2019 Absa Cape Epic
Looking back at the eventful Absa Cape Epic, our team left Cape Town with a lot of emotions. This race is brutal on the body, your mind and soul. A real Untamed experience!
" With a race like this, there is a massive amount of preparation on and off the bike. We do our best to control what we can and work on the best solutions on what we cannot manage.
I was very confident in our goals and ambitions for this years race and our team showed that the work they put in was also on point. Unfortunately we cannot control everything and when you fall down the first step is planning how to not only pick yourself up but staying up, finishing strong and confident. This we did as a team and I am so proud in the way we executed the final stretch of the race. I leave this race feeling even more confident for next year!" ~ Ruan Lochner - Team Manager.
With the first important race of the year behind us its time to reflect on our performance.
"We all know it was a rollercoaster week and that at the end of the day we failed at achieving our goals.
Making the best out of a bad situation is all we could do, and in that sense, we did a good job.
I'm taking two things away from this year's Cape Epic. My mental capability has been proved on stage 5. I did not feel great, but giving up was not an option and although stats wise it's not my best day ever, the mental battle I won that day is something that I am immensely proud of.
A big race like the Epic is won by working through the bad days. It is easy to race hard and do well when things go according to plan but on the days that you don’t feel well or things go wrong, the damages should be limited because teams lose more time on those days than they gain on the good days.
Secondly, it's great to mix it up with the worlds best, and thankfully we did have a couple of chances to do that.
I feel that every chance I had I could ride with the front guys, so the mental boost I got from that is significant, and something that will help me in the future.
Thanks to everyone who was part of that week, all the support makes a worlds difference and I feel that we have THE best support around us, thanks, guys!
I'm looking forward to the rest of this year and will keep you guys posted." ~ Matthys Beukes, Rider 7-2.
What started as a disappointing Epic turned out to be quite the show.
"A week before the start I woke up one morning to a nightmare of early flu or cold symptoms. This complication came after doing my best to isolate myself for the past three weeks and hitting PB’s in training.
I was supposed to fly to Cape Town on Monday but decided it would be best to recover in time at home hopefully. Being sick forced me off for five days, and I joined the team on Friday.
With the prologue stage, I felt solid, but my biggest worry was the first longer stages.
Stage one went well up until about 70km, and I thought that my body recovered well enough. But with the last 30km, everything started to go wrong. My power in the legs started fading, and even my arms started to become weak. It was a challenge to stay upright on the bike. I also had some severe muscle cramps, so bad that I had to stand still and wait for it to subside.
Stage 2 was even worse; I had no power and was off the bunch right from the start.
With stage 3 I tried to push through everything and saw a slight sign of power up the longest climb of the day, Groenlandberg. This power was short-lived after the hill and the rest of the day was a painful slog to the finish.
With stage 4, the midweek TT, we all had a discussion and decided to take this day easy with the hope of my body recovering, and we would try to go for stage podiums.
Stage 5 was a huge relieve. We did not go with the intense early accelerations and somewhat worked our way steadily through the field during the first 20km. We found ourselves right at the front of the race in a break with Nino and Lars. For the first half of this stage, I was a bit sceptic about how well my legs were going and wondered when they would explode again, but they did not, and we managed to win the stage!
Stage 6 was another easy day for us, but only after I tried to push my legs up the first climb and realised that they were not strong enough to stay at the front. We then backed off. I think with the hype and excitement of winning the previous day, our recovery was not according to the usual routine. Something to learn here for the future is to stick to our recovery routine after each stage.
The final grand finale stage was the one to win. Live TV and a vast crowd meant good publicity. It was a steady start for me on this day, not throwing any of the first punches and sitting in the bunch. It worked out well, and we again found ourselves in the winning break. In the final sprint to the line, I was really confident and maybe too excited to win this stage. In the last corner, I made a mistake to try and cut through the inside of the Kross rider and lost some speed. I could not get past their rider again in the final straight.
I want to thank everyone, our team, sponsors and family for being there, keeping things positive and praying with us for the breakthrough." ~ Philip Buys, Rider 7-1.
"I want to thank everyone who has made it possible for me to participate in my seventh Cape Epic.
The Cape Epic is one of the events that not everyone can do, it’s the event that takes a lot of out of the person. Support is one of the major things a person needs during the part of racing and which is what plays a role on to the performance of the individual by all the support that you guys give us I would like to say thank you for everything.
At the beginning of the race I could not get my legs quickly by that I mean I did not have high power in them but with my partner Pieter we managed to work it out. Together we were getting closer because I know that the Epic need the all-rounder body performance, speed and power altogether in them and as the days went by I could get more out of them, and we got stronger and stronger.
The cape epic needs everything from you. This year my time, speed and power were way better than last year and this year the competition was very very high. What we could pick up, was that our performance was way better than last year. One thing that kept me back was my technical abilities. This year, I lost so much time on the downhills alone, but luckily on the climbs, I could go hard day by day to make up some time. I must be honest and admit that I kept Pieter back on the downhills and I am motivated to improve my control and confidence towards next year.
I want to say coming to the results we were planning for the top 20, but we just missed it. I am so thankful that I could see the difference from my previous results and this puts me on the spot to work harder this year.
One of my personal goals is to finish in the top 5 for a few stages and hope to finish in the top 10 on GC, at the end of the Epic I believe it’s possible in 2012 my best finish was top 100 and this year 22nd." ~ Phillimon Sebona, Rider 29-1.
"Overall, an excellent race for Phillimon and me. The week before the race we went down to Cape town to climatize and practice the prologue route and to get everything ready for the cape epic.
The prologue was the first part of the race. It was an excellent day for Phillimon and me, and from there we travelled to Hermanus for the first and longest stage of the epic. The team truck was all ready for us, and we could relax and prepare for the next stage.
We were looked after very good through the epic by the whole team, and we could race to our full potential. Phillimon and I were doing good in the race, and the best part for me was when we finished the Queen stage and Phillip and Matthys was standing on the top step of the podium.
It was a great team effort from everyone to get everything ready for the race. Andre was looking after every detail on the bike. Ruan planned everything and made sure everything arrived on time. JP looked after our legs us and got our bodies ready and Barry made some kick as food! Milan edited awesome videos and took some sick photographs. Lazarus was washing and cleaning everything for the whole day. Thank you all for making this one remember!" ~ Pieter Du Toit, Rider 29-2.
We are fortunate that none of our riders came to any injury or fell ill during the Epic. We are also blessed to say that we didn't incur any significant technical problems on any of our bicycles. Onwards and Upwards.
2020 Absa Cape Epic, here we come!