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Belgian rookies ready

The seventh Absa Cape Epic cycle event is just four days from blast-off in Wellington on Sunday.

Nicolas Vermeulen, Belgian mountain bike champion for the last four years, will be teaming up with Kevin van Hoovels – a former Belgian Under-23 mountain bike champion (2006) – for this year’s Absa Cape Epic. This year’s event will be their first Cape Epic.

The demanding race sets off from Diemersfontein Wine Estate in the heart of Wellington and ends eight days later (Sunday, 28 March) at the long-established Lourensford Wine Estate finish.

Says Vermeulen: ÔÇ£I’ve seen the route and it will be hard.ÔÇØ Van Hoovels adds that it will definitely be challenging, ÔÇ£but at least it covers some beautiful locationsÔÇØ.

The new route will live up to the expectations of cycling enthusiasts from around the world, with the sharp descents of Bainskloof on day one to the steep climbs to Nuweberg on day eight.

The Belgian duo decided to enter the Absa Cape Epic after Van Hoovels changed teams and started racing with Vermeulen. Vermeulen comments: ÔÇ£It has always been a dream of mine to participate in the Cape Epic, and now with my new team mate, I finally have the chance. I’m very excited as I have a good marathon rider as partner.ÔÇØ

Although they have trained together on numerous occasions, Vermeulen spent a week training in Spain as well as Cyprus. Van Hoovels trains between 15 and 20 hours per week, combining road cycling, mountain biking, running and fitness. He adds: ÔÇ£I follow a normal sports diet with a lot of carbohydrates and minimal fat. In the winter months I averaged 1600km per month cycling in the hilly regions of Belgium.ÔÇØ

Both cyclists believe the most important ingredient to a successful Absa Cape Epic finish is preparation, while Vermeulen adds that good motivation will go a long way. Their advice: ÔÇ£Train hard or go home.ÔÇØ


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