Absa Cape Epic, Stage One - Video

Mar 20, 2017 at 20:00
Mar 20, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Cross-country specialists Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing XC) continued their blazing assault on the 2017 Absa Cape Epic with another stage win.

The pair has now scored a hat-trick of stage wins if you include their victory in the final stage of the 2016 Cape Epic.

On the 101km route that started and finished at Hermanus High School, Fumic and Avancini raced home in a time of 4:25.35, which means they retain the overall lead and the yellow jersey. They admitted, though, that an unfortunate tumble by Jaroslav Kulhavy around 5km to go allowed them to cross the line first.

Second over the line was Christoph Sauser and an incredibly dusty Kulhavy (Investec-Songo-Specialized), while third on the day went to Jochen Kaess and Markus Kauffmann (Centurion Vaude 1).

Defending champions Karl Platt and Urs Huber were seventh on the day, five-and-half minutes off the stage pace and almost 10 minutes off first place in the overall standings. After regaining his composure and cooling down, Platt offered—still with his trademark grin and a one-word assessment of the day’s riding: “tough”.

Day One

Fumic, though, was beaming from ear to ear. Along with Avancini, he rode with intent all day. “That was very good, very very good. We had a great run. Our plan was to get to the front and stay there. That way we could control the pace,” he said. “The plan worked very well for us today. Nino (Schurter) was pushing, Susi (Sauser) was pushing, but we were able to push harder. We were lucky with Jaro (Kulhavy) crashing, but that happens. It was hot out there, very hot, but we came out on top and are very pleased.”

Also happy with their day’s riding were the composed Investec-Songo-Specialized pair. Although they pushed hard all day and would have wanted the stage win, they were not overly upset by second place and are clearly comfortable in their ability and strategy for the week ahead.

“It went very well for us today,” said a relaxed Sauser. “Jaro had a crash just towards the end and at first we were worried that his rim was broken, but it was only a broken valve in the end.

We didn’t have a strategy; our plan was simply to get to the front and stay there. Our biggest decision was whether or not we needed to stop at the final water point. But by the time we got there, it wasn’t a tough call at all; we had to stop and take in some liquids. I was actually surprised that the other guys went straight through because at that stage it was very hot.”

Sauser added that the performance of Fumic and Avancini came as no surprise. “The leaders' jersey gives you wings. They are dong very well, which makes for great racing.”

Kulhavy, a man of few words, noted that the day had gone according to plan - even with a late crash. “The crash was unfortunate, but nothing serious. I'm very happy with our ride today, I feel it was a good performance. We are both enjoying the racing.”

For the men in third, the podium finish came as a welcome surprise, especially after a hard day of racing. “It was rocky and sandy all day; a very hard ride,” said Markus Kaufmann of Centurion Vaude 1. “It was full gas from the start. There was just no let up. We were in the chasing pack for most of the day, so we are very happy with the podium finish. We chased all day and in the final few kilometres we just kept passing people. To me, Nino (Schurter) and Matthias (Stirnemann) looked very tired at the end and we came past for third.”

2016 Olympic gold medal winner Schurter said that he and Stirnemann (SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing), who were in the lead bunch for most of the day, pushed as hard as they could for third but couldn’t hold on. “The final kilometres were very tough. It was hard pedalling to the finish.”

Stage 2 of the Absa Cape Epic starts at Hermanus High School and finishes at Elandskloof in Greyton. The stage is a 102km long has 2350m of climbing.
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  • + 31
 Thanks Pinkbike for covering some Endurance and XC style races. I really don't think Nino has a chance, not really due to his fitness but his team mates. Sturneman is an amazing XC racer but these races are 100km a day so it is perfect for a rider like Kulhavy who is just a diesel out there. I believe if Nino had a team mate comparable to his fitness and ability then he could be a contender.
  • + 3
 You could definitely see on the live feed last night that nino was still strong, they got dropped due to his team mate
  • + 2
 @rrsport: can you give me the link please? i wanna see it live.
  • + 0
 You must come and live herein RSA then because that's all that happens here and that is supported here is Stage racing it's so overdone ,Sorry I was falling asleep from boredom with all the coverage of Stage racing but as they say different strokes for different folks.
  • + 1
 @Danpyo: replays are on the bottom livestream.com/capeepic
  • + 7
 Thanks Pinkbike for covering the race! I would love to see some of your own coverage and thoughts on the race rather than just the stuff coming straight from the race site, but happy nonetheless! Those Cannondale Scalpel SI bikes are really killer especially under such talented and aggressive riders such as Manny Fumic! Im pumped to see how this all plays out!
  • + 4
 Thank you PB for covering but don't Forget the women / mixed?

Peking Olympia-Winner Sabine Spitz finished with a blody left eye (8 stiches) and lost the lead to Esther Süss und Jennie Stenerhag.

Jenny Rissveds and Thomas Frischknecht won but Jenny paid it with a circulatory collapse.
  • + 0
 Damn. Yeahh Sabines crashed looked nasty. Straight OTB onto the rocks then into the ditch. Painful and demoralizing I can only imagine what that like after such a long grueling day on the bike.
  • + 8
 Nice article! XC events deserve more coverage! Thanks Pinkbike!
  • + 5
 holy shit! Those spills are no joke!
  • + 4
 Bucket list!
  • + 2
 Another gold to add to Nino's collection if he ends up winning the overall, here's to hoping he does!
  • + 3
 He wont, his team mate really lets him down. You could see it during the live feed last night
  • + 1
 @rrsport: Yea he is constantly looking back for him. Matthias Stirneman is still an amazing rider, but come on - its Nino!

Why does Julian Absalon not participate in this when so many of the other big name World Cup riders do? Nino, Manuel Fumic, Kulhavy....
  • + 3
 Cheering for Kulhavy here ...
  • + 0
 Not a mention of the ladies race or standings PB? If Sabine would have not crashed, the video probably would not have shown any of their race, maybe just a finish shot.
  • + 2
 That was a gnarly face plant!
  • + 2
 That's some impressive footage!
  • + 3
 Thanks PB for this
  • + 3
 Thanks for this PB!
  • + 2
 Awesome coverage!

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