Absa Cape Epic 2018 - Prologue - Untamed Action

Absa Cape Epic 2018 - Prologue - Untamed Action

mtb Video
Published 19 March 2018


You can’t win the Absa Cape Epic on the Prologue but you can prove a point – and that’s exactly what the Centurion Vaude combination of Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach did by winning yellow. Conditions couldn’t have been any better as the 2018 Absa Cape Epic Prologue kicked off on Table Mountain National Park for the first time in two years. With a somewhat technical course featuring washed-out corners and steep, tricky climbs the 20km route has been touted to favour the cross-country specialists, or at least that’s what everybody thought…

Canyon Topeak’s Alaban Lakata put it bluntly at a press conference held on Thursday in Cape Town: “Us marathon riders are going to show the cross-country guys just how to race the Absa Cape Epic.” And that’s exactly what panned out as marathon specialists Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach powered to victory in calculated fashion ahead of Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini, and darkhorse team, Buff Scott MTB’s Francesc Guerra Carretero and Luis Leao Pinto who finished third. Defending champions Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann were the last team to leave the ramp and despite coming into the race as defending champions, the paring looked relaxed ahead of the start. “We are looking forward to this ultimate adventure. We showed last year what we can do, and we will try to win the race and have a fun week,” said Schurter. We don’t have any pressure this year because we showed last year that we can win it.”

The Scott-Sram duo took some time to get going but once they found a rhythm they managed to eat away at the clock, eventually finishing in fourth place in a time of 0:45.23,3. “We started well. Maybe over paced it a bit in the beginning so we struggled in the end,” said Schurter. “But the gap is not that massive and we’re not unhappy with the result.” The Cannondale Factory Racing pairing of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini finished strong – to the delight of cheering fans – using all of their expertise to scythe through the technical sections and single track, restoring a semblance of pride for the cross-country in the process. “We’re very happy with the start,” said Fumic. “We would have liked to be in yellow but we don’t mind chasing!”

Three-time winner Annika Langvad and her novice partner Kate Courtney combined perfectly to win the Prologue of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic at the University of Cape Town and will take a confidence-boosting 72- second lead into Monday’s Stage 1. The vastly experienced Langvad and her young 22-year-old American partner combined perfectly despite Sunday’s Prologue being the first time they have raced together as a team.

The Investec Songo Specialized pair’s time of 53 minutes 18,5 seconds for the 20km course on the slopes of Table Mountain was 1:12,6 ahead of Langvad’s partner when she won in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Switzerland’s Ariane Lüthi, who has teamed up with Belgium’s Githa Michiels (Spur). They were followed home by two South African / European combinations, with Robyn de Groot and German veteran Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health/ WIAWIS Bikes) third, 2:14,2 behind the leaders and in turn just one second ahead of Mariske Strauss and her English partner Annie Last (Silverback – KMC).

The first all-South African combination was Candice Lill and Amy Beth McDougall (dormakaba) who are fifth, 3.20,8 behind Langvad and Courtney. Langvad, who added a fourth Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship title to her name in 2017, was very happy with the new combination after a near-perfect day on the bike.


1. Investec Songo Specialized 54-1 Annika Langvad (DEN) 54-2 Kate Courtney (USA) 0:53.18,5
2. Spur 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (SUI) 53-2 Githa Michiels (BEL) 0:54.31,1 +1.12,6
3. Ascendis Health 52-1 Sabine Spitz (GER) 52-2 Robyn De Groot (RSA) 0:55.32,7 +2.14,2

1. Centurion Vaude 3-1 Nicola Rohrbach (SUI) 3-2 Daniel Geismayr (AUT) 0:45.23,3
2. Cannondale Factory Racing 6-1 Manuel Fumic (GER) 6-2 Henrique Avancini (BRA) 0:45.41,3
3. BUFF SCOTT MTB 21-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (ESP) 21-2 Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 0:46.12,9