The Absa Cape Epic is undoubtedly the most challenging multi-day stage MTB race in the world. With the world’s strongest professional MTB marathon racers taking part, contesting this event not only for their teams, sponsors and national pride, but also to put their MTBs and equipment to the ultimate test.
Two professional teams will be competing on Momsen Bikes in this the ninth edition of the event, powering on SL929 Team Issue machines and 2013 prototype carbon 29ers. These conditions, challenging stages and high level of bicycle manufacturer input for their professional teams places this brand with its headquarters in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in a most favourable position to develop their machines to excel against their European and North American competitors.
Team FedGroup – ITEC Connect’s Brandon Stewart and Jacques Rossouw are competing for the African Leaders Jersey, to be the first African-based team to cross the finish line on Sunday 1 April at Lourensford Wine Estate in the Western Cape. Stewart and Rossouw, who are concentrating on winning the prestigious MTN National MTB Series on their 2013 prototype 29er carbon-framed racers, did their sponsors and themselves proud to finish the 27km Prologue Stage run in and around the Meerendal Wine Estate on Sunday 25 March (with the course providing 900m of climbing) in a time of 01hr 20min 54.7sec to secure 16th place overall.
Team owner Brandon Stewart commented on Team FedGroup – ITEC Connect’s Prologue performance:
“We are happy with our riding today. It was a tough course out there, as all the teams used it as a time trial. A few little niggles slowed our speed, but we are very pleased to be in the top twenty going into Stage One tomorrow. Overcoming my coxsaccie virus forced me to stay off my bike the last four weeks, but today I felt fresh and fast. Jacques is very motivated and is itching for racing tomorrow to begin already.”
Professional XTERRA athlete Nico Pfitzenmaier and Robert Sim have created a formidable pairing under the banner of Team Robert Daniel Momsen. Ahead of the event’s start, organisers had already pinpointed Pfitzenmaier/Sim as a team to watch for overall honours in the highly competitive Telkom Business Masters’ category. Competing with SL929 Team Issue weapons, this team stormed to a remarkable first place in their category in the Prologue with a time of 01hr 23min 00.9sec. Their nearest rivals finished the 27km course some four minutes adrift!
Robert Sim commented:
“Our European rivals battled in the heat today; it was 32˚ C in the mountains today. The stage was technical and tough, but that is how we like it. We opened up a buffer over our rivals for tomorrow’s stage, but with the heat expected to continue tomorrow we will push hard on that stage.”
Nico Pfitzenmaier added:
“We took to the stage with a conservative approach, not riding at our full potential. We have a good advantage for tomorrow’s stage by starting first in the Telkom Business Masters’ Category, and we’ll ride hard to extend our lead tomorrow and Tuesday. Our Momsen Bikes were perfect for the riding today, and we are preparing them for the long 115km stage tomorrow to make them even more bullet-proof.”
The Absa Cape Epic gets under way in earnest today with a 115km-long trial in the mountains outside of Robertson. The 2350m of climbing will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the various teams. Watch those Momsen Bikes whip it up the dirt tracks!
Don’t forget that you can catch all the action from the Absa Cape Epic daily on SuperSport’s SS2 at 10pm!
Source: Momsen Bikes