Enduro Team (Louise Kobin/Hillary Harrison) at 1:00:44
3 Smith/Speedy (Yolande Speedy/Christi Smith) 2:05:39
4 Team Rotwild /Hr (Monika Birk/Christine Hoelzl) 4:15:43
5 Team Fair Lady (Adrienne Cobb/Christelle Van Niekerk) 4:52:12

10 Canucks2 (Martie Du Plessis/Marlene Van Heerden) 16:58:08


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