SINA FREI AND LAURA STIGGER CRUSH ABSA CAPE EPIC STAGE 1

Debutants lead from start to finish with no intent of looking back

Press Release:  

Sina Frei and Laura Stigger during stage 1 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Eselfontein in Ceres, South Africa on the 18th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

 

Absa Cape Epic newbies, Sina Frei and Laura Stigger (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized), blitzed Stage 1 in the Elite women’s race, today.

Riding comfortably, with great control and composure throughout, the first-timers cruised home in 4:34:52 – nearly five minutes ahead of second-placed finishers Ariane Luthi and Robyn de Groot (Salusmed). 

Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill during stage 1 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Eselfontein in Ceres, South Africa on the 18th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

The women’s race started with all the protagonists watching each other on the relatively flat trails leading towards Eselfontein and the first climb of the day, welcomingly named ‘Dead Man Walking‘. There was, however, an early hiccup for Sarah Hill and Vera Looser (Liv-Lapierre Racing) when a stray piece of wire pierced Looser’s rear tire. The pair quickly handled the repair work and caught the bunch, but as soon as the climbing started, the main contenders twisted the throttle.

By waterpoint 2, a bunch had formed, starring orange jersey wearers Frei & Stigger, Candice Lill & Mariske Strauss (Faces CST, although dressed in the red of the Absa African Women’s jersey), De Groot and Luthi, and Cherie Redecker & Adelheid Morath (Computer Mania MTB). An all-day cat and mouse race appeared to be taking shape. However, Frei and Stigger powered away.

They raced through the Dimension Data Hotspot 50 seconds ahead of Luthi and De Groot, widening the gap as the day progressed. Their cause was aided by both their nearest rivals suffering crashes. Mariske Strauss crashed twice during the day, with Luthi also taking a tumble. 

 

Stigger and Frei took full advantage of the mishaps. “It might have looked easy, but it really wasn’t,” explained Stigger. “We had to fight the whole way, and we are super happy to take the win.”

 

Overall leader Sina Frei ahead of African riders jersey leader Candice Lill, during stage 1 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Eselfontein in Ceres, South Africa on the 18th October 2021
Photo by Simon Pocock/Cape Epic

Frei added that the stage win was hard-earned, “The legs are super tired now, we suffered a lot. It wasn’t really the plan to go out so early alone, but we just kept going. For most of the time, we had no idea how far ahead we were; and then, at times, we had the feeling as though they were right behind us. So we just tried to keep a solid and consistent pace and work together as a team.”

 

Ariane Lüthi during stage 1 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Eselfontein in Ceres, South Africa on the 18th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

Tomorrow’s Stage 2 is a transition day, with riders leaving Ceres and racing towards Saronsberg in Tulbagh. With 96km and 2100m of climbing as the day’s listed demands, any mistakes will be pounced on.  

Tune in to the Live Broadcast of Stage 2 from 08:30 on the Absa Cape Epic Facebook page, YouTube account, and/or Absa Cape Epic website.

Laura Stigger and Sina Frei during stage 1 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Eselfontein in Ceres, South Africa on the 18th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

Stage 1 Results:

1) NinetyOne-songo-Specialized, Sina FREI, Laura STIGGER (#54-2), 04:34:52.6, 

2) Salusmed, Ariane LÜTHI, Robyn DE GROOT, 04:39:43.8 | +00:04:51.1

3) Faces CST, Candice LILL, Mariske STRAUSS, 04:46:55.4 | +00:12:02.7

General classification after Stage 1:
1) NinetyOne-songo-Specialized, Sina FREI, Laura STIGGER 05:29:01.2 | 17.9 km/h ave. 

2) Salusmed, Ariane LÜTHI, Robyn DE GROOT, 05:35:31.1 | +00:06:29.8 | 17.5 km/h ave.

3) Faces CST, Candice LILL, Mariske STRAUSS, 05:42:37.1 | +00:13:35 | 17.2 km/h

Mariske Strauss after stage 1 of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Eselfontein in Ceres to Eselfontein in Ceres, South Africa on the 18th October 2021
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

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