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April 10, 2018
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April 23, 2018

Pearl iZumi Cycle Recap

March has been one crazy awesome month for both cyclists and spectators as far as cycling races go. From the Cape Epic to the Mountain Bike World Cup, there was something for every taste. We followed the journeys from start to finish, felt the ups and commiserated the downs as a cycling collective. Let’s take a look back at the bike-tastic adrenalin that kept us pumped for the past month.

Cape Town Cycle Tour

One of the most notable cycling events in the world, much anticipation surrounded the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Drawing some of the biggest names on the international stage, thousands showed up to race and much the same showed up to watch. We have to give a special Pearl iZumi shout-out to all who supported our cycle gear stall at the event, sharing in our excitement and passion on the day. The televised broadcast reached numbers in the millions, with several thousand opting to view the race online via live streaming. Nolan Hoffman, from team BCX, took home his third Cape Town Cycle Tour win, with a time of 2:37:30. He beat close followers Sam Gaze (Investec-Songo- Specialized), and Reynard Butler (Pro Touch) to the finish victorious by a whisker. Hoffman claimed that his win could be attributed to a tight team, with past champion Clint Hendricks leading him skillfully to within 180m. Sam Gaze, who came in with a respectable second, had won his first elite Mountain Bike World Cup race the day before, and just barely missed his second win when Hoffman sprinted to the finish. Luca Mozzato and Martin Freyer rounded out the top 5 respectively, with times of 2:37:31. Demacon’s Kim le Court took top honors in the women’s 76km race, clocking a time of 2:11:50. She beat out Vera Adrian from Namibia, and South African Maroesjka Matthee to the finish. There was a big bunch swell near the end, and le Court was the one who outsprinted the rest to take the title. Annette Schoeman, a seven-time champion, finished fourth, with Kelsey van Schoor taking fifth place with a shared time of 2:11:51. All in all, the day was nail-biting from start to finish, raising expectations for what the 41st installment of this epic race will look like. A salute to the sport of cycling, and enjoyed equally by participants and spectators alike.

UCI MTB World Cup

This multi-round mountain bike race is made up of eight legs, and kicked off in Stellenbosch this year. Podium place was awarded to first-time winner, Sam Gaze from New Zealand, who finished in a time of 1:30:14. A first win is always sweet, but what made this victory even sweeter, was having beaten out current world champion and top seed, Nino Schurter (Switzerland). Spectators were treated to an epic cycling version of cat-and- mouse as Schurter, who had taken the lead after lap 1, had to continuously fight Gaze who proceeded to push him into second place every chance he got. Schurter was in the lead when the final lap started, but Gaze snapped that position midway through, and managed to hold out to provide one of the most intense sprints to the finish the series has seen. Schurter took second with a time of 1:30:15, while Maxime Marotte (France), and Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) placed third and fourth respectively, with times of 1:30:16 and 1:30:24. The highest ranking South African was Stuart Marais, who finished 75th out of 99 cyclists. Denmark’s Annika Langvad won the elite women’s race in a time of 1:33:14, and was followed by Pauline Prevot Ferrand (France), and Anne Tauber (Netherlands) in second and third place respectively. Langvad and Prevot Ferrand stood out from the start of lap one, taking the lead and creating a notable gap between themselves and the rest of the racers. The rest of the race became a dual between Langvad and Prevot Ferrand, who took turns riding in the lead until Langvad pushed a 20-second gap between them in the final lap to ensure she crossed the finish alone. Mariska Strauss was the highest-placed South African, finishing in 28th place. The honor of hosting this awesome event in 2019 has been given to Mont-Sainte- Anne, Canada, and we are sure it will provide just as much excitement and entertainment as it did on home soil this year.

The Cape Epic

The eight-stage race was a world class cycling extravaganza that ramped up tensions both live and for those watching on television or live stream. Jaroslav Kulhavy and Howard Grotts (Investec-Songo- Specialized) took the overall title when they finished the final stage of the Cape Epic at Val de Vie with a total time of 25:29:48. Fabian Rabensteiner and Michele Casagrande were the winners of the 70km stage, but it was Kulhavy and Grotts’ consistent work throughout the race that earned them podium place overall despite their second spot finish for that stage. Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek (Canyon Topeak) was the pair that took overall second place, and Francesc Guerra Carretero and Luis Leao Pinto (Buff Scott MTB) finished overall third. Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney (Investec-Songo- Specialized) won the woman’s overall title, with a total time of 29:57:06. Ascendis Health’s team, Sabine Spitz and Robyn de Groot, finished in second overall, with a whopping 46 minutes separating them from the winners at the end of stage six. Langvad and Courtney had dominated throughout the race, and went into the final stage with a good lead. This marks a third victory for Langvad, and Courtney’s first, as well as her first Cape Epic. Matthys Beukes and Julian Jessop (PYGA Euro Steel) won the African men’s special jersey, while Candice Lill and Amy Beth Mcdougall (Team dormakaba) won the women’s African special jersey. A true test of grit and determination, this year’s Cape Epic lived up to its name, providing some of the world’s most watchable cycling drama for those following, as well as spectacular achievements and lifelong memories for those in the saddles. We can only expect even greater things for 2019’s Epic adventure, with first entries for the race already having sold out.
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