Mountain bike aces sum up new Cape Epic route | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mountain bike aces sum up new Cape Epic route

Both local and international mountain biking enthusiasts have reacted with enthusiasm, not to mention caution, on the new route for the eight-day 2014 Absa Cape Epic.

The latest version covers 718-kilometres with 14 850m of climbing With its unexplored landscapes, the stage locations of Robertson, Greyton and Oak Valley Wine estate await the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world, before riders again finish at the Lourensford Wine Estate.

For four-times Absa Cape Epic winner Christoph Sauser, the new route will suit him, as he is a good all-rounder. ÔÇ£This will be my 10th Absa Cape Epic. I look forward to Robertson as I have good memories from last year. I have less fond memories of Greyton as we lost an Absa Cape Epic due to Burry’s [Stander] famous crash there, where we broke the front wheel. I personally was hoping we go back to Wellington and especially Stellenbosch, as it’s my second home!

“Stage Five will be very difficult as we’ll be tired and we have the UFO and Groenlandberg to climb, which are never easy after five days of racing already.┬áWe’re targeting an overall win, so every stage has the same importance. We always decide what to do in a situation and don’t follow a master plan.ÔÇØ

Karl Platt, also a four-times winner of the Absa Cape Epic, reckons every year is hard. ÔÇ£We’re returning to familiar terrain from past years. Because mountain biking has changed in South Africa, I’m really looking forward to seeing the new style of self-made trails in and around these towns. They are really famous for awesome and breathtaking mountain biking.ÔÇØ

With regards to the stages, he reckons they will all be difficult. ÔÇ£The long distance stages are especially difficult to amateurs. One of the key stages will be the stage to Oak Valley with the monster of Groenlandberg. I can remember that terrain very well, maybe because of all the impressions from past years and the pain. Not to sound arrogant, we’ll target every stage for a win. It’s more about the GC (General Classification) than the wins though.ÔÇØ

He jokingly adds that there are no easy stages during the Absa Cape Epic. ÔÇ£I promise.ÔÇØ

This will be the second Absa Cape Epic for South African rider, Darren Lill. ÔÇ£The route looks like it’s sure to live up to the Epic reputation!┬á I think stage five will be the most challenging. Already having four stages in the legs, and then having to tackle almost 3000m of climbing is going to be tough. You have to give 100% every day to be at the front end of the race, and stand a chance at the overall podium.ÔÇØ His approach to the race will be ÔÇ£eat, sleep, train, repeat!ÔÇØ

Stefan Sahm, three-times winner of the Absa Cape Epic, reckons the new route is the same as every year. ÔÇ£The profile, facts and figures never show the real pain and suffering that awaits you. It’ll be nice to ride through some places we haven’t seen in previous years.ÔÇØ With regards to which stage will be the most difficult, Sahm is philosophical. ÔÇ£I guess it’s a bit like Russian roulette ÔÇô there can always be a day when everything is against you. It’s not just the route and the terrain.ÔÇØ

Swiss rider and two-times winner (in the Ladies and Mixed categories) Esther S├╝ss is convinced the route will be hard to ride. ÔÇ£I’m not looking forward to stage three. I’m not so good in flat and fast sections and I also don’t like it. Stage six has lots of singletrack, which I love, and I’m also a good climber.┬á We’ll do our best for stage wins as long as we have fun. But of course I’d like to win. I enjoy the Absa Cape Epic very much.ÔÇØ

This will be the second Absa Cape Epic for Cherise Stander, wife of the late Burry. ÔÇ£I think it’s going to be extremely testing. It seems like the 2014 Cape Epic has all the variety to test a rider on every level and that one will have to be prepared for an extremely tough eight days. I think every stage is an opportunity to break away. However, you don’t want to find yourself wasting energy riding by yourself when other teams are working together in a bunch. Its a big dream of mine to one day cross the last stage into Lourensford in first place ÔÇô the vibe on the finish line is magical and I would love to be able to win that stage.ÔÇØ

Team Absa rider, William Mokgopo, with two Absa Cape Epic finishes under his belt, says riders would need to prepare well. ÔÇ£I don’t know why I’m doing this again. There are no easy stages on the Absa Cape Epic ÔÇô even the so-called ‘easy’ stages are hard. But, I really look forward to stage five, the Queen stage, as I’m a good climber.ÔÇØ

He jokingly adds they might even go for a win in the stage. ÔÇ£During both Stage One and Five, we’ll see the super humans break away from the normal ones and climbing is always the best place to do that. It seems like it’s going to be a hard one, but it’s always a great experience. I can’t wait to start.ÔÇØ

South African rugby legend, Joel Stransky, will again be riding for Team Absa and reckons, ÔÇ£The route looks tough, but it looks fair! Some really tough days, a long day and some incredible singletrack. Everything one would expect from Dr Evil and the team! The real change I suppose is that the ‘sting in the tail’ does come toward the end.

Stage five looks very tough, stage six relatively tough and we know that the last day home is short but properly tough at the end of eight days!ÔÇØ This will be Stransky’s fifth Absa Cape Epic. ÔÇ£I don’t mind the climbing and over the years I’ve learned to suffer, so I am looking forward to the challenge of stages one and five. But the last 5km down to Lourensford definitely suit me best. Every year is the same ÔÇô when I see the route for the first time, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. One of life’s great challenges is right there in front of me ÔÇô the journey to the start line and the Absa Cape Epic itself. I can’t wait!ÔÇØ