CAPE TOWN – Both the men’s reigning Olympic champions, a Tour de France winner, a host of world champions and several previous Cape Epic winners will
be in the stage race’s strongest field yet when it kicks off on Sunday.
And the racing is going to be fiercer than ever, according to the top competitors.
“There are 10 teams that can win it,” said defending champion Karl Platt of the star-studded Men’s Category field. The German, who has won the event five times, will be defending the title with Swiss partner Urs Huber (Team Bulls).
“This year will be really exciting and more competitive than ever before,” said 2014 winner Kristian Hynek of the Czech Republic, who will be racing with Austrian Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon). “There will be many teams trying to win.”
And the other five-time winner, Christoph Sauser of Switzerland, said “this year there is definitely the most depth especially with so many teams having back-ups”. Sauser returns to the race from a brief retirement and will be racing with former Olympic gold medallist and world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic).
As Sauser suggested, this year also sees the most back-up teams ever in the race – seven teams will have support teams in the field who are on hand to help with spare parts off their bikes or to help fix mechanical problems.
Lining up alongside the former winners will be reigning Olympic gold medallist Nino Schurter of Switzerland, riding with countryman Matthias Stirnemann.
The race starts with a prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate and finishes next Sunday at Val de Vie Estate in Franschhoek after stages in and around Hermanus, Greyton and Elgin.
– Weekend Argus/Iol News
PHOTO: Karl Platt and Urs Huber win the 2016 Cape Epic Prologue in Meerendal. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix