Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing Cruise to Overall Honours

With 70km and 1 800m of vertical gain standing between Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing and overall victory on the Champs-Élysées of mountain biking at Val de Vie Estate, you could’ve forgiven them for playing it safe and cruising to the finish.

Forster Schurter Cape Epic Winners.JPG
Lars Forster and Nino Schurter of Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 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

 

Nino Schurter and Lars Forster went into the final stage from Stellenbosch University to Val de Vie Estate with a comfortable eight-minute lead over second-placed Cannondale Factory Racing. This meant they had to watch only Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini to cap off a successful week and claim overall honours at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic.

 

Scott SRAM MTB Racing Cape Epic 2019 win.JPG
Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing celebrate as Nino Schurter and Lars Forster of Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 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

 

This they did smoothly, giving Schurter his second victory and Forster a golden debut by a margin of 7:36 over Avancini and Fumic. “This was amazing,” Schurter said of the title after the finish. “It’s a really special one to win. It’s really tough to win this race you need to have a lot of good luck and a strong team. We are super stoked about it.”

 

“Yesterday I was suffering and today I was suffering more,” a visibly delighted Forster explained how the final day played out. “Luckily I had a strong horse with me who still had some left in the tank.”

 

Their conservative run to the finish allowed other teams to gun for coveted Grand Finale stage honours. Queen Stage victors Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys of PYGA Euro Steel seized the initiative early, attacking up a climb in Jonkershoek. The only team who could stay with them was KROSS-SPUR, who had been aggressive all week, winning various Dimension Data Hotspots but to date had been unable to convert that form into a stage win. A win they desperately wanted after being put out of GC contention with mechanical issues on Stage 1.

 

While the likes of CST Sandd, Trek Selle San Marco, both 7C CBZ WILIER teams, SpecializedFoundationNAD as well as the Team BULLS outfits of Heroes and Young Guns were left to chase across a route which featured the best of Jonkershoek, Vuurberg, Boschendal and Val de Vie’s trails, KROSS-SPUR Racing and the South Africans worked well together all the way to the finish.

 

Onto Val de Vie Estate and the long final stretch it came down to a bunch sprint, which saw Matthys Beukes cross the line first, but Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez and Ondřej Cink followed closely in second and third, giving them stage honours.

 

Stage 7 sprint Cape Epic 2019.JPG
Philip Buys of PYGA Euro Steel (2nd left) sprints to catch Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez of KROSS-SPUR (2nd right) for first 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

 

“It was so so close,” said Gutierrez at the finish. “It was the shortest stage but still very tough with lots of singletrack and many climbs.”
“A stage victory is super important,” he added outlining how they had to change their strategy of overall GC aspirations after their disastrous Stage 1 mechanical. “We were super focused on a stage win after that; finally, on the last opportunity on the last stage, we managed that, so it is very special.”

 

It also proved a special day for Sebastian Fini and Martins Blums of CST Sandd who finished on the stage podium for the first time in the race. As well as SpecializedFoundationNAD’s Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers, who finished sixth on the day doing enough to stay in fifth overall and win the Absa African Men’s Jersey.

 




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