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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, March 21, 2013

Date published:
March 21, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Dietch and Böhme team up for Cape Epic

    Thomas Dietsch and Tim Böhme of Team Bulls finish during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race
    Article published:
    March 15, 2013, 21:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Bulls duo among the podium favorites

    Thomas Dietsch and Tim Böhme will race together as Team Bulls 2 at this year's Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, starting on Sunday, March 17. They are among the favorite teams expected to walk away with top honors.

    Dietsch, 38, is a five-time French marathon national champion, a cross country national champion, two-time European marathon champion, and past silver medallist at marathon Worlds.

    Böhme, 30, placed fourth at the 2011 marathon world championships, took bronze at the 2011 European Championships, is a two-time silver medalist at the German Marathon Championships and placed third in the 2009 TransAlp. He enjoys a top 20 world ranking.

    "It's one of the best races in the world, gets a lot of coverage and is great for preparing for the European season," said Böhme of the Cape Epic. He'll be racing it for the sixth time.

    "Thomas and I are a good combination as he's tall and I'm small, so I have a good position in the flats. We've raced together a lot and know how to work together. We'd really like some stage wins and an overall podium finish, so we're training hard. Last year we lost a stage win in a sprint and missed a podium finish by about 50 seconds. We want to try again this year."

    Experience will help the two riders toward their goals for this year's race.  "To complete this event successfully, you must have the fitness levels and mentality to fight for eight days," said Böhme. "The preparation and training before the event is very important. If you train well, you can go faster. Thomas and I are ready for the Epic and will race hard for a good result. Finishing in the top five will be a great result for us."


  • Experience will decide 2013 Cape Epic winners

    Four-time overall Cape Epic podium finisher Kevin Evans
    Article published:
    March 16, 2013, 9:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sidelined Kevin Evans offers race predictions

    Kevin Evans, South Africa's most prolific Cape Epic podium finisher, predicts that the 2013 edition will be a battle of the cross country specialists for early ascendancy, with experience becoming the key factor later on in the eight-day race that gets underway at Meerendal, Durbanville on Sunday.

    Evans is recovering from surgery to treat the persistent after effects of abdominal infection caused by a leaking appendix back in December 2011 and will miss the 2013 edition of the world's highest profile mountain bike stage race. It's the first edition in 10 years that he won't be starting as a rider.

    "I was feeling pretty down the last few days that I can't be starting the 10th anniversary event, but I've decided that I'll just enjoy the race from the outside as best I can."

    In addition to almost a decade of Cape Epic racing experience, which includes three third places and one second place, the FedGroup ITEC team member has some insider knowledge of route details too since his father, Leon Evans, is the course designer. Leon Evans is known to participants as Dr Evil for his lack of compassion when designing the route for the world's toughest mountain bike stage race.

    "My dad has once again thrown in some super tough sections that might not break bikes, but will definitely break spirits," said Evans. "It wouldn't be the Cape Epic without those sections, which turn the nicest people into cursing wrecks!"

    Evans believes that Sunday's short 23km prologue stage will see cross country specialists contesting the race's first yellow jersey.

    "Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower), Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (36ONE Songo Specialized) and Marco Fontana and Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) are sure to be the top three teams in the prologue....

  • Cape Epic coverage live on Cyclingnews

    Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen during the 2012 Cape Epic prologue
    Article published:
    March 16, 2013, 19:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Text feed and rider tracking for each stage

    Cyclingnews will be bringing you live coverage of the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race from Sunday, March 17 to Sunday, March 24.  To find out more about the world's most high profile mountain bike stage race, read the preview.

    Tune in to each day's race report page to follow the live action. Access each day's live and then post-race coverage from the main Cape Epic race section.

