Anna van der Breggen and Annika Langvad are off to a winning start at Cape Epic in South Africa after claiming both the prologue and the first stage of the world-class mountain bike stage race that runs from March 17-24.
The Boels Dolmans teammates, racing under