In the Bunch will post photo albums from all eight stages of the 2017 Cape Epic throughout this year’s race.
Witness all the thrills and spills as well as the beautiful Western Cape scenery by browsing through the images below.
All photos are supplied courtesy of Mark Sampson, Dominic Barnardt, Nick Muzik, Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/Sportzpics.
Prologue – Meerendal Wine Estate (26km; 750m ascent)
The traditional prologue, which took place on a hot and dusty day at Meerendal, produced some stunning images.
Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini of Cannondale Factory Racing won the men’s race, while Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz of Ascendis Health claimed victory in the women’s race.
Stage one – Hermanus High School (101km; 2 300m ascent)
Stage one took riders on a challenging and technical 101km ride from Hermanus High School – which served as the finish venue as well.
Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing XC riders) won their second stage, while Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag (Meerendal CBC) took the win in the women’s race.
There was some drama on the stage when Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser (Investec-Songo-Specialized) lost time when Kulhavy fell after he punctured.
Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health) also had a nasty fall when she crashed off a bridge.
Stage two – Hermanus High School (62km; 1 500m ascent)
Stage two of the 2017 Cape Epic was shortened to 62km due to a heat and humidity warning.
Temperatures climbed well over the 30-degree mark.
Investec-Songo-Specialized’s Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy took the win on the day in the men’s category.
Meerendal CBC’s Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag were the women’s winners.
Stage three – Elandskloof (78km; 1 650m ascent)
The 78km third stage of the Cape Epic, which finished at Elandskloof in Greyton, was won by Swiss star Christoph Sauser and the Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy.
The women’s winners were Germany’s Sabine Spitz and South African Robyn de Groot from Ascendis Health.
The shorter stage included a series of climbs such as the Mad Dog Bite, Zig Zag and the UFO.
Stage four – Elandskloof (112km; 2 150m ascent)
It was a surprising win by Dutch mountain biker Michiel van der Heijden and Swiss teammate Andri Frischknecht of Scott-SRAM Young Guns.
It was Nino Schurter of Scott-SRAM MTB Racing who threw down the gauntlet, and in doing so helped guide his younger team to the stage victory.
In the women’s race Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag of Meerendal CBC claimed victory.
Sabine Spitz of Ascendis Health had some bad luck on the day when she sliced the sidewall of her front tyre and she and Robyn de Groot were forced to let the leaders ride off.
Stage five – Elgin (84km; 2 100m ascent)
Things switched up on stage five of the Cape Epic when Scott-Sram MTB Racing’s Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann took the win, with yesterday’s winners Scott-Sram Young Guns’ Michiel van der Heijden and Andri Frischknecht in second.
Schurter said that on the first big climb of the day he noticed that Investec-Songo-Specialized’s Christoph Sauser was struggling and that was when they decided to go for it.
Their win gave them the overall lead from Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini, who finished 10th after suffering a flat early in the stage.
Ascendis Health’s Sabine Spitz and Robyn de Groot won the women’s race, but Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag retained the yellow jersey.
Stage six – Elgin (103km; 2 750m ascent)
Scott-Sram MTB Racing’s Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann claimed another victory on stage six of the Cape Epic which started and finished at Oak Valley near Elgin.
South Africa’s Max Knox and Colombia’s Hector Leonardo Paez of Kansai Plascon finished third with Centurion Vaude’s Nicola Rohrbach and Daniel Geismayr.
The Swiss duo lead the general classification on a total time of 23:37:13.
Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro’s Mariske Strauss from South Africa and Annie Last from England claimed their first stage win of the race, but Meerendal CBC’s Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag maintain the lead with an overall time of 28:05:01.
Stage seven – Oak Valley (85km; 1 350m ascent)
Overall winners of the 2017 Cape Epic are Scott-Sram MTB Racing’s Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann who took third on the final stage which finished at Val de Vie.
Scott-Sram Young Guns’ Michiel van der Heijden and Andri Frischknecht won their second stage, with Trek-Selle San Marco 2’s Damiano Ferraro and Fabian Rabensteiner in second.
Second overall was Investec-Songo-Specialized’s Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy, while Centurion Vaude 2’s Nicola Rohrbach and Daniel Geismayr claimed third.
The women’s champions are Meerendal CBC’s Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag who finished third on the stage after Ascendis Health’s Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz and Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro’s Mariske Strauss and Annie Last – who are third and second on the overall standings respectively.