Fast and furious racing for BET13
The Prologue saw riders toughing it out through high temperatures and very dry conditions and the NAD Pro team crossed the line with a time of 1:06.04 for ninth position overall, to put them 4:12 behind overall Prologue winners, Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini. NAD Pro MTB’s promising performance on the first day puts them in good position for the fight for the prestigious Absa African jersey competition. Combrinck says wearing the Absa African Jersey is a definite goal for the week. Combrinck found the conditions of the course for the Prologue challenging but manageable: “It was good out there, and of course it was very hot. We also caught up to a few of the other riders from different teams because we hit a lot of traffic, but that was fine.” The all-South African team were happy not to have any mechanical issues, “We didn't encounter anything else that we would call a problem, so all and all it was a good day to start The Cape Epic.” Combrinck expects similar conditions in the days to follow, “I think it’s going to be very hot, dry and a little bit windy here and there. I think we can expect some rain later on too.” The next all-African team to complete the Prologue was Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes of PYGA Steel (1:06.43) who finished 11th on the day. Completing the Absa African Jersey top three was BCX (1:06.53) with riders HB Kruger and Waylon Woolcock still very much in contention. The leaders in the hotly contested Exxaro Jersey race for the top development team are William Mokgopo and Sebona Phillimon of Diepsloot MTB Academy 1, whose time of 1:18:13 puts them just less than two minutes ahead of Velokhaya/Thesele’s Boya Mthetheleli and Mxenge Thlasizwe, with Tsepho Tlou and Lucky Mlangeni – from Exxaro’s very own Exxaro MTB Academy – third in a time of 1.22.43. Mlangeni said he was happy with their performance, although the heat was a major factor. “It was a good day but my partner was suffering a little bit from how hot it has been, so I had to slow my pace down for him,” said Mlangeni. He added that he is excited to tackle the challenges of the Absa Cape Epic. “Everything is going well though and I am enjoying it so far.” An out of breath Tlou said he was proud of the team’s efforts even though a few areas of the Prologue course were tricky. “The conditions were extremely hot and the dust got a little too much in some parts, especially in the descents – making them a little slippery. The soil soaked up the heat and it just kept everything around us very warm, but it was an enjoyable day,” said Tlou.
* The 2017 Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race is taking place until Sunday 26 March. Watch the action live on our website www.cape-epic.com
2017 Cape Epic kicks into gear The 2017 Absa Cape Epic got off to a blistering start in hot and dusty conditions at Meerendal Wine Estate. In the men’s elite race Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing XC) powered through the 26km course to take the win, while in the Hansgrohe Women’s Category Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health) claimed the top step on the podium. Fumic was all smiles after a great start to his race. “We are very happy with the result,” he said. “Our plan was to put up a good time and that’s exactly what we did. Obviously the Prologue is a cross-country day and that really suits us. We targeted this day and our aim was always to be number one on the podium. But 26km is very routine for us. Tomorrow the race starts and we are hopefully near the front for the rest of the week.” Fast and furious racing for BET1319 MARCH 2017 - The Bahrain Endurance 13 team comes off another big week of valiant racing. Fredrik Croneborg ran himself into fourth place at Ironman 70.3 Taiwan, while Javier Gomez, Terenzo Bozzone, Brent McMahon, and Javier Gomez raced among the world’s best in the inaugural Super League Triathlon on Hamilton Island.
Gomez ranked highest among the Bahrain Endurance contingent with a sixth position on the overall leaderboard after three days of racing. The Spaniard showed consistency, but knows there is work to be done. He said, “Guess I wasn't that quick. I need to go back to work and take this as a training day.”
Bozzone was on the back foot from Day 1, finishing in 23rd, but the long-course maestro gave every race his all. “If I wasn’t here I would regret it,” the Kiwi said. “Racing these guys was inspirational. I mean, I watch them all -- the fast ITU guys Richard [Murray], Javier, Mario [Mola], Alistair -- and just to get to meet them and race alongside them is a pretty amazing experience.”
He and his wife are expecting their second child, a baby girl, in three weeks’ time. “Then I’ve got the middle of the year to start racing strong,” he added.
McMahon is a few seasons into Ironman racing since his days in the ITU, but still proved himself competitive on every day to finish 16th. The Canadian said, “It was unbelievable. I’ve been racing for 20 years and never have I been to an event like this that’s so world-class, everything measured out perfectly. It’s unbelievable that they’ve put this together in a fairly short time. It’s gonna catch on, it’s gonna go worldwide.” He will race Ironman 70.3 Oceanside next.
Over the first two days of racing on Hamilton Island, Brownlee was uncharacteristically heavy on his feet. Unfortunately, the Olympic champion had caught the flu, causing him to pull out of competing in the final day. “I loved Super League Triathlon, I’m just disappointed I wasn’t able to compete at my best,” said the British lad.
His gaze now turns east as he flies out to train with His Highness Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa. “I’m now looking forward to visiting Bahrain and our team leader.”For further information on the team, visit - www.bahrainendurance13.com
Photo credit: Delly Carr | Bahrain Endurance 13