Cape Epic decided by dramatic final stage win

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Georg Egger and Lukas Baum rode into Cape Epic history, with an incredible final stage performance. (Photo: Dom Barnardt /Cape Epic)
Georg Egger and Lukas Baum rode into Cape Epic history, with an incredible final stage performance. (Photo: Dom Barnardt /Cape Epic)
  • A ride for the ages from two Germans, resulted in an overall Cape Epic victory. 
  • Defending champion and local favourite, Matt Beers, couldn’t repeat his heroics. 
  • The women’s race ended in a big win for the American-Argentine team of NinetyOne-songo-Specialized. 

True to its billing as the world’s untamed mountain bike stage race, the 2022 Cape Epic was decided in the last half of its final stage.

Although stage 7 was shorter than any other, at only 68km, the 2000m climbing profile didn’t make for a charity ride from Stellenbosch to Val de Vie.

The Speed Company Racing team delivered one of the most dramatic finishes in Cape Epic history. Entering the last stage, Lukas Baum and Georg Egger trailed event leaders, Canyon Northwave MTB, by 02:45.5.

A deficit of nearly three minutes is significant, but nobody appeared to tell Baum and Egger that. The German duo rode with abandon, setting a furious pace as the race climbed out of Stellenbosch into the Banhoek valley.

Cape Epic
With inspired riding all week, the Speed Company Racing Cape Epic win, is a popular one. Delivered with dashing style. (Photo: Nick Muzik/Cape Epic)

Nearly losing it all - with a wrong turn 

At stage 7’s 48km marker, Speed Company Racing powered to a 03:35 advantage over Canyon Northwave MTB, taking the overall Cape Epic lead. An anxious moment followed, as Speed Company Racing hesitated and nearly took a wrong turn on the route, after water point three.

After this near miss, Baum and Egger suppressed any doubts concerning their Cape Epic destiny and kept the cadence to Val de Vie.

Crossing the lawn finish line, Speed Company Racing became 2022 Cape Epic champions in their vivid riding attire – much to the delight of Cape Epic fans.

Specialized racing
Local hero Matt Beers put in a sterling effort but was unable to repeat the overall win. (Photo: Michal Cerveny)

 Second place reward for the world’s best mountain biker

Following Speed Company Racing home was the team with incomparably lousy luck at the 2022 Cape Epic, Scott-SRAM. Nino Schurter and Lars Forster suffered more punctures than any other pro team in many years, but finished their disappointing Cape Epic campaign with some dignity, 01:44.6 behind Baum and Egger on stage 7.

Placing third on the final stage was Santa Cruz’s of Maxime Marotte and Keegan Swenson. Matt Beers and Christopher Blevins (Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized) were fourth, with weeklong event leaders, Canyon Northwave MTB, finishing fifth.

The final margin of victory for Speed Company Racing was 03:02.4. Starting the day nearly three minutes behind the overall leaders, the German team’s performance was nothing short of amazing. The highest placed South African was Matt Beers, classifying third overall, with his American teammate, Christopher Blevins.

And the winning Cape Epic bike? Speed Company Racing was on Spanish brand, Obrea, racing its Oiz frame.

womens MTB
Haley Batten and Sofia Gomez Villafane (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized) were unrivalled in the women’s race. (Photo: Dom Barnardt /Cape Epic)

Specialized's Sofia and Haley too strong 

There were no surprises in the women’s race, despite Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss (Face Rola) riding at full intensity toward the Val de Vie finish.

South Africa's most competitive team started stage 7 with a time deficit of 16:29.7 and attacked the route to win by a margin of 03:57.7.

The final women’s timesheet gave NinetyOne-songo-Specialized’s Sofia Gómez Villafane and Haley Batten the overall Cape Epic win by 12:31.9 over Lill and Strauss.

BMC MTB Racing’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Robyn de Groot (riding her last Cape Epic as a pro), placed third in the general classification.

mountain bike race
All the category winners of the 2022 Cape Epic. (Photo: Nick Muzik/Cape Epic)

Riders from the first Epic, are still winning 

The mixed category saw Namibia’s Mannie Heymans and Genevieve Weber win, by 45:51.9, from Wesley and Mandi Augustyn. Achary Swart and Marleen Lourens were third in the mixed category.

For those unfamiliar with the Cape Epic’s early history, Heymans won the first event outright, back in 2004, with Karl Platt as his teammate.

Platt had a terrific 2022 Cape Epic, paired with Christoph Sauser. The two greatest Cape Epic riders, with five overall wins each, revelled in the novelty of riding as a team. Platt and Sauser were too classy for their rivals in the masters category, winning by 48:59.8.

Dutch rider Bart Brentjens and Brazil’s Abraao Azevedo proved way too powerful in the grand masters category - for riders aged 60 and older.

The pair won by a commanding 1:57:38.6. A result that would not surprise many, as Brentjens won the original Olympic mountain biking gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

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