The 2015 Absa Cape Epic starting line will feature the most competitive UCI Women’s category to date.
Last year’s winners Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad of Team RECM Specialized are favourites for this year’s Epic.
The Swiss/Danish duo will be pitted against Norwegian legend Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, possibly the most decorated mountain biker of all time.
The first time Epic rider will be partnered in Team World Bicycle Relief by Switzerland’s Kathrin Stirnemann, the current cross country eliminator world champion and an accomplished competitor herself.
Among the potential winners are the British/Slovenian combination of Sally Bigham and Blaža Klemenčič in Team Sellaronda/Topeak-Ergon.
Also near the front will be another two-time Absa Cape Epic winner Esther Süss, racing with Belgian marathon champion and 2014 Cape Pioneer Trek winner Alice Pirard in team Meerendal/Wheeler.
Süss recently won the Women’s Category of the inaugural Snow Epic in Switzerland.
Dark horses in this category will be Team Meerendal C’dale’s Dutch/Swiss pairing of Milena Landtwing and Hielke Elferink, who finished fourth together last year.
The leading South African in the field will probably be the current national marathon champion Robyn de Groot, who has teamed up with Jennie Stenerhag riding for Ascendis Health.
The latter, the Swedish national marathon champion who lives in South Africa, finished third in the 2014 Absa Cape Epic.