Namibians take on Cape Epic
WINDHOEK, 20 MAR (NAMPA) - The first day of the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race on Monday started well for the Land Rover Windhoek team, which finished in an overall time of seven hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds (7:15:15).
Land Rover Windhoek sponsored Frikkie van Greunen and Wim Steenkamp, the only fully Namibian cycle team, to take part in the 14th edition of the race. They finished in 86th position in the general classification (GC) category and 54th position in the men’s team category.
The seven-day Absa Cape Epic is an annual mountain bike stage race held in the Western Cape, South Africa. It started at the coastal town of Hermanus and ends at the Val de Vie Estate near Paarl.
The two cyclists face a 691 kilometres (km) race over the seven days, with an accumulated climb through the mountains of 15 400 metres (m).
Van Greunen and Steenkamp’s wildcard entry was only confirmed late last year by the organisers of the Absa Cape Epic, giving them little time to prepare for this event.
Stage one took them over distance of 101km with a climb of 2 300m.
The second stage on Tuesday will take them over a distance of 102km with a climb of 2 350m.
Prior to their departure last Thursday, the duo told Nampa their only plan is to finish the race.
Steenkamp and Van Greunen both said taking part is a privilege, as participation is on invitation only and participants are limited to 1 200 cyclists.
“The mental preparation is important and one has to believe in oneself,” Steenkamp said shortly before leaving for South Africa.
Van Greunen said taking part in the Epic has been a dream of his since university and now it has become a reality.
“The cool thing about the Cape Epic is that normal people on the street like me can now ride with Olympians and other professional cyclists,” he said.
The first Cape Epic was won by Namibian Mannie Heymans in 2004. Heymans, well known in the cycle industry and sport circles, told this agency the Cape Epic is comparable to writing examinations.
He advised Van Greunen and Steenkamp to take it day by day.
“Don’t think about the whole race, take it day by day and put your efforts into the coming day,” Heymans said.
Heymans took part 10 times and finished the Cape Epic nine times. He is considering taking part again.
Namibian cyclists Vera Adrian and Michelle Vorster are also taking part in the race, both in mixed teams.
Adrian has teamed up with Candice Lill from South Africa and is riding for Neething RSA, while Vorster and teammate Carmen Buchacher (SA) are riding for team Hollard-Velocity Sportlab.
On Monday, Adrian and Lill finished with a time of 6:57:37:1, ending fifth in their category and 65th in the GC category.
Vorster and Buchacher ended seventh with a time of 7:08:43:8 and ended 79th in the GC category.