Just ask last year’s winner, Emil Stark, the winner of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic Fantasy League. As a relative newcomer to cycling, Stark crunched the numbers, pored over the stats, threw the bones and decided to place all his chances on Nino Schurter – one of the greatest mountain bikers of his generation. There was, Stark admitted, a little bit of chance in his decision.
“I was elated when I found out that I had won the Absa Cape Epic Fantasy League on the Bike Hub, which comprised an entry in to ride it in 2017,” said Stark. “I must add that I think that luck played a big role in winning and if I get a chance I would thank Nino Schurter personally. I picked his team for the win, where a lot of people thought that Nino was using the race for training and not the win.”
He was not the only one. Schurter himself said that he thought their victory came a year sooner than expected. He and teammate Matthias Stirnemann had planned on using the 2017 edition as a step towards the overall win at the Absa Cape Epic this year. Their form proved to be better than they thought, and they took a popular victory. Stark’s training for the 15th Absa Cape Epic has lifted his form to a good place, although he is still a little nervous ahead of the Prologue on Sunday, 18 March.
“The training for this year’s Absa Cape Epic is the most training I have ever done,” said Stark. “I started around August last year and ramped it up to 10 – 12 hours a week from December. Will it be enough? Only time will tell. It is hard to set a specific goal for the Untamed African MTB Race as I haven’t done an event any longer than three days. The main aim is to finish every stage as comfortably as possible in order to recover and do it all over again the next day. If we can get somewhere in the top half of the Dimension Data Masters category, then we will be elated.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody: USN, Bike Hub and the Absa Cape Epic for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to take part in this wonderful event,” said Stark.
Entering the Fantasy League is easier than entering the Absa Cape Epic. Simply go to bikehub.co.za, enter on epicfantasyleague.co.za using your Bike Hub account. If you're already a Bike Hub member simply login with your credentials here. If you're not a member create a new account here.
Once you have signed up, then make your picks. Choose which team you think will win each stage and also which will be the overall winning team for each jersey category. Choices must be made by 06:00, South African time on the day of each stage, while the overall picks must be made by Sunday, 18 March. Points are earned based on picks, with the highest points scorer on each stage winning the daily prize. The overall leader after the Grand Finale will take the Grand Prize, a complimentary entry into the 2019 Absa Cape Epic courtesy of Columbia, the Official Outdoor Lifestyle Apparel partner of the race.
Among the prizes are Absa Cape Epic-branded goodies such as a generation-three SPOT tracking unit and an Amped power bank, as well as Columbia online vouchers valued at R2000 each; a USN hamper, Oakley Sliver shades and a SUUNTO watch.