Specialized Racing confirmed that defending Cape Epic champion Christoph Sauser will be partnering with 2012 Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy for this year's race as previously reported on Cyclingnews. The pair will be riding in memory of Burry Stander, Sauser's teammate last year at the mountain bike stage race. Stander was hit by a car and killed while training on his bike in South Africa in early January.
"Nobody can replace Burry, because we all have individual personalities! I am so fortunate that Jaro can fill in the big gap for Burry at the Cape Epic," said Sauser. "We cannot wait to race our hearts out for Burry, his family, friends, his foundation Songo and ourselves too. It will be my most emotional Cape Epic ever."
Sauser is fresh off winning the Attakwas Extreme Challenge this weekend, a marathon victory he dedicated to Sauser.
2013 will mark Kulhavy's first appearance at the legendary eight-day stage race across South Africa. "I was called by teammate Christoph Sauser, who asked that we partner up and ride this great race in Burry's honor," said Kulhavy. "I now want to win this race more than ever in memory of my teammate and good friend, Burry."
Specialized S-Racing Team director David Hyam followed Sauser's comments with further support. "The experience of Christoph combined with the immense power and strength of Kulhavy provides a formidable force which will be hard to beat," said Hyam.
"Under such tragic circumstances with the recent loss of one of our teammates, this has only solidified and united the team even more. Through Burry's death, the entire Specialized Racing Mountain Bike Team is more motivated than ever to succeed and ride to the best of their ability in Burry's honor. Burry will always remain foremost in our minds and will live on in our hearts forever," said Hyam.