- After eight days and 620km of brutal Western Cape terrain, NinetyOne-songo-Specialized won the Cape Epic overall.
- Weather challenges and agonizing climbing sections, totalling 15 350m of vertical ascent, made the Cape Epic true to its billing.
- Cape Town’s Matt Beers recorded a memorable win, with his French partner and former World Champion, Jordan Sarrou.
South Africa has its first overall Cape Epic winner since 2012, after nearly a decade of European and American dominance.
In a dramatic week’s racing, which saw extreme weather conditions, Matt Beers and his French partner, Jordan Sarrou, rolled over the Val de Vie finish to win the event on Sunday.
The NinetyOne-songo-Specialized men’s team managed to sustain their excellent performance from a week ago, when they won the Cape Epic’s prologue on Table Mountain.
For Beers, it will be a notable victory. He becomes only the second South African to win the Cape Epic overall.
The last South African general classification winner was the late Burry Stander, who achieved back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012, before being killed in a road accident while out on a training ride.
It was always going to be tough
Beers and Sarrou finished the race in a time of 25:17:28.2, putting them nearly nine minutes ahead of the German BULLS 2 team, who finished second.
After a brutal day in Tulbagh, which saw temperature surge and Sarrou struggle, the NinetyOne-songo-Specialized team seemed threatened by stage 3 winners, Canyon Northwave. After their powerful ride, stomach issues prevented Canyon Northwave’s Martin Stošek from starting stage 4.
With the pressure from Canyon Northwave’s form having dissipated, NinetyOne-songo-Specialized navigated the heavy rain and slippery trails around Wellington for stages 4 and 5, without incident.
A great return, for the Cape Epic
The race finished with Buff Scott’s Hans Becking and Jose Dias taking the Grand Finale stage, with Matt Beers and Jordan Sarrou second. Both teams communicated with each other as they entered the final part of stage 7, and there was no sprint finish for the line.
Although the Cape Epic was smaller than before, the 17th edition delivered various stage winners and terrifically close racing. There were five overall stage winners, showing how evenly matched the pro riders were.
For Matt Beers, this could be a pivotal moment in his career as he rode with great maturity. Especially after Jordan Sarrou’s day of suffering, in the extreme midweek week, with Beers, despite being two years younger, showing excellent race management for the team.