High Fives for Annika and Anna

Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) collected their seventh stage win at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic to give Langvad her fifth victory in the gruelling eight-day race.

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Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen of Investec-Songo-Specialized celebrate winning the 2019 Absa Cape Epic during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic

 

On Sunday at Val de Vie Estate the five-time World Marathon Champion Langvad, and World Road Race and Olympic Champion Van der Breggen, broke away from Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) within the last kilometre of the Grand Finale Stage to complete a one-sided victory.

 

The Investec-songo-Specialized pair established their superiority on the opening Prologue on the slopes of Table Mountain National Park a week ago and never looked like being headed throughout the eight stages around the Western Cape. Even when Lill and Morath pounced on the chance of a stage win on Friday, when Van der Breggen was having a rare off day, it always looked like nothing more than a temporary setback for the dominant race winners.

 

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Investec-Songo-Specialized team celebrate as Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen of Investec-Songo-Specialized win the 2019 Absa Cape Epic during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic

 

In the 70km final stage from Stellenbosch University to Val De Vie Estate, Lill and Morath ended just 17 seconds behind but were over 30 minutes behind on GC. Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) finished third on both the stage and overall standings.

 

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Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

 

Langvad was surprisingly calm about collecting her fifth win and matching the record of Absa Cape Epic greats Karl Platt and Christoph Sauser; her focus was rather on Van der Breggen and her first victory.

 

“The Absa Cape Epic is always so intense, the ups and downs … it has been so emotional this year. It has been such a good week and I have really enjoyed riding with Anna and forming a new partnership. It has been a blast.

 

“Every single time the Absa Cape Epic races are different. Bringing a roadie into the Absa Cape Epic and transforming her into a mountain biker has been so awesome. Watching her improving day by day has been such a great experience.”

 

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Anna van der Breggen and Annika Langvad during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

 

Van der Breggen looked relieved to have completed what she believes to be her biggest ever week on a bike.

 

“It was a really tough week. It was such a new experience and so nice to do something totally new and see the boundaries where you can push your body.

 

“Sometimes I did not like the suffering, but it was such a nice thing to do. I do not think my body has ever been this tired and I do not think I have ever spent so many hours on the bike in one week. It was hard at the beginning, but now I know how it feels to achieve what we did.”

 

And what will it take to beat Langvad, who has now won all five times she has started the Absa Cape Epic?

 

“I don’t know,” she said with a smile – and it seems her opponents don’t know either.

 

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Maja Wloszczowska and Ariane Lüthi of Kross-Spur Racing celebrate finishing in third place during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic

 

In the race for the Absa African Women’s Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk comfortably completed the stage in sixth position, the same place they ended all week, winning the Jersey for 2019.

 

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Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

 




2 Comments

Chrisjanopsyfiets, Mar 24 2019 04:34

Time gaps between first seven places are huge for a race of this stature??🤔🤔

tamas, Mar 25 2019 08:28

Time gaps between first seven places are huge for a race of this stature??

Hard to say... the women's field was less dense than men's and if you consider that it was eight days of racing, 630 kilometres and 16 650 meters of climbing it's not that huge I think.