For the fifth time in a row, the legendary Absa Cape Epic started today with a prologue. The venue for the 23-kilometer opening round of the week-long MTB stage ride through South Africa was the Meerendal Wine Estate in the Durbanville Wine Valley.
A total of 1.200 drivers from 50 nations started. In the end, José Hermida and Rudy van Houts from the Multivan-Merida team proved to have the best legs. Both will start tomorrow's first stage in yellow. Ariane Kleinhans and Annike Langvad (RECM 2) won the women's race.
Hermida and Van Houts needed 59.08 minutes and were therefore more than ten seconds faster than Lukas Flückiger and Martin Fanger (BMC), who relegated Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon Racing) to third place with a time of 59.20 minutes. Their clock stopped at 1:00.28:XNUMX.
Fourth place went to Markus Kauffmann and Jochen Käß (Centurion-Vaude), who prevailed against reigning XC World Champion Nino Schurter and his partner Philip Buys (SCOTT-Odlo).
Four-time Cape Epic winner Karl Platt (Bulls) finished sixth together with his partner Urs Huber. The current ninth place is also well known. This is claimed by Christoph Sauser, also a four-time winner in South Africa, and his partner František Raboň. Both could have placed better, but a chain problem and a fall cost them valuable time.
Among the women, the favorites prevailed with Langvad and Kleinhans. Both drove a confident prologue and with a time of 1:10.07 hours relegated Sally Bigham and Esther Süss (Meerendal) to second place on the day, more than two minutes behind. Third place went to Jennie Stenerhag and Theresa Ralph (Cape Brewing Company).
1. José Hermida / Rudi van Houts (Multivan-Merida) 59:08
2. Lukas Flückiger / Martin Fanger (BMC) 59:20
3. Robert Mennen / Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon Racing) 1:00:28
4. Markus Kauffmann / Jochen Käß (Centurion-Vaude) 1:00:37
5. Nino Schurter / Philip Buys (SCOTT-Odlo) 1:01:02
1. Ariane Kleinhans / Annika Langvad (RECM 2) 1:10:07
2. Sally Bigham / Esther Suss (Meerendal) 1:12:16
3. Jennie Stenerhag / Theresa Ralph (Cape Brewing Company) 1:15:43
4. Milena Landtwing / Hielke Elferink (Meerendal Wheeler) 1:16:12