Olympic star for Epic | SASCOC - SASCOC

Olympic star for Epic

Two-time Olympic medallist and 2005 winner of the Absa Cape Epic, Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands returns for the 2011 race later this month.

Brentjens is also a former world champion and World Cup winner, former European Champion, National Marathon Champion and 12 time national cross-country champion.

According to Brentjens, the reason for returning for the sixth time is that the Absa Cape Epic is one of the best races in the world and he’ll tackle this year’s Epic (27 March to 3 April) with fellow Dutch rider Jeroen Boelen as team Milka-Trek 1.

Says Brentjens about the race: ┬áÔÇ£The environment is beautiful, the course attractive and challenging, it’s a multi-stage race, the weather is good, some of the best riders of the world participate, we get great exposure, the organisation of the race is perfect and I have a feeling that the organisers like it when I’m racing there.ÔÇØ

Along with partner Roel Paulissen, also of Belgium, Brentjens, who won two Olympic medals (gold in 1996 at the inaugural Mountain bike Olympic event, and bronze in 2004) not only won the 2005 Absa Cape Epic, but also seven out of the eight stages. All in all, he has won 12 stages of the Absa Cape Epic.

Although Brentjens reckons he’s too old to win the Absa Cape Epic again, he and his team mate will give it their all. ÔÇ£Jeroen is driven by mountain biking, the same as I am. He’s very good at multi stage cycling events, always friendly and has a good character. We also speak the same language and live in the same area, which makes it easier to train together almost daily. We make a good team.ÔÇØ

Brentjens does not follow a special diet. ÔÇ£Once a week I have French fries with the children. I generally try to eat healthy foods such as fresh vegetables and fruit, pastas and homemade pizzas. I don’t really have a special training programme and rely on experience from the last couple of years. I try to ride as much as possible – between 12 and 17 hours a week – and we’ll also be participating in several races before the Cape Epic for intensity training.ÔÇØ

His advice to other participants is to ride at least 10 hours per week and do long rides of four to five hours at least twice a week. ÔÇ£Try to be prepared for the hardest race you’ll ever do.ÔÇØ He believes that good health is the most important factor in completing the race successfully.

Brentjens was riding with two broken ribs to the finish line last year and says it was tough. He hopes to win a stage this year. ÔÇ£I’ve won at least a stage each year that I’ve participated. This year, I’m very happy that Milka-Trek has two teams participating. Also, one of our biggest television channels in the Netherlands, Omroep Brabant TV, will be filming this year’s Absa Cape Epic again. I really hope I stay healthy till Lourensford.ÔÇØ

Brentjens’ strengths lie in his experience, strength, competitiveness, leadership and endurance over long distances. His advice to younger mountain biking enthusiasts is to ÔÇ£stay focussed, set yourself some goals and try your best to reach them.ÔÇØ

All eyes will be on the Western Cape as the world’s top riders vie for a position in what is billed to be the most competitive mountain bike stage race on the international racing calendar for 2011.┬á A field of 1200 local and international mountain biking enthusiasts will be taking on the demanding eight-day mountain bike race of 707km, leading them through vast distances of new territory, previously untouched by the race.

With its challenging and exhilarating landscapes, the stage locations of Saronsberg and Worcester await the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world, before the race returns to the well-known orchards and vineyards of Oak Valley and its traditional finish at the Lourensford Wine Estate.

Live entertainment for the entire family, including wine tasting, magnificent scenery and the finest food and wine will be on offer at the finish at Lourensford Wine Estate, as well as the opportunity to see the ever popular Plush and Zebra & Giraffe in action. Entrance is free.