Oak Valley, Elgin – Joel Stransky was forced to drop out of this year’s Absa Cape Epic after sustaining several injuries on the event’s Prologue event at Meerendal. Today he visited the Cape Epic as a spectator for the first time since his tumble.
The 49-year-old crashed his bike last Sunday, resulting in a punctured lung, two broken ribs and a damaged right hand.
Of his injuries, Stransky is positive he will make a full recovery, “I had some bad lacerations that required plastic surgery. Doctors also put a drain into my ribcage to relieve the pressure and help the lung respond.”
Stransky says the damage to his face was serious and admits he is lucky to keep his right eye.
Managing a laugh, he said, “I did ask for a facelift while I was under anaesthetic, but the doctor said not even that could help me!”
The Prologue is a 26km-long time trial course to introduce riders to the thrill of the untamed Absa Cape Epic and to help seeding for Stage 1. Unfortunately, Stransky couldn’t complete the day or the event after crashing out.
“I think I went into the technical section a little too quickly. I got airborne over one of the humps there and the back wheel overtook the front wheel. It spat me over the handlebars and I did a face plough.”
The 1995 Rugby World Cup winner is glad to be back at the Absa Cape Epic, but is naturally disappointed not to be involved as a participant as planned.
“When you’re not part of an event like this you realise how special it is to be a part of it. Even though I am wobbling around here feeling a little down on myself, it’s a great privilege to be here and it’s still a special environment.
“I’m disappointed that I let my partner Jeremy Thomson down, as well as the Land Rover team, but these things can happen. Once you embark on this journey, there is no point where you want it to end because you want to cross the finish line, wave the banner and get the T-shirt,” says Stransky
Stransky says he will keep his support up for his now solo teammate Thompson.
“Obviously I will be supporting him. He is my ride partner and has been keeping Gary Kirsten company as part of the Land Rover team. Gary’s partner has also had to pull out.”
As for his return and future Absa Cape Epics, Stransky says, “I have endured some pain and I’ll need a couple of weeks of recovery but I’ll be back on the bike in a few weeks, so it can’t be the end of the world.”
Will he be back at the Absa Cape Epic in 2018? “Absolutely.”
*The 2017 Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race is taking place until Sunday 26 March. Watch the action live on our website www.cape-epic.com