    Estimated times for top elite riders during each Cape Epic stage, in local South African time, are as follows:

    Prologue TT: 11:30 am to 1:14 pm
    Stage 1: 7:00 am to 11:35 am
    Stage 2: 7:00 am to 12:30 pm
    Stage 3: 7:00 am to 10:50 am
    Stage 4: 7:00 am to 11:43 am
    Stage 5: 7:00 am to 10:08 am
    Stage 6: 7:00 am to 11:23 am
    Stage 7: 8:30 am to 10:30 am


  • Married couple in quest to defend Cape Epic title

    Erik and Ariane Kleinhans of Team RE:CM are primed to defend their Mixed category title at the 2013 Cape Epic, which starts on Sunday.
    Article published:
    March 16, 2013, 19:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Erik and Ariane Kleinhans aim for victory in mixed category

    South African Erik Kleinhans and his Swiss wife, Ariane, are the undisputed fastest married couple in the world of marathon mountain bike racing. Last year, they won the Cape Epic mixed category against a classy field and also claimed the mixed division titles at the 2012 Nedbank Sani2c, Old Mutual joBerg2c and Columbia Grape Escape stage races.

    Racing for Team RE:CM in 2013, they've been in good form in their respective individual categories and are primed to defend their Cape Epic title when the 2013 edition of the mountain bike stage race starts in Durbanville, South Africa on Sunday.

    As professional mountain bike racers, they're in the rare position of spending more time together than most couples, tackling daily training rides in the trails around their home town of Stellenbosch, South Africa, spending up to six hours together on the bike and then more time together off the bike.

    "We separate our riding and racing from our personal life. We've learned to do that because racing mountain bikes is our job. We just happen to work together. In a way it's a benefit that we know each other so well because we can share concerns and calm one another's nerves ahead of a race a lot easier than other mixed teams who may not even do much training together," said Erik.

    While the strength of a mixed team is determined by the female's ability, the male's judgment and planning are key.

    "I need to know when Ariane's able to push hard and when she's tired. I need to know which technical terrain she can ride and which she'll be nervous of riding. I need to know how to motivate her and when to do so. There's a lot of emotion management that goes on in mixed team racing and it can make or break a stage performance."

    For Ariane, the biggest challenge is avoiding crashes and mechanical incidents. During the opening prologue stage last year, she damaged her front tyre...

  • Xterra world champ Paterson surprises with victory at Bonelli Park Pro XCT

    Lesley Paterson (Scott) in action
    Article published:
    March 19, 2013, 19:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Triathlete powers to cross country win at round two

    Xterra World Champion Lesley Paterson entered the Bonelli Park round of the US Pro XCT in California on Saturday as a good way to get in some extra training.

    When jokingly asked if she intended to go for a run to follow up her bike effort, she said, "I actually ran this morning before I came here and I've got a triathlon race in the morning back in Coronado, the Super Seal Olympic distance triathlon, so I've got to get on my triathlon bike - so I'm a busy girl."

    Not a regular on the Pro XCT mountain bike race season, Paterson had to start near the back of the women's field. Therefore she did not make the initial lead group including Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), Lea Davison (Specialized), Annie Last (Trek Factory Racing) and Chloe Woodruff (Crank Bros), but being a triathlete, she had now shortage of leg power and determination to bridge up. She did just that.

    "When I went got to the front, I just went hard and I thought, I'm not going to win a sprint so I'll just go as hard as I can and see what happens,"

    The she proceeded to drop the others one by one and went on to take the solo win by 20 seconds.

    Runner-up Batty held on the longest, but she eventually dropped off following a mis-shift on the final lap.

    "I just drove it for five to 10 minutes to make sure she couldn't get back, and then just kept opening the gap in the last lap," said Paterson.

    Third place finisher Davison had no idea who Paterson is, but it didn't take her long to figure it out.

    "We pro mountain bikers and the Xterra athletes don't often cross paths anymore, and I didn't know who she was, but then I saw some world champion's stripes on her kit, and I knew something was up," said Davison according to

  • Bishop and Batty lead Pro XCT standings

    Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Todd Wells (Specialized) early on lap one.
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 3:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Trek Factory Racing ranked as top team

    Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) vaulted into the USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) lead with their performances at the Bonelli Park US Cup, held on March 16-17 in San Dimas, California.


    With the absence of first-round winner Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing), Bishop and Todd Wells (Specialized Racing), who were second and third, respectively, in last week's standings, had the top spot in their sights heading into the Bonelli Park race.

    Bishop and Wells, along with Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain) quickly separated themselves from the pack, but as Bishop applied the pressure on the technical and warm course, Wells and Gagne could not keep pace and Bishop crossed the line with over a minute to spare on Gagne and over two minutes on Wells.

