Beers and Blevins win in tough Cape Epic prologue
Beers and Blevins set the fastest time in the Cape Epic prologue. The premiere was very close during the 27 km of the time trial and ended with a minimum difference of 7 seconds. Everything is now open for the real battle to begin tomorrow. In the women's category, Sofia Gomez and Katerina Nash were the fastest.
Beers-Blevins win a very tight time trial ahead of Schurter-Frischknecht
This year's edition of the Cape Epic 2023 started with the usual prologue in the form of a time trial. 27 kilometers with an elevation gain of 750 meters. An appetizer before tomorrow the riders dispute the first stage of a race that still has more than 600 kilometers ahead.
The venue chosen for the premiere of the Cape Epic 2023 was the Meerendal Wine Estate winery. Although the race had already visited this vineyard land eight times, it had not been here for six years.
Aware that the hard stages start tomorrow and will last until next Sunday, today was a day for testing and to evaluate the first sensations of the race. The differences seen in the prologue will not be representative for the general classification.
The men's category started with Schurter-Frischnecht as protagonists. The Swiss imposed a very strong pace in the early stages of the time trial and set the best time after 9.5 kilometers. The Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne Beers-Blevins team stopped the clock in a very similar time, only 9 seconds behind.
The advantage increased slightly at the halfway point of the race, although still with a tight margin of only 15 seconds difference. Behind, the Germans of the Orbea X Leatt X S.C - last year's winners - arrived at the detection point 40 seconds behind the virtual leaders.
The reduced differences between the pairs that momentarily occupied the first positions became even more evident at kilometer 19.5. It was then when Beers-Blevins took the lead, although almost matching Schurter-Frischknecht, who were 3 seconds behind.
Egger-Baum did the same and tightened even more the time trial to get less than half a minute. Enrique Morcillo closed the top-10 with his traveling companion Drechou and was the best placed Spaniard, 7 seconds faster than Valero and Rodriguez.
With only 2 kilometers to go, the gap between the three leading pairs was minimal: Beers-Belvins were still in the lead with a 7-second margin over the Scott-SRAM Swiss and 40 seconds over Egger and Baum.
Finally, Beers and Belvins kept their lead and set the fastest time of the day. They took the symbolic provisional lead by only 7 seconds over Schurter and Frischknecht. Shortly after arrived the duo formed by Egger and Baum, who after giving the surprise last edition, this time they already enter in all the odds as one of the favorites for the general classification.
Cape Epic 2023 Men's Category Results - Prologue
- Beers/Blevins (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne) 01:03:01
- Schurter/Frischknecht (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing) +7"
- Egger/Baum (Orbea x Leatt x Speed Company) +45"
- Steewald/Stosek (Canyon Nothwave MTB) +1'02"
- Rabensteiner/Alleman (Wilier Pirelli Factory) +1'41"
- Buys/Miller (PYGA Euro Steel) + 1'51"
- Vakoc/Stutzmann (Canyon Northwave) +2'04"
- Becking/Dias (BUFF Megamo) +2'07"
- Nibali/Porro (Italian Friends) +2'07"
- Drechou/Morcillo (BUFF Megamo 2) +2'46"
Sofía Gómez and Katerina Nash set the fastest time and will be the first to wear the orange jersey
The forecasts have also been fulfilled in the women's category and the riders who started as favorites have taken the first positions. The pair formed by Sofia Gomez and Katerina Nash became virtual leaders at kilometer 15, held the first position until the end and tomorrow will start with the orange jersey that identifies them as leaders of the general classification.
A great start for two riders who were among the rivals to beat before the start gun. The Argentinean was the winner of the Cape Epic 2022, while the veteran Czech cyclist is making her debut in this event at the age of 45.
Even so, the victory was very close, as they were only separated by a narrow margin of 7 seconds with the Africans Le Court and Looser. The Wakefild-Lill duo has also been very close -30 seconds- and have starred in one of the scares of the day when the South African has gone to the ground at the exit of a curve.
Cape Epic 2023 Women's Category Results - Prologue
- Gómez/Nash (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized) 01:18:57
- Le Court/Looser (Efficient Inifity Insure) +7"
- Wakefield/Lill (e-FORT.net) +30"
- Keseg Stevkova/Krahulcova (8capital) +5'34"
- Keep/Preen (Valley Electrical) +5'59"
- Hill/Harmzen-Pretorius (She Untamed) +7'52"
- Steinburg/Calderón (Cannondale Vas Arabay) +8'46"
- Wohlters/De Villiers (Bester Performance) +10'11"
- Venter/Johnson +13'29"
- Povey/Hanekom +15'01"