The 20th Absa Cape Epic Off To A Blazing Start

The 2024 Absa Cape Epic roared into life on 17 March with some furious action on the foothills of the Hottentots Holland Mountains at Lourensford Wine Estate.


As has become tradition, the 2024 Absa Cape Epic started with a team time trial Prologue – a chance for amateurs to test their legs and an opportunity for the elite teams to gauge their opponents.

The Prologue, over 26km, saw teams pitted against the clock on a course characterised by short, steep climbs through vineyards and orchards, as well as flowy singletrack downhill sections. What the day will be remembered for, however, is heat. The temperature pushed up into the early 30s with little respite from the southeasterly breeze. The conditions also turned the Lourensford switchbacks into dusty sand traps. The traps got the better of a few amateurs but also managed to up-end Imbuko’s Marco Joubert. It didn’t do much to slow Joubert down though and he and partner Wessel Botha blazed through the course to hold the fastest time for quite a while. They would eventually finish in fourth overall.  The fastest team over the course was multiple Absa Cape Epic champion Nino Schurter and Sebastian Fini riding for World Bicycle Relief. They were followed by the Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne outfit of two-time defending champ, Matt Beers and 2018 winner, Howard Grotts. Hans Becking and Wout Alleman of Buff Megamo rounded out the podium.

“It was brutal out there.”

For seven-time starter and former winner Schurter, this was only his second Prologue win at the Absa Cape Epic. “Coming here from Europe, I thought ‘Okay, it’s not too hot’ but it was brutal out there. On the climbs, the air was just standing still – so I think maybe we went too fast in the beginning and suffered towards the end, but still very happy with the result,” he mused.

In the Aramex Women’s category, Ghost Factory Racing and Cannondale Factory Racing (Candice Lill and Mona Mitterwallner) appeared to be neck-and-neck in the early stages, but the heat proved too much for Austrian rider Mitterwallner. Cannondale Factory Racing faded towards the end of the stage, allowing Ghost Factory Racing’s Terpstra and Koller to surge ahead.

“We are very happy with a stage win,” said Terpstra. “We weren’t expecting that at all. We just wanted to ride at our own pace but then we started going nicely and getting faster. It was hot out there. And dusty. I am looking forward to a shower!”


Exxaro Special Jersey
Fairtree DPworld Cannondale secured the top position with Kusaselihle Ngidi and Damon Terblanche finishing in 1 hour, 14 minutes, and 46 seconds. They will don the green jerseys in Tulbagh. The Coopetto followed closely behind, claiming second place with Halalisani Njabulo Ndebele and Siyanda Gumede crossing the finish line just 14 seconds later, clocking in at 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Absa African Men
Marco Joubert and Wessel Botha of Imbuko A finished the stage in fourth overall to storm into the red Absa African Special jersey. In the women’s race, Efficient Infiniti Insure’s Steph Wohlters and Danielle Strydom have a 2:24 buffer over Sarah Hill and Hayley Smith of #SheUntamed.


Toyota Gazoo Racing, Riaan Weideman and Samantha Sanders took line honours with e-FORT Mix team, represented by Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius and Alexander Lawrance some 44 seconds back. The CBZ Asfaltos team, led by Alejandro Blanco and Kristel Espinoza rounded out the stage podium.

NTT Masters Men
Bulls Masters team, represented by multiple Absa Cape Epic champ, Karl PLATT and Tomás Misser Vilaseca, claimed the top spot overall with an impressive time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, and 34 seconds. They were closely followed by Team CzechRocket & SwissDiesel, comprising Pavel Gonda and Tobias Lüthi, who secured the second position overall with a commendable time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 17 seconds, trailing the Bulls Masters by 1 minute and 43 seconds. The Absa Masters team, led by Craig Uria and Michael Posthumus crossed the line in third.

Masters Women
In the Masters Women category, Untamed Spirit, with Marisa Van Der Linde and Mari Du Toit, secured first place. Asterix&Cleopatra, represented by Nina Brenn and Barbara Schwarz, claimed second place. Taking the third spot is ILoveBoobies #FortyFour, led by Chantélle Bosch and Jozanne Louw.

Grand Masters Men
In the Grand Masters Men category, TMI Velopartz Racing clinched first place. Truls & Vidar secured second place. Garra secured the third spot.

Grand Masters Women
In the Grand Masters Women category, Toyota Memory Keepers emerged victorious. Rola Motor Group claimed second place and Absolutely SheUntamed rounded out the top three positions.

Great Grand Masters Men
Toshiba Namibia demonstrated exceptional performance, clinching the top spot. 64 CC secured second place. Ernesto Cycling secured the third position.

Stage 1 Preview

Stage 1 of the Absa Cape Epic promises to be a classic marathon day, featuring challenging climbs that are bound to split up the field and separate contenders from those feeling the ill effects of their efforts in the heat at Lourensford. The heat will no doubt remain a theme however as it is forecast to push well up into the mid-thirties (Centigrade) on Monday. While the course seems favourable on paper for many teams, recent years have shown that the long first stage often provides big shake-ups. The final climb, Fanties Pass, is arguably the toughest single climb of this year’s race. Stay tuned to the live stream for fireworks!

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