Skip Navigation

Swiss Pair Consolidate Overnight Lead

Press Release / 18.03.2019
Nino Schurter and Lars Forster
Nino Schurter and Lars Forster / © Absa Cape Epic

The all-Swiss pairing of Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing won the 111km Stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic in emphatic fashion on Monday 18 March. Nino Schurter and Lars Forster finished in a time of 04:24:04 to extend their overnight lead to 3.33 over Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini of Cannondale Factory Racing, who finished second. The Team BULLS Legends outfit of Alban Lakata and five-time champion Karl Platt, rounded out the podium.

“I’m very happy with the win,” Schurter commented shortly after the finish on another cloudy and cool day which made for fast racing. “It was a good day out. I hurt a bit toward the end, but now we have time to recover for tomorrow,” he said.

Jaroslav Kulhavy and Sam Gaze of Investec-songo-Specialized crossed the line at Hermanus High School in the chasing bunch not too far behind, to limit their losses and climb up to third place on the GC.

However, if the big story is that three all cross-country teams are firmly placed on the top of a gruelling stage race GC, then there were many sub plots at play on a day not without its dramas.

The first – and perhaps most interesting – is the fierce battle which developed throughout the stage between the front two teams: A group of around 20 riders, featuring all the top contenders stayed together until the Dimension Data Hot Spot at 37km in. From there, the bunch began to split apart after Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing (who took the hot spot) pushed the pace.

Cannondale Factory Racing were able to stay in the mix as were Investec-songo-Specialized, one of the Trek Selle San Marco outfits, Canyon and the two senior BULLS teams. It stayed like this until Henrique Avancini went up the road to drop his much-storied hydration vest at water point three. This acted as something of a catalyst and the real fireworks started.

At around 74kms Sam Gaze washed out his wheel in a sandy section and went down hard. He was able to recover the rejoin the chase, but by then though Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing and Cannondale Factory Racing had already opened a gap on the chasing teams.

It wasn’t long after this that Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing went out alone. “The guys didn’t really want to work so we attacked them,” Schurter explained. “That’s how it works.”

“Everyone in the bunch was a bit nervous and it was hectic in the beginning, but then the racing really started after that water point,” Fumic added afterward. 

“Scott was playing a few games and we didn’t really want to get involved in that,” he said. “So we just kept riding consistent and it’s all good. It’s a long week and you need to be strong at the end.”

His partner, Avancini, was rather more vocal after the finish. “They (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) were very strong today,” he commented. “Lars (Forster) is a world class rider – as I said yesterday – and Nino (Schurter) is perhaps the best ever.”

“But, it would be nice to have some microphones on the bikes so that people could hear the real Nino,” he chirped. “He’s always having a go at everyone. It’s fine, I will show him little by little. In this type of race I am really confident. I trust my legs, my body, my partner and my team. It’s a long week and I hope we’re going to have a nice fight in the next few days.”

Aside from Gaze’s crash and how much the chase work Investec-songo-Specialized had to do might cost them later in week, the other big talking point of the day was the renaissance ride of Team BULLS Legends Karl Platt and Alban Lakata, who finished third on the day.

“The last two years went really badly and that was difficult for motivation” and overjoyed Platt mused after the finish. “To finish on the podium is just such a joy and big relief for myself.”

 

“It went really well,” agreed Lakata. “We didn’t expect it to go like that and if it can go like this all week then it will be really good. But we also have to take care of ourselves,” he added. “It’s a long week and today took quite a lot out of us.”

The SpecializedFoundationNAD outfit of Matt Beers and Alan Hatherly had mechanical issues early on and spent the day battling back, but did manage to retain the Absa African Jersey.

Tuesday’s Stage 2 promises to take even more out of the riders with some 2250m of climbing over the 90km from Hermanus to Oak Valley. 

[If you enjoyed this story and would like SleepMonsters to continue reporting on Adventure Racing then we need your help. Please support our Patreon campaign or make a donation via PayPal.]

More About ABSA Cape Epic

Schurter and Langvad Guide Their Newbies Home


High Fives for Annika and Anna


Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing Cruise to Overall Honours


Langvad and Van der Breggen back on top at Absa Cape Epic


Loitering within Tents


Locals Woo the Queen


SA rider is Queen of Queen Stage


Even a Crash Cannot Stop Investec-songo-Specialized


Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing Storm Back Through the Time Trial


Drama on Stage 3 Sees Yellow Jerseys Change Hands


Anna and Annika Keep Their Perfect Record Intact


Hat trick for Schurter and Forster


Langvad / Van der Breggen Increase Their Absa Cape Epic Lead


Langvad and Van der Breggen Quickly Take Control


Cross Country Specialists Make Intentions Clear At Prologue


Untold Stories of the Absa Cape Epic


Last Lions Roar On in 2019


Battle Lines Drawn for 2019 Absa Cape Epic


Iron Cowboy Prepares To Tackle The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race


Mixed Aspirations for Triple World Champ, Óscar Freire


War Veterans to Battle Preconceptions By Taking On The Absa Cape Epic


Icon of South African Cycling to Ride his First Absa Cape Epic


Effervescent Hermida and Rodriguez Return to Master the Absa Cape Epic


Espargaró Swaps Leathers for Lycra at the Absa Cape Epic


ABSA Cape Epic

Support Adventure Racing

SleepMonsters Patreon

Facebook

like us on facebook

Adventure Racing Tags

Eco-Challenge Fiji Islands, Rogue Raid, Wenger Czech Adventure Race 2020, The 25th Corsica Raid, Swiss Epic, PARS Turbo 2020, Lapland Wilderness Challenge, ÖTILLÖ World Series Engadin, The Lockdown, Sea to Sea Expedition Race, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Adventure Racing, Expedition Racing, Adventure Racing World Series, Eco Challenge, Adventure Racing European Series

Our Patrons

Adventure Race Croatia

Adventure Race Georgia

Danish AR Union

Open Adventure

Rootstock Racing

TanzNavigation

SleepMonsters Patreon

Thank you to all our

adventure racing

patrons


Adventure Race Croatia

Adventure Race Georgia

Danish AR Union

Open Adventure

Rootstock Racing

Tanz Navigation

-- -- --

Brian Gatens

-- -- --

Adventure Enablers

Chipp Dodd

Celia Nash

David Ellis

Erik Sanders

Graham Bird

Jakub Malik

Josh Hayman

Liam St Pierre

Magnus Foss

Nicola MacLeod

Strong Machine AR

-- -- --

Adrian Crane

Barbara Campbell

Dejna Odvody

Ivan Park

Klaus Mygind

Lars Bukkehave

Marco Ponteri

Nigel Davison

Rob Horton

Semyon Yakimov