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Sofia Gomez Villafane and Katerina Nash (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialised) gained the prologue for the ladies whereas Matt Beers and Chris Blevins (Toyota-Specialised-NinetyOne) claimed the opening day victory for males on the 2023 Absa Cape Epic.
Every duo pulled on the primary yellow CM.com chief jerseys of the eight-day mountain stage race set in and across the South African hills of Durbanville, Cape City.
The 27km prologue was held on the Meerendal Wine Property on Sunday morning with ladies’s defending champion Villafane and her companion Nash stopping the clock in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 57 seconds. They had been seven seconds sooner than second-placed Environment friendly Infiniti Insure, a staff consisting of Namibia’s Vera Looser and Mauritius’s Kim le Court docket. In third, 30 seconds off the perfect time, was Amy Wakefield and Candice Lill of e-FORT.net-SeattleCoffeeCo.
“The beginning was fairly savage however as soon as we bought going, I used to be actually into it – too into it. I bought means too excited once we began passing different groups; Kate needed to inform me to take it straightforward and never burn too many matches,” Villafane admitted.
“It was an excellent enjoyable day. We pushed onerous to the end and it’s a fantastic honour beginning Stage 1 in orange.”
The Wakefield-Lill duo in third had hoped for a greater begin to the week-long occasion, as they misplaced time when Wakefield fell in the direction of the tip of the time trial.
Beers, a 2021 Cape Epic winner and 2022 South African gravel champion, partnered for a second time with Blevins, a former mountain bike cross-country brief observe (XCC) world champion, and so they gained final 12 months’s prologue. Nevertheless, Beers turned sick later within the race and staff faltered to complete second general. On Sunday they repeated the flying begin of the earlier version and took management of the boys’s GC with a greatest time of 1:03:01.
“We stored it on the restrict at this time and tried to not go over that,” mentioned Beers. Chris is aware of find out how to handle me, in all probability higher than I understand how to handle myself. We didn’t go overboard at this time and as a staff, I believe we did a fantastic job.”
A number of cross-country World Champion Nino Schurter, who has gained Cape Epic two occasions, rode with Swiss companion Andri Frischknecht on the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing staff and settled for second place, seven seconds again. 2022 Cape Epic champions Georg Egger and Lukas Baum of Orbea x Leatt X Pace Firm got here in third, 45 seconds off the tempo.
Different notable riders among the many two-rider UCI males’s division this 12 months embrace recently-retired WorldTour professional Vincenzo Nibali with Samuele Porro on Italian Pals staff, who’re in ninth place after the prologue, and 2022 Life Time Grand Prix winner Keegan Swenson becoming a member of Lachlan Morton on EF-EasyPost:SCB SRA staff, in 14th place.
Stage 1 on March 20 heads southwest to Hermanus and can cowl 98km with 2,550 metres of climbing.
“It’s an extended race, so we aren’t taking something with no consideration. Now we have plenty of racing to do within the subsequent week, so we’re going to keep centered and keep resilient,” Blevins famous.
Cape Epic covers a complete of 648 kilometres this 12 months with 15,465 metres of elevation acquire. Known as an “untamed” mountain bike race, it is among the most demanding mountain bike races on the earth.