Big day for De Groot and Spitz

“We did what we had to do,” was Robyn de Groot’s understated description of Team Ascendis Health’s victory in the opening stage of the Absa Cape Epic on Sunday.

Spitz de Groot Prologue Cape Epic 2017.jpg
Sabine Spitz and Robyn de Groot during the Prologue of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, South Africa on the 19th March 2017. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

 

South African De Groot and her German partner Sabine Spitz landed the first blows in the fight for the Hansgrohe Women’s category when they beat Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag (Meerendal CBC) by 39 seconds over the 26km prologue course at Meerendal Wine Estate.

 

Cape Town local Mariske Strauss and Briton Annie Last (Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro) claimed third, another 70 seconds back, with the Spur duo of defending champion Ariane Luthi and Adelheid Morath (Spur) struggling to a disappointing fourth, over two minutes behind the leaders.

 

Luthi, was visibly shattered after crossing the line and virtually conceded defeat after the opening stage.

 

“We were just not strong enough today,” said the three-time Women’s category winner. “We did what we could but it was not enough.”

 

When asked if she thought the longer stages from Monday may suit them more, she shook her head and repeated: “We are not strong enough.”

 

Jeannie Stenerhag Prologue Cape Epic 2017.jpg
Jennie Stenerhag and Ester Suss of Meerendal CBC during the Prologue of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, South Africa on the 19th March 2017. Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

 

In contrast a very relaxed and upbeat De Groot could not keep the smile off her face.

 

“We really enjoyed the route out there today. It was so nice doing what we love doing today. The plan was to take is at is comes and it went perfectly so we had a very good prologue today.

 

“For me it is such a privilege to be to be able to learn from Sabine for this week – and who can there be better to learn from?” said the multiple South African champion.

 

Women Podium Cape Epic Prologue 2017.jpg
(Left to Right) 2nd Place Jennie Stenerhag & Esther Suss of Meerendal CBC, 1st Place Sabine Spitz & Robyn de Groot of Ascends Health and 3rd Place Mariske Strauss & Annie Last of Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro during the Prologue of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, South Africa on the 19th March 2017. Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

 

In the Virgin Active Mixed race, Olympic Women’s gold medallist Jenny Rissveds and mountain biking legend Thomas Frischknecht (Scott-Sram Nextlevel) claimed the early lead and take a one minute 44 second lead into the second stage in Hermanus on Monday. Grant Usher and former World Single Speed World Champion Amy Beth Mcdougall (Joberg2c-Valencia) are second with the New Zealand paring of Willy Williams and Kate Fluker (New World St Martins) third just six seconds further back.

 

Monday’s Stage 1 is very different from the fast and furious 26km prologue. The riders will tackle a gruelling 101km stage that starts and finishes in Hermanus.

 

Absa Cape Epic Prologue Highlights







10 Comments

Comments

Gen, Mar 19 2017 05:39

I was very excited when I saw they would ride together.. fantastic that they are off to a good start.

Vetseun, Mar 19 2017 06:21

They were brilliant. Just flippen brilliant.
On another note. The team dynamic in the Spur Ladies team didnt look good. Something not lekker there.
IMO

koukie, Mar 19 2017 06:51

They were brilliant. Just flippen brilliant.
On another note. The team dynamic in the Spur Ladies team didnt look good. Something not lekker there.
IMO

I dont know what Adelheid was thinking opening such a big gap on Ariane. At one stage `i think the gap was at least a 100m. I'm sure they could have ride much faster had she not done that and worked together.

gg930, Mar 20 2017 08:50

I dont know what Adelheid was thinking opening such a big gap on Ariane. At one stage `i think the gap was at least a 100m. I'm sure they could have ride much faster had she not done that and worked together.

Robyn and Sabine were so strong yesterday, definitely the team to watch this year. Shame I really felt for Ariane, nothing gets to you more then when your partner is pacing it out infront!

@grootlem, Mar 20 2017 09:09

my ladies team of Stenerhag/Suss moving up :)

'Dale, Mar 20 2017 09:12

I dont know what Adelheid was thinking opening such a big gap on Ariane. At one stage `i think the gap was at least a 100m. I'm sure they could have ride much faster had she not done that and worked together.


Not good
Poor or no communication
That split wastes a lot of energy for the team

It evident at the end that there was unhappiness in this team

nonky, Mar 20 2017 09:51

They were brilliant. Just flippen brilliant.
On another note. The team dynamic in the Spur Ladies team didnt look good. Something not lekker there.
IMO

 

Ariane does NOT sound happy.  

 

Her soundbites / comments are very negative.

Odinson, Mar 20 2017 10:03

I'd be super chuffed if De Groot/Spitz can pull off the GC win.

BrandonF_, Mar 20 2017 10:15

Ariane moet minder moan en meer perform. Go de Groot en Spitz!

BenReaper, Mar 20 2017 10:23

When I first heard that Anika Langvad was not going to ride with Ariane in the Cape Epic this year I had a feeling that Team Spur would not do as good as they might have hoped to.
It had seemed to me in previous years that Anika was a pilar of sorts for Ariane and helped carried her through the Epic.
Ariane is going to struggle to find someone as strong AND patient as Anika to help her in this tough racing format.