    With his victory, Bishop takes over the US Pro XCT men's standings lead with 450 points, followed by Wells with 350 points and Sam Schultz (Trek Factory Racing) with 280 points. McConnell and Gagne round out the top five of the men's standings with 250 and 200 points, respectively.


    Lesley Paterson (Scott Bicycles), the 2011 and 2012 XTerra Triathlon world champion, bested a field that included Olympic cross country mountain bikers Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing) and Annie Last (Trek Factory Racing) to claim victory on the redesigned course at Bonelli Park.

    After starting near the back row, Paterson caught up to the three Olympians on the second of five laps and then broke away with Batty on the third circuit. Paterson would slowly pull away from Batty to finish more than 20 seconds in front.

    The silver medal by Batty, along with her third-place finish at the Mellow Johnny's Classic season opener on March 2, gives the Canadian the series lead in the Pro...

  • Three tough days for Sauser and Kulhavy at Cape Epic

    Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy of Burry Stander-Songo ride to finish second after taking a wrong turn
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 20:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Technical problems and missed turn slow down pre-race favorites

    For pre-race favorites Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Burry Stander - Songo), the Cape Epic is not going as planned. After winning the prologue time trial, the Specialized racers have had something go awry on each of the three stages that followed.

    On Monday's stage 1, Sauser broke his wheel after it slammed into a rock on a high speed descent early in the day. His tire abruptly went flat and the wheel was damaged beyond field repair-ability, so they waited for their Burry Stander - Songo teammates Kohei Yamamoto and Max Knox, who traded out wheels. Eventually finishing fourth, the mechanical cost them time and the pair dropped to second place in the GC at 1:42

    Tuesday's stage 2 didn't go any better. Olympic champion Kulhavy snapped his chain on a downhill. While Kulhavy stopped and ran back to retrieve his chain, Sauser got the spare chain link all ready to install. Unfortunately, in the process of making the repair, Kulhavy broke the pin on his chain tool. The pressure was immense, with the race helicopter hovering overhead as the two favorites scrambled for a solution. The two improvised and were eventually able to get the link installed, but it cost them. They finished third on the day and dropped another spot to third overall after the stage, down 8:04 off the leading Bulls team of Karl Platt and Urs Huber.

    Bad luck often seems to come in threes and more misfortune happened during Wednesday's stage 3. Sauser and Kulhavy were riding a perfect tactical race, sitting in and then successfully timing their attack to get away off...

  • Stomach bug and antelope ruin Topeak-Ergon's Cape Epic

    Robert Mennen (Topeak Ergon)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2013, 20:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bad luck for Mennen and Landtwing in South Africa

    Both Topeak-Ergon teams experienced an early end to their Cape Epic mountain bike stage race due to some bad luck. Robert Mennen was injured in a collision with an antelope, and Milena Landtwing had to drop out due to a gastrointestinal infection.

    Known as the "untamed stage race", the Cape Epic has been living up to its name. Mennen had a direct encounter with an untamed antelope during stage 1. He crashed and broke his collarbone which meant he and his teammate Alban Lakata were officially out of the race. Both had been favorites for the men's podium after winning the Andalucia Bike Race a few weeks ago.

    "Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that something was approaching me pretty fast," said Mennen afterwards. "I was unable to avoid the collision, I wasn't even able to reach my brake levers." After the collision, he flew through the air Superman style.

    Mennen is not yet sure whether his collarbone will require surgery, but he is keeping a positive attitude either way. "I will just look at this injury as a longer winter break. I can't wait to get back into training and build up my strength. I will attack in the second part of the season."

    Lakata has continued on in the Cape Epic, not part of the overall official standings, but racing solo in the outcast jersey. "The Cape Epic was one of our highlights this year. We trained hard and we were really looking forward to race in South Africa," said Lakata. "Now I just want to see where I am standing and race against the best riders. This also brings a lot more competition experience for the rest of the season."

    The Topeak-Ergon women did not fare much better. Sally Bigham's teammate Milena Landtwing is suffering from a stubborn gastrointestinal infection and had to withdraw from the race. Both riders were also seen as top favorites for the overall women's win after they, too, won the Andalucia Bike...