The dramatic new route of the ninth edition of the Absa Cape Epic, which takes place from 25 March to 1 April 2012, will be as challenging as previous years. Both local and international mountain biking enthusiasts will be taking on the demanding eight day mountain bike adventure of 781km.
The race begins with a 27km time trial at Meerendal Wine Estate in the Western Cape on Sunday. The Soft Focus photographers were as always, ready to bring you the action as it unfolds.
All the top teams were seen leaving the gates for the time trial around 11am, giving us the oppurtunity to get up close with the best in the world. Seen in the cover photo are one of the favourites, the Austrian, Topeak Ergon Racing team consisting of Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen as they stride through the very first of many uphills to come over the next gruling 8 days of unforgiving racing in the South African heat.
These two tough contenders managed to finish third on the prologue with a time of 1:14.57, trailing only minutes behind the two leading teams. Finish with the best time of the day were the Swiss team, 360ne Songo Specialized (Christoph Sauser & Burry Stander) leading the pack at 1:11.52 followed very closly by the local South African favourites 360Life, Kevin Evans and David George finishing in at 1:12.05
Evans and George, who’ve been preparing for the event for the past 11-and-a-half months, have partnered three times previously for the Cape Epic, each time in a serious bid to become the first South African team to win the demanding race. In 2008 they finished third and in 2009 they placed fourth. In 2010, they raced on different teams, and last year, racing for the first time as Team Nedbank 360Life, their bid ended suddenly on day two when Evans crashed on a descent and smashed his left collarbone.
George continued to finish solo, but from the minute Evans woke from the anaesthetic following surgery to repair his collarbone, their sights were adjusted to achieving victory in the 2012 edition of the race.
Last year, Nedgroup Life commissioned a movie crew to document Evans and George’s quest to win Epic. The movie, An Epic Tale, has been screening over the past two weeks to sold-out cinemas in South Africa. It’s essentially a tale of bad luck, brilliantly capturing the pain and sacrifice these two riders have endured in what has essentially been their failure – so far – to win the race they most want to win.
These guys are a definiate team to watch for both hardcore enthusiatis and everybody else