Sauser returns after a year in retirement and will be racing as team Investec-songo-Specialized alongside Jaroslav Kulhavy.
They teamed up successfully before having won the Cape Epic in 2013 as Burry Stander-songo and in 2015 in the colours of Investec-songo-Specialized.
In 2016 Sauser took up a coaching and mentoring role with the Specialized XCO Racing team, in addition to working with the Specialized engineers on product development.
He offered his wealth of experience to mountain biking’s rising stars U23 World Champion Sam Gaze and multiple junior champion Simon Andreassen, as well as to three-time Cape Epic winner and current XCO World Champion, Annika Langvad.
But his famous competitive streak was not satisfied by sharing in the victories of his protégées and after a highly competitive showing alongside Gaze at the Wines2Whales, Sauser is confident he can compete at the highest level.
“Since my retirement I have kept on riding my bikes, because it remains my passion. I never did intervals, just much more riding my trail bikes,” said Sauser.
“During the past weeks after I signed up for a South African stage race, and raced it with U23 World Champion Sam Gaze, I realized that I quickly gained deep shape during my training and I was happy with my numbers.”
Sauser’s bid for a sixth Cape Epic title will be built on training blocks in Switzerland and from his second home in Stellenbosch, where he says he is looking forward to re-joining his old training group.
He will also be racing extensively between now and March with the Origin of Trails, the Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge, the Tankwa Trek, the Tour of Good Hope and the Champions Race all on his schedule.