Absa Cape Epic 2018 - Stage 7 - Grand Finale - Untamed Montage

Absa Cape Epic 2018 - Stage 7 - Grand Finale - Untamed Montage

mtb Video
Published 27 March 2018


With 69km and 2000m of vertical gain standing between riders and a finisher’s medal at Val de Vie Estate, this year’s Grand Finale was arguably the toughest in the Absa Cape Epic 15-year history. With four beastly climbs punctuating the course, even the sharp end of the field would feel every metre. Despite their eight minute cushion over Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini, Investec Songop Specialized would have to mark every attack and pray for a mechanical-free day following a string of bad luck earlier in the race.
Cannondale Factory Racing were first to make a move, together with Centurion Vaude, but these early attacks would prove futile as both teams struggled to respond to the counter attacks launched by Trek Selle San Marco 2, Buff Scott MTB, Canyon Topeak and Investec Songo Specialized. After struggling to stay aboard the Czech Express in the earlier stages of the race, Grotts showed his pedigree – driving the pace on the climbs and controlling the lead.
The Trek Selle San Marco 2 pairing of Fabian Rabensteiner and Michele Casagrande attacked and took the sprint on the Dimension Data Hotspot and opened up a 20 second gap in the process. Further back Cannondale Factory Racing were struggling to maintain a rhythm and risked losing their overall podium to the darkhorse Buff Scott MTB pair, who have been looking better and better as the race has progressed. For Investec Songo Specialized it was a case of minimising any unnecessary risks – particularly on the treacherous Bone Rattler descent. Their strategy paid off and despite gifting the stage to Trek Selle San Marco 2, they’d roll across the finish line at Val de Vie Estate as deserved champions after eight days of consistent riding.
Much has been made of the Kulhavy Express hauling the Investec Songo Specialized men to victory at the Absa Cape Epic, but their corresponding women’s team has also been on rails from day one, with the Annika Express leading them to a massive overall win at Val de Vie Estate. Annika Langvad, now a four-time winner from just four attempts at the gruelling event, and young American novice Kate Courtney were sublime this week as they crushed all opposition with an almost faultless display of stage racing.
Their perfect party was gate-crashed on the final day by the PMRA/CST Racing team of Margot Moschetti and Raiza Goulao, who spoiled the clean-sweep by winning the 67km stage from Wellington to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl on Sunday. The French/Brazilian pair was followed home on the stage by South Africans Candice Lill and Amy Beth McDougall (dormakaba), who also wrapped up the Absa African Women’s special jersey and ended fourth overall. Sabine Spitz and Robyn De Groot (Ascendis Health) claimed third on the stage, just ahead of the race winners, which secured their runner up spot on the overall standing. Annie Last and Mariske Strauss (Silverback-KMC) limped to the finish in fifth position to secure the final step on the overall podium.

Stage Results

1. Trek Selle San Marco 2 15-1 Fabian Rabensteiner (ITA) 15-2 Michele Casagrande (ITA) 2:47.37,5
2. Investec Songo Specialized 2-1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) 2-2 Howard Grotts (USA) 2:48.25,5 +48,0
3. BUFF SCOTT MTB 21-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (ESP) 21-2 Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 2:48.48,1

1. PMRA/CST Racing 59-1 Margot Moschetti (FRA) 59-2 Raiza Goulao (BRA) 3:22.00,8
2. dormakaba 56-1 Candice Lill (RSA) 56-2 Amy Beth Mcdougall (RSA) 3:25.02,5 +3.01,7
3. Ascendis Health 52-1 Sabine Spitz (GER) 52-2 Robyn De Groot (RSA) 3:27.33,9 +5.33,1