Nino Schurter and Lars Forster are aiming high at the 2019 Cape Epic
Cape Town, South Africa. 8 days, 624 kilometres and 16650 metres of climbing. Serving as the season opener for SCOTT-SRAM, the “Tour de France of Mountain biking” is a race that truly lives up to its title. And expectations again are high. Considering the latest circumstances, team SCOTT-SRAM has decided to make a last minute change in the team pairing. Olympic champion Nino Schurter now will be racing with European Champion Lars Forster, while Andri Frischknecht – winner of the 2018 Swiss Epic and a stage winner of the 2017 Cape Epic – forms the DSV-SCOTT-SRAM team with South African Marathon Champion Gert Heyns.
Just before the departure to South Africa Nino, Lars and Andri did their annual pre season performance test with the Swiss Sports Institute in Magglingen. They all are in excellent physical shape. However, Andri Frischknecht, who originally was Nino’s Cape Epic partner, was dealing with some health issues at the training camp in February. Even if he is back on track now, the not-so ideal built up for Cape Epic put him with the back to the wall. The expectations in him riding with Nino were tremendously high. Fulfilling those expectations require a perfect preparation which unfortunately was not possible.
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
With Lars Forster SCOTT-SRAM is in the lucky situation of having more than just a back up plan. This is why Team director Thomas Frischknecht decided to make this shift. Even though Lars is a rookie to the Cape Epic, the SCOTT-SRAM A- Team is going to be one to watch. Lars is in terrific shape and looking forward to take this opportunity to race with Nino. He says: “If I get the chance to race with Nino for a Cape Epic win, I take it! I feel I’m ready for this adventure. The lack in experience I make up with having a great teacher beside. Let’s do this!“
Olympic Champion & 7x World Champion
SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
Team director Thomas Frischknecht adds to this: “The Cape Epic is untamed and unpredictable. The most important thing to have a chance for a top placing is having two strong teams that work well together as seen two years ago when Nino won the overall with Matthias Stirnemann and Andri won two stages with Michiel van der Heijden. 2019 we do have such a situation with two very promising teams, no matter who is pairing with who. The rest of the story will be told by the Cape Epic itself. Mechanicals, injuries and health issues can kill all dreams in seconds. Different to last year, we count on that the luck may be on our side again.“
N1NO Schurter’s Cape Epic Special Edition SCOTT Spark RC World Cup
The Magic Hands Behind the Bikes- Epic Tech Support for SCOTT-SRAM
Racing the toughest MTB stage race in the world is not only a torture for the riders. It is also an immense logistic challenge for the support teams. Servicing a pro team like SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing involves intense logistic planning and around-the-clock tech support plan. With two high prolific mechanics plus exclusive man power from Sram, the team looks into an intense week of servicing bikes around-the-clock at the highest level.
“Managing the material side of things is a highly demanding task. However, the biggest challenge at the Cape Epic is to keep up the level throughout the week in terms of maintaining the bikes. At such an intense week with extreme conditions you get quite easily into a routine and that`s when mistakes happen”, says Yanick – the Mechanic – Gyger, Head mechanic of SCOTT-SRAM. “We are two mechanics and we service three bikes each every day. Depending on the stages and circumstances we work till late at night to have all bikes 100% ready to race again.”
Get some insights from 2017’s Cape Epic and all its tech support intensity here.
The parts which suffer the most are tires and suspension. “The guys race in dusty, sandy trails every day, and after three hours of racing they are getting exhausted, that`s when tires and wheels are getting damaged”, Kurt Gross, team mechanic of SCOTT-SRAM says. “The conditions here are so extreme, in case it rains we change the entire bike completely- all cables, drivetrain, disc and brake pads, seal and foam rings of the suspension, bottom bracket, bearings of the entire frame…everything has to get replaced. We literally build-up entirely new bikes. Riders even change brake pads during the race in the worst case of rain.”
Learn more abot SCOTT-SRAM’s entire staff here.
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