Stage 1 taps into deep reserves
While everyone knows that the first stage is always a challenge, what few realised is how challenging it would be with arguably the best field of mountain bikers competing in the same event, ever.
The nett result was relentless and brutal pace changes, attacks, surges and accelerations which were played out by each team trying to assert their dominance. Few would have guessed that it would be Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini to retain their Leaders Jersey after this stage, but that they did and in style.
Given that they won the final stage of the Epic in 2016, they are now sitting on “three” consecutive stage wins, and given their current form, looks possible to be “4 in a row”.
Photo: Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factor Racing XC) retain the prestigious Leaders Jersey in the 2017 Absa Cape Epic after winning Stage 1 in style.
Team Pyga Euro Steel
Staying consistent (the key to a successful Epic) in their result, Philip & Matthys finished 11th overall but overcame the time deficit to claim the African Leaders jersey and held off a sprint finish from Hendrik Kruger and Waylon Woolcock.
It seems like this will be the signature feature of the 2017 Epic – hot, dry & dusty. The very fine powder like dust effects the athlete’s breathing as the particles settle on the moist membranes of the lungs and create the dreaded Epic Cough – a dry cough which restricts your breathing.
Consuming quality nutrition, such as Cadence, is a key to serving hot stages.
To think that the riders – and Leaders – of the Epic aren’t tough would be a severe underestimation of their ability to preserve. Under the toughest conditions, and against the fiercest competition, the human spirit triumphs – time and time again.
A climb to start
Stage 1 would always be competitive as the leading protagonists look to estabslih some sense of ascendancy in the field. The first climb out of Hermanus saw the pace being pace early into what would be a long and hot day, covering 101km with 2330m of vertical ascent.
Source: 369Communications on behalf of African Mtb Team