With the dust settled after the gruelling 8 days racing the Cape Epic we look back at the roller coaster of emotions and how it all played out. As you can imagine the unfortunate substitution of Philip was a very difficult decision for our team, we have building up and preparing for this race for a very long time, the decision was the correct one and I want to commend the four riders and the whole crew for embracing the changes and making it a very exciting and successful race to follow.
Thank you for your amazing support as sponsors and backing us all the way. Thank you Euro Steel for the insane truck and setup, it was definitely the best rig at the Epic and helped our athletes and crew a LOT!!! We look forward to the rest of the year travelling across SA in the best possible setup, our new home away from home.
Below the feedback from the riders and their experience at the biggest MTB race in the world :)
Matthys Beukes - 1st African Jersey 12th overall
Thank you for all the support during Epic especially with keeping a positive attitude when we receive the bad news that Philip would’t be able to race, it really means a lot to us! And also a massive thank you to Ruan and our support staff… Matt, Andre, Lazarus and JP, without you guys we would have a really tough time!
You all know the result and how it happened so Im just going to share my thoughts on it. For me its a bit of a bitter sweet result because I didn’t achieve what I trained for and would have to wait another year for that opportunity to come by. On the other hand and luckily this is the overwhelming feeling for me that I take away from Epic is that I am super proud. Im proud of the way the whole team, everyone included, handled the situation and turned it around with full commitment and never stopped giving it their absolute 100%
Im also proud of Julian for stepping up and taking on that opportunity and making the most of it. The same can be said for Pieter who at just 18 years did a great job and really contributed to our teams vibe! Im proud of the fact that it was my 5th Cape Epic and also my 5th African Jersey but it was also my most enjoyable Cape Epic and Im really thankful to the team for that.
I picked up a head cold 2 days into Epic so I need to sort it out first before I can do anymore races but will be ready for Joburg 2 C and really looking forward to it. There are plenty of racing still this year but my mail goals will be SA Champs in July and World Champs in September in Italy so looking forward to work hard for those ones!
Thanks again to all our sponsors and supporters, without you none of this would be possible.
Julian Jessop - 1st African Jersey 12th overall
I would like to do a different race report to the normal. I would like to talk about our team at the Cape Epic.
First of all, thank you to all our sponsors who make the Epic happen – it is the team’s major goal for the year and we all really tried to do our sponsors proud. Even with our plan B we could still get the Red Jersey and be the best African team. A huge thank you to Euro Steel for our insanely awesome truck – it is so rad! It made the epic so much more luxurious than I could ever imagine. It is so awesome!
Ruan – without Ruan none of this would have happened. So a huge thank you to Ruan for joining us all together to create such an incredible team – of riders and staff. Thank you for always waking us up and giving us coffee in bed while Matthys asks the question “I wonder how much I would pay to sleep another 2 hours” Also thank you for making our rice porridge every morning and for organising all the logistics – don’t know how you managed all of that. Thanks Ruan for always being ready to help no matter what the request!
Matt and Andre – almost the polar opposites; Matt – the man with sarcastic comments no matter how deep into the epic we were and Andre – the silent guy who loves a beer and is always up for a fist bump before the stage. They looked after our bikes so well – working on them for many more hours than we had ridden on them each day. And I think it goes to show that with four bikes racing the epic to only have three punctures in total, as our mechanicals, shows the quality of Matt and Andre. Always going the extra mile to get us as much free watts as possible and as fast a bike as possible.
JP – The man with magic hands. Thanks to JP we got new legs every day and a body that felt less tired. I had a slight issue with my hamstring but JP would always help me at anytime to try get it loose and feeling ready. Thanks to JP for also all the great meals throughout the race and also for being the local DJ and bringing such a vibe!
Lazzy – He was a machine. He washed dishes three times a day and also all our bottles. Sometimes when I saw my bottles after a stage I couldn’t believe I ever drank from it - it was that dirty. But with a smile on his face Lazzy smashed all the washing and made our environment clean and hygienic. Huge thanks to Lazzy!
Lazzy and Matt also drove the truck from Pretoria to Cape Town at a max speed of 80km/h so thank you again for doing such an epic journey before the epic even began!
Then thank you to my team mates! Pieter, at 18 years old, was amazing! He never ceased to smile and tell us these hilarious stories. He really created such an awesome atmosphere at the camp! And thank you to Pieter for giving me his wheel on the last stage when I punctured!
