April 04, 2011
A fine finish to the Absa Cape Epic
A large crowd of spectators gathered at the finish line. Photo: Leanne Pohlmann
A cool autumn morning greeted the enthusiastic spectators at the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West where the stage was set for the highly anticipated finish to the 2011 Absa Cape Epic. With a tough eight days, 707km and 14 550m of vertical ascent behind the riders, no doubt they too were looking forward to the finish!
The race leaders, team 36One-Songo-Specialized, started the seventh stage from the Oak Valley wine estate to Lourensford Wine Estate with a comfortable 10½-minute lead. They were without a doubt the crowd favourites, with Burry Stander set to make history by becoming the first South African to ever win this prestigious event.
The picturesque setting at Lourensford Wine Estate, which has hosted the last five Epic finishes, provided plenty of entertainment for the large crowds that gathered to cheer in the riders and watch the live coverage on giant screens. From acrobatic stunt pilots to freestyle riders and slackliners showing off their skills, there was plenty to wow the spectators.
For the less extreme athletes there was an opportunity to test their skills during the annual Vigne à Vigne 26km or 50km mountain bike race, as well as a 6km or 15km trail run through the scenic vineyards. The kiddies’ 3km bike ride proved popular with the future champions keen to strut their stuff.
Stage 7 winners Lukas and Mathias Flückiger of Trek World Racing, who finished with a time of 2:33.18,6. Photo: Leanne Pohlmann
With just under 60km to complete on the 7th stage, team 36One-Songo-Specialized had a comfortable race and although they only crossed the finish line in fifth, they were the overall winners of the 2011 Absa Cape Epic with a race time of 28 hours and 44 minutes. View all the results on the Supersport website.
To put it into perspective, by the time the riders crossed the finish line they would have done the equivalent of summiting Mount Everest twice on their bikes! In his post race interview, Standler commented, “It’s not a race that is won in eight days; it taken us four years to get here.”
Congratulations to the event organisers for staging another world-class event in the Cape and for generating 20 000 hours of television coverage, which makes it the most televised cycling event in the world!
See also: 2011 Cape Epic winners: Photos