Kulhavy Loses 2018 Cape Epic Winning Partner for 2019, Will Race With Sam Gaze Instead

Mar 6, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

One half of last year's Cape Epic winning team, Howard Grotts, has announced his withdrawal from the 2019 race due to illness. His partner, Jaroslav Kulhavy, will now race with 2x Under 23 World Champion and Stellenbosch World Cup winner Sam Gaze instead. The pair raced World Cups together last year as part of the Specialized Racing team but will be racing the Cape Epic under the Investec-Songo-Specialized banner instead.

The Cape Epic is described as the Tour de France of mountain biking and takes place over eight days in South Africa. Competitors race in teams of two and Kulhavy and Grotts won last year's race by more than 9 minutes ahead of the Canyon/Topeak team of Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek. This year's race is 700km long with 15,000m of climbing and takes place March 17-24.

Sam Gaze was the man who finally put an end to Nino Schurter s amazing streak of wins. Today Gaze flatted and hurt his elbow in a crash.

Alan Hatherly, the current Under 23 World Champion who was supposed to be partnering with Gaze, will now be racing with fellow South African and training partner, Matt Beers from Team NAD Pro MTB. The Specialized pairing will be racing in support of Kulhavy and Gaze but will also have their eyes on the coveted African Jersey, awarded to the best-placed African team.

bigquotesIn an unfortunate turn of events, my partner in crime from the last year Cape Epic, Howard Grotts, can't race this year because of illness. So we teamed up with super talented and powerful Kiwi Sam Gaze and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together in this long and hard race!Jaroslav Kulhavy

bigquotesTurns out I’ll be joining Jaroslav Kulhavy under the Investec-Songo-Specialized colours to try defend the title in the upcoming Cape Epic. It’s a dream come true to attempt this alongside a childhood hero, and to represent a brand that improves so many kids lives through the sport we all love.Sam Gaze

The Investec-Songo-Specialized team will also be fielding a strong women's pairing of Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen, who will also be strong contenders for the win. They are set to arrive in Cape Town early next week, after taking on the Italian classic road race Strade Bianche this coming Saturday.
2018 Cape Epic recap




19 Comments

  • 14 3
 One of the more popular figures in XC paired with one of the least. Regardless, it truly is an epic race in an epic place.
  • 14 0
 @Naturel: He said "popular" not capable Smile
  • 1 0
 @mogs: Forgot about those photos. Such an awesome article.
  • 5 0
 Gaze failed to perform after round 1 of the XCO last year. Does he have the mental strength for the Epic I wonder...
  • 4 0
 @headshot: 11th I think overall in WC with 2 gold an 1 silver in XCC. Broken Hook of Hamate put paid to most of season but near end of last year got the nz champs for Crit racing in Nov and 3rd GC for 8 day Tour of Southland in grueling conditions- toughest road tour in NZ. Definately looking to improve with more elite wins this year tho.
  • 2 0
 @Naturel: People from one end of the country are a bit sour that someone from the other end of the country is faster than their local guy
  • 3 0
 @Naturel: VDP just finished the CX season and has some races on the road before the XCO season starts. He's not normal... Smile
  • 10 0
 Get well Grotts - you're on my PB XC Fantasy team, for goodness sake!!
  • 1 0
 Surely sad to be gazing at Gaze trolling the Absa on Youtube. I hope H.Grotts is truly sick and this isn't some sort of power switch. Specialized EFFFed up letting Kate Courtney go this year... something smells fishy.
  • 1 0
 No conspiracy theory... he has just been asked to step up and help out the team. He has his Mum at home fighting Cancer, he is being ripped to shreds by most Saffa forums, and he just wants to get out there and do a good job for everyone. that's about it really. Fun times.
  • 3 1
 "It’s a dream come true to attempt this alongside a childhood hero" - ouch, Kulvahy is only 34!
  • 8 0
 and Sam Gaze is 23 so if Kulvahy was racing at the same age than Gaze would have been 12
  • 1 0
 Show some respect! Kulhavy has had some health issues (couldn't breath well at max efforts) since the last season. Not surprising, if you perform at that level (Gold/Silver at Olympics, XCO/Marathon World champ and WC overall winner, Epic multiple times winner) for so long.
  • 1 0
 @KiwiXC: Sorry, misread your post (34th in standing/ranking, instead of age). You're absolutely right Wink
  • 2 0
 Get well Howie! Hope to see you at the GJ Off-road in May!
  • 3 1
 Epic partnership.
  • 1 0
 Take RANDY!

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