Thanks to Phillie for all the guidance and encouragement! You were such a team player and I cant believe you have done 7 epics already!!!
And to Matthys; Thank you for the ride of my life! It was such an honour to race with you and I couldn’t have chosen a better partner in the world! Philip is really lucky to have you! Thanks for all the mentoring, guidance and slipstream! Couldn’t have done it without you!
If you would like to see how Matthys and I went each day – I have posted a daily race report (a few sentences with a photo of the stage) on my Instagram (@julianjessop) and face book (Julian Jessop -athlete page) which you can check out.
Thank you once again!
Phillimon Sebona - 6th African 26th overall
I would like to say thank you to everyone who made this possible for us as a team.
My preparation for the race this year was good, the past year's I never had a coach so it was easier because I could tell him how i feel that made it easier for me.
The situation at the cape epic this year changed and I had a plan to go all out, but now had to stay on my limits and that caused me to stress about the whole team and I had to think wiser about how I will race with Pieter.
Riding with Pieter at the beginning was not easy, I did not plan for that mentally but Pieter convinced me and showed me that he is capable. It turned out so well at the end, I hope that it was a good experience for him as well, I have raced the epic 7 times and always with a new rider, making a change just the day before the start that was not easy for me because I didn’t know what to expect from Pieter. But he rode better than all my previous partners where I won the development category, my best result was 33rd but with Pieter we came 26th. I could feel that my times have changed and my racing level have improved against top level Europeans.
I am thanking the coaching and the experience the team have given me. Pieter is such a nice young man, greeting everyone on the road and he have a good heart, he rode very well in the first stages, I was stressed due to the conditions that we had at the prologue.I was feeling very good and proud to ride in front of this champ in those first long stages so that he must not over cook himself and I was so happy to be riding behind Matthys and Julian and to help them with everything that they needed in order for them to win the overall in the African teams.
My 2018 Absa cape Epic this year was a complete change moving out of the Development category after 5 years and racing in the UCI category, it was a next level for me coming with the young star in such a big race like this knowing that the pace of the race will be controlled by the best riders in the world, guys like Nino, Alben,Jaroslav. They were racing local with us, that was a great experience and good feeling too.
I am very happy this year because I have managed to ride away from my Role model Mr Karl Platt the 3 times winner of the race that have proven to me that my dream is about to happen. And the best is just yet to come.
I would like to thank everyone who was there and made for us the truck that was the best gift for us and we loved it .
Thank you from me phillimon sebona
Pieter Du Toit - 6th African 26th overall
My cape epic !
It was a great opportunity that came up for me. Just 2 days before the race Ruan called me and asked me if I wanted to do epic and I said yes, it was a great decision. But it was un fortunate for Phillip that he could not do the epic.
The prologue was only 20km and I thought it would be a easy stage but that was the day that I suffered the most. Luckily I had Phillimon that was a great partner and he helped me through the day.
Then stage 1 came and I felt like a new person. It was quite long at 111km and me and Julian was in a crash at 18km in the race. Luckily we had no major injuries and kept going but then I broke my rim and punctured my tyre, Phillimon had to ride on the flat tire to the tech zone.
Stage 2 was very dusty but great. The was no mechanicals and we just had fun on our bikes ! Getting ready for the long stage 3 .
Stage 3 was the longest stage of the epic 123km. But it was the easiest stage for me, it was really flat and that is what I am used to.
Stage 4 the queen stage. I know why they rated him as the queen stage, we started with a lot of sand, was like a beach party! And then it was very rough single track or rocky jeep track till 80km we then climbed on the tar and I thought it is smooth going. We then hit bains kloof! But me and Phillimon came over it and finished the stage with a great time.
Stage 5 was a TT and me and Phillemon’s rest day. We started 12 minutes in front of Matthys and Julian for who we rode backup. So we eased up the climbs till 20km where they caught us. And then we sended it down the trails behind them! Was an awesome day !
Stage 6 was the most fun stage with all its single track! It felt super short after all the long stages we had before and most of the single track was manicured a bit different than al the other epic single tracks .
Stage 7 was spectacular and the first 19km was super super tough ! But I managed to stay with Matthys and Julian . And then somewhere in the middle Julian got a puncture and then I could do my backup duty and we swapped wheels ! Then me and Phillimon went slowly to the tech zone changed the wheel and chased to the finish where we finished in a spectacular sprint !⚡️
But thanks to all the mechanics, managers, bike washers, massagers and all the other people who made it passable. It was a dream of mine that came true!