FREI AND STIGGER ARE NOW THREE-FOR-THREE IN ABSA CAPE EPIC

Tuesday, October 19, 2021, South Africa
Absa Cape Epic Press Release:  
The NinetyOne-songo-Specialized team of Sina Frei and Laura Stigger made it three wins from three so far at the 2021 Absa Cape Epic, winning Stage 2 today ahead of Robyn de Groot and Ariane Lüthi (Salusmed). Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss (Faces CST) claimed the third spot on the day.
Sina Frei and Laura Stigger during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

Frei and Stigger now hold a seven-and-a-half minute advantage over nearest rivals, De Groot and Lüthi; while that may sound like an age, the trails of the Absa Cape Epic have reclaimed far more than a few minutes from many teams in the past.
Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

 

Conditions on the 96km Stage 2, from Ceres to Saronsberg, Tulbagh, were ideal for mountain bike racing and the Elite Women began the first “move day” at a conservative pace. However, racers will be racers and the throttles were twisted.
Vera Looser and Sarah Hill during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

The race burst into life when four teams pulled away from the pack – NinetyOne-songo-Specialized, Salusmed, Faces CST, and Cherie Redecker and Adelheid Morath of Computer Mania MTB all leaving the rest behind.
Mariske Strauss of Faces CST leads Ariane Luthi and Robyn de Groot of Salusmed during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021.
Photo by Gary Perkin/Cape Epic

The four teams remained together in a tight group for much of the stage, with a split only taking place around the 72km mark.
Earlier in the race, Ariane Lüthi was strongest up the Old Gydo Pass, the first real climb of the day, but on the final big climb, Frei and Stigger, at home in the mountainous terrain, made their move, dropping the three chasing teams.
Robyn de Groot of Salusmed leads Laura Stigger and Sina Frei of NinetyOne-songo-Specialized during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021.
Photo by Gary Perkin/Cape Epic

By the 77km checkpoint, they’d opened up a 30-second gap on De Groot and Lüthi, a gap which had grown to just over a minute by the stage’s end.
On the technical Old Wagon Trail descent into Tulbagh, Lill and Strauss lost valuable time, the latter struggling with a puncture. Strauss was also feeling the effects of her crashes on yesterday’s stage. “It took me a bit of time this morning to find my rhythm but after a while, you forget the pain,” she said. “On the final descent I started feeling it again, but I think we had a consistent race and I’m proud of how we did today.”
Team 91-Songo-Specialized, Sina Frei and Laura Stigger during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021.
Photo by Kelvin Trautman/Cape Epic

For Frei and Stigger, it was a complete performance, mishap-free and without incident. “It was a slow start and we just controlled the pace,” said Frei. “In the last 20km we pushed the pace higher and managed to get away on the climb; we were first into the downhill and had a trouble-free final 10km to the finish.”
UCI Ladies during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021.
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

Tomorrow’s Stage 3 will be crucial for the chasing teams in the women’s race. Some risks will have to be taken on the 91km, 2100m stage to cut into the overall lead of Frei and Stigger. Expect adventure and excitement on the trails of Tulbagh.
Ariane Lüthid and Robyn De Groot during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021.
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

Tune in to the Live Broadcast of Stage 2 from 08:30 on the Absa Cape Epic Facebook pageYouTube account, and/or Absa Cape Epic website.
Stage 2 Results:
1) NinetyOne-songo-Specialized, Sina FREI, Laura STIGGER | 04:49:12.7
2) Salusmed, Ariane LÜTHI, Robyn DE GROOT 04:50:14.9 | +00:01:02.1
3) Faces CST, Candice LILL, Mariske STRAUSS 04:53:47.7 | +00:04:35.0
Ladies podium during stage 2 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 19th October 2021
Photo by Simon Pocock/Cape Epic

General classification after Stage 2:
1) NinetyOne-songo-Specialized, Sina FREI, Laura STIGGER 10:18:14.0 | 19.9 km/h ave.
2) Salusmed, Ariane LÜTHI, Robyn DE GROOT 10:25:46.1 | +00:07:32.0 | 19.8 km/h ave.
3) Faces CST, Candice LILL, Mariske STRAUSS 10:36:24.9 | +00:18:10.9 | 19.6 km/h ave.
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About The Absa Cape Epic
The Absa Cape Epic is the world’s premier mountain bike stage race. The route changes every year, leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through 650 Untamed kilometres of unspoilt scenery and up 15500m of vertical ascent.
The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike race in the world and classed as UCI Mountain Bike Marathon Series (SSR) by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI); this official UCI status makes it a highlight on the professional racer’s calendar. The Absa Cape Epic also attracts aspiring amateur riders wanting to test themselves against the best. It is a full-service race, meaning that everything is taken care of from the start – all riders need to think about is riding.
In 2016 the Cape Epic PTY (ltd) was acquired by the IRONMAN group and is now the pinnacle event of the Epic Series which includes the Swiss Epic in Switzerland and 4Islands MTB Stage Race Croatia.
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