After the curtains came down on Team Spur at the end of last season, Ariane Luthi is ready to begin a new chapter with her Kross teammate Maja Włoszczowska when they line-up for the Cape Epic this weekend.
While her former teammate Annika Langvad will be teaming up with world road champion Anna van der Breggen, Luthi needed a new partner for the eight-day race and Włoszczowska was the perfect fit for her.
“When Team Spur came to an end I needed a new team and when I saw Jolanda Neff leaving Kross I took a leap of faith and asked Maja to ride the Epic with me,” Luthi said at the pre-race press conference at the Tsogo Sun Hotel today.
“It was easier to get Maja to race the Epic but becoming part of the team was a bit harder.”
Włoszczowska, who claimed the Tour of Good Hope title last week, was delighted at Luthi joining the fold.
“I’m glad we managed to make it work for Ariane to join Kross. It makes racing a stage race a lot easier with both of us on the same bikes and using the same equipment.
“I was down to race the Epic with Jolanda last year but I’m glad now we didn’t start, [firstly] because of her injury, but also because I wasn’t ready yet.
“But now I feel I am, especially with Ariane riding with me.”
Strategically, Luthi has provided valuable input in their preparations, Włoszczowska explained.
“Her knowledge has really helped me prepare for the Epic. We have been talking a lot about the strategy and how to make the pace.
“Ariane is very strong on the flats and she will take the lead there. I am lighter and will lead on the climbs. And then she knows the trails very well so she will have to lead there too.”
The Epic is set to start with a 21km prologue at the foot of Table Mountain on Sunday.