The Absa Cape Epic is one of the biggest and most pretigious cycling races in the World, and today the Novus OMX Pro Team of Martin Gujan and Fabian Giger won the opening stage.
The Zebra leader’s jersey is on their backs and the World’s MTB media is hanging on their every word. The eyes of Cape Town and World cycling is on them.
Martin and Fabian were relaxed as they arrived at the University of Cape Town ahead of the Cape Epic prologue and went about their warm-up and pre-race preparations. However, as they lined up on the start ramp the race faces came on. They were definitelty ready for business!
The prologue was a 20km loop around the lower contours of the iconic Table Mountain, each pair with a specified start time for the time trial. The boys clocked the fasted time at checkpoint one, but the favourites were still to come. Out on the mountain Martin and Fabian were riding full gas; “we didn’t come here for a holiday!”, said Martin in the subsequent press conference.
As the big contenders made their way through the checkpoints Martin and Fabian dropped for a while to second place but then regained the lead and came across the finish line with the fastest time so far. Then it was a waiting game.
After their warm down, the boys came back to the arena just in time to see the final pair cross the line and hear the announcement that they, Novus OMX Pro Team, were the winners of the opening stage. Big smiles spread across their faces and high-fives went round. For the riders and for the team, this was a very big moment.
When you are on the podium at a World-class race like this, the rider’s work doesn’t stop at the finish line. Television interviews and photographs followed the race, and then it was onto the podium, the press conference and anti-doping.
Finally it began to sink in.
“It wasn’t expected”, said Fabian, “maybe third or fifth, but not the win.”
The short distance suited the cross-country specialists and played to the strengths of the Novus OMX team. “It looks like we have good shape and work well together”, surmised Martin.
What a start to the Cape Epic! Fabian and Martin have already achieved their goal and they have the additional honour of wearing the leader’s jersey.
Stage two, here we come!