The Investec-songo-Specialized teams of Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney; and Jaroslav Kulhavý and Howard Grotts rode to Absa Cape Epic glory on Sunday the 25th of March as they crossed the finish line at Val de Vie Estate. In doing so the team became the first to win the UCI men’s and women’s categories in a single race; while Langvad became the most successful woman in the race’s history, Kulhavý joined the illustrious three time winners club and Grotts and Courtney became the first American winners of the untamed African mountain bike race.
The UCI women’s team of Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney, with a comfortable general classification lead could afford to shadow their closest rivals, Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz during the final stage rather than take up the pace setting duties once more. Riding at a slightly lower intensity than they had for the rest of the week they were afforded the opportunity to allow the magnitude of their success to sink in.
The pair crossed the finish line in fourth position, as Margot Moschetti and Raiza Goulao, of PMRA/CST Racing took the stage honours. Langvad became a four-time winner of the Absa Cape Epic when she, and Courtney, crossed the finish line of the Grand Finale. In so doing she pulled clear of former teammate Ariane Lüthi on three victories, and now lies only one behind the all-time-greats of the race: Christoph Sauser and Karl Platt. At only 34 years of age, and having won each edition of the race she has taken part in, it seems likely that the Dane will surpass Sauser and Platt.
“We have been working so hard all week and today we just wanted to be safe” Langvad said post stage. “It is definitely a little bit of an emotional finish for me” Courtney began when asked how it feels to be crowned an Absa Cape Epic winner. “When I set out to do the Cape Epic as my first marathon event, and first stage race, people thought I was a little crazy. But my inner circle really supported me and pushed me to get here. And Specialized gave me the opportunity to race with one of my heroes in the sport and I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience” the young American concluded.
General Classification Results Women:
1. Investec-songo-Specialized: Annika Langvad & Kate Courtney (29:57:06.5)
2. Ascendis Health: Sabine Spitz & Robyn de Groot (+46:29.2)
3. Silverback – KMC: Mariske Strauss & Annie Last (+53:15.6)
4. dormakaba: Candice Lill & Amy McDougall (+1:51:10.6)
5. PMRA/CST Racing: Margot Moschetti and Raiza Goulao (+1:52:06.8)