2017 Cape Epic Stage 7
This morning Annie, Mariske and Martin rolled out onto the final stage of this Epic journey.
Before they could dream of champagne and celebrations, there was the small matter of eighty-five kilometers of racing ahead of them. Annie Last and Mariske Strauss had a second place in General Classification to defend, as well as a chance to take another stage win. And for Martin, a long and lonely week of quality training would only be worth it if he could now finish in one piece! He talks us through the ups and downs of his Outcast week,
“It was good for me, I had really good training. But of course, I was for sure really, really disappointed when I realized that my Cape Epic with Julian was over. In the first moment I was shocked when I saw Julian lying on the ground and doing nothing, and then I was just happy that he was awake again when I got news from the hospital that he was okay. Then I realized that I had to race the week on my own – I said to myself, right, let’s do this and I raced Stage One hard and chased a good time and was really happy with that. After that I had to start in the C batch, fifteen minutes behind the leaders, and it was not so easy on the second and third stage and I thought, what am I doing here? I spoke to team manager Paul again and we talked about the pros and cons of continuing and decided that I would carry on and finish the whole Epic as an Outcast. I worked together with the media team from Silverback and I think we made a good story. I tried to get the best training out of it so I did some intervals during the stages but I didn’t get too tired from the week – I didn’t totally push my body so I should recover well and have a good base ready for the World Cups. Hopefully better luck at Cape Epic next year!”
For the Hansgrohe – Cadence Nutrition team, each day was one big interval, and the Grand Finale was no exception! It was another tense day for the team staff as news filtered in from out on course that Annie and Mariske were in the leading group, then had dropped back, and then were at the front again. As the final finish line approached, the top three teams on General Classification were wheel to wheel. After the mammoth efforts of yesterday, the ladies lost small chunks of time in the final five kilometers and were dangling dangerously off the back of the group. However, miraculously they clawed themselves back to the front so that as the race entered the final few hundred meters it was certain to be a full gas sprint to the line. Unfortunately riders ahead of the leading ladies, who had begun the day in earlier start batches, were anything but sprinting for the line. Annie and Mariske got caught up with the slower riders and, despite an incredible effort and some ninja style weaving through the traffic, could not get to the line ahead of Sabine and Robyn from Team Ascendis. Hansgrohe – Cadence Nutrition finished second by half a second! What a way to finish 691 km!
Tinges of disappointment were soon overwhelmed by a huge sense of satisfaction and delight at a Cape Epic completed, and done so in fine style. Annie and Mariske have exceeded expectation in their first Cape Epic together, with six podiums in eight days of racing. What an incredible performance. Annie wraps up,
“It was so close for first! It was not the smoothest stage to be honest, but to come away with second place in the Grand Finale is pretty good, and second place overall is something I am really happy with. I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation now but the whole experience has been amazing.”
Another year, another Cape Epic completed! We are very proud of everyone involved in making it happen, and especially of the riders who have performed so incredibly well both on and off the bike.