Former winner's crash puts her out of Epic | SASCOC - SASCOC

Former winner’s crash puts her out of Epic

Previous winner of the Absa Cape Epic cycle race in the women’s category, Sharon Laws, had to withdraw from the 10th edition of the race on Monday after a serious fall in Sunday’s Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour.

Her partner, Hanlie Booyens, will now be riding with Ischen Stopforth as team Pragma Volcan Ladies.

Says Booyens: ÔÇ£Yesterday was a very challenging day for us all. To see a great friend in agony and heartbroken is never easy. Sharon had a horrible crash nearing the finish line of the Argus. She was out there having a brilliant ride, breaking away on Suikerbossie. She was in front, riding aggressively and unfortunately this meant she was the first in line when one of the guys went down, sending her rocketing over him and crashing badly.

ÔÇ£She was left with a broken collarbone, cracked ribs and a compressed fracture in her back. A great setback at the start of her European season and the end of our Absa Cape Epic dream to ride the 10th together. Yes, she’ll need some time but she’ll be back!

ÔÇ£With regards to the Cape Epic, I discussed it with Sharon and we agreed that the best suitable replacement would be top South African rider, Ischen Stopforth. I’m so grateful to her for agreeing on very short notice to step in! We’ll make the best of the race ÔÇô┬á it’s the only way,ÔÇØ Booyens concluded.

From 17-24 March, all eyes will be on the Western Cape as the world’s top riders compete for position in what is billed the most competitive event in the race’s history. Covering a distance of 698 kilometres with 15,650m of climbing, the race will finish eight days later at Lourensford Wine Estate.

Says Kevin Vermaak, Absa Cape Epic founder: ÔÇ£It was an honour to have Hanlie and Sharon riding together and contending for the women’s title in the 10th edition of the Absa Cape Epic. They won their category for the inaugural race in 2004 and again in 2009 when the route had changed from the traditional Knysna to the Cape Town start. It’s a huge personal loss as it was particularly auspicious that they would be riding in this, the landmark 10th year.

ÔÇ£I had offered all the riders from 2004 to bypass the lottery if they rode with the same partner as in 2004. Eight teams are identical to 2004, and Hanlie and Sharon were special in that they are the only winning team that were back to ride┬áand contend as the same team in the same category. They won the women’s category every time they have ridden together,ÔÇØ said Vermaak.