The Dirt: Van der Breggen conquers Cape Epic with Langvad

In her first attempt at the eight-day Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race, world road champion Anna van der Breggen wins with teammate Annika Langvad.

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Reigning world road champion is now an Absa Cape Epic winner

Anna van der Breggen turned heads when she announced she’d race the Absa Cape Epic with four-time winner Annika Langvad. Could the world road champion handle the technical demands of an eight-day mountain bike stage race through South Africa? She could, and then some. The duo, riding for Investec-songo-Specialized won the overall by a staggering 30-minute margin.

“It was a really tough week. It was such a new experience and so nice to do something totally new and see the boundaries where you can push your body,” van der Breggen said.

“Sometimes I did not like the suffering, but it was such a nice thing to do. I do not think my body has ever been this tired and I do not think I have ever spent so many hours on the bike in one week. It was hard at the beginning, but now I know how it feels to achieve what we did.”

Cape Epic also crowned Nino Schurter and Lars Forster as overall champions on Sunday at the end of the men’s race. That Scott-SRAM duo wasn’t quite as dominant as Investec-songo-Specialized ladies, having lost the overall lead midway through the race due to a flat tire. However, Olympic and world champion Schurter helped his rookie teammate to victory by eight minutes over second place.

“Yesterday I was suffering and today I was suffering more,” Forster said. “Luckily I had a strong horse with me who still had some left in the tank.”

Schurter was pleased to earn his second overall victory in the stage race.

“This was amazing,” Schurter said. “It’s a really special one to win. It’s really tough to win this race you need to have a lot of good luck and a strong team. We are super stoked about it.”

While the Scott-SRAM men avoided bad luck for the most part, one of their key rival teams, Investec-songo-Specialized was out of the running on stage 3. Sam Gaze crashed on the first day. Though he tried to carry on with his teammate and defending champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, he had to pull out on Wednesday. A press release from his sponsor Specialized did not say what his specific injury was.

Overall men’s results

1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 26:09.45,5
2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 26:17.22,4 +7.36,9
3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 26:26.22,8 +16.37,3
4. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 26:35.53,4 +26.07,9
5. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 26:47.12,0 +37.26,5
6. BUFF SCOTT MTB 11-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Spain) 11-2 Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Spain) 26:48.23,2 +38.37,7
7. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 26:52.14,5 +42.29,0
8. 7C CBZ WILIER 2 32-1 Tony Longo (Italy) 32-2 Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) 27:05.24,9 +55.39,4
9. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 27:06.52,4 +57.06,9
10. Tbelles – ProtourBCN 43-1 Roberto Bou Martin (Spain) 43-2 Alberto Losada (Spain) 27:15.50,5 +1:06.05,0

Overall women’s results

1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 31:26.41,4
2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 31:57.04,1 +30.22,7
3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 32:35.09,3 +1:08.27,9
4. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 33:14.18,3 +1:47.36,9
5. Silverback – Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 33:23.26,7 +1:56.45,3
6. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 35:01.38,4 +3:34.57,0
7. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 35:53.18,6 +4:26.37,2

Stage 4 highlights:

Stage 5 highlights:

Stage 6 highlights:

Stage 7 highlights:

Courtney and Blevins win Pro XCT round 2 at Vail Lake, California

Pro women’s XCO top-10 results

1. KATE COURTNEY (Scott-SRAM), 01:30:00.773
2. ERIN HUCK (CZ Racing, 01:30:14.768
3. HALEY SMITH (Norco Factory Team), 01:33:08.847
4. SOFIA GOMEZ VILLAFANE (Stan’s-Pivot), 01:33:08.848
5. LEA DAVISON (Sho-Air Twenty20), 01:34:06.051
6. ROSE GRANT (Stan’s-Pivot), 01:34:30.913
7. SANDRA WALTER (Liv), 01:34:31.878
8. LAURIE ARSENEAULT (ACQ), 01:34:44.444
9. CAROLINE BOHE (Denmark), 01:35:19.800
10. ALEXIS SKARDA, 01:35:19.808

Pro men’s XCO top-10 results

1. CHRISTOPHER BLEVINS (Specialized), 01:38:07.961
2. PETER DISERA (Norco Factory Racing), 01:38:09.580
3. ANDREW L’ESPERANCE (Norco Factory Racing), 01:38:10.025
4. LEANDRE BOUCHARD (Pivot Cycles-OTE), 01:38:17.070
5. JOSE GERARDO ULLOA AREVALO (A.R Pro Cycling), 01:38:34.096
6. KEEGAN SWENSON (Stan’s-Pivot), 01:38:34.100
7. COLE PATON, 01:39:12.146
8. QUINTON DISERA (Norco Factory Team), 01:39:16.944
9. KOHEI YAMAMOTO, 01:39:30.164
10. ALEX WILD (Specialized), 01:40:00.174

Epic Rides Off-Road series: Register now to save

Russell Finsterwald
Russell Finsterwald climbed ahead of Payson McElveen in the 2018 Whiskey Off-Road. Photo: Dave McElwaine

If you have been on the fence about signing up for either the Whiskey Off-Road or the Grand Junction Off-Road, this is the week to make your move. Registration fees for both events increase $10 after midnight on March 31. Plus, if you sign up this week, you’re guaranteed an event tee-shirt. Head over to to sign up now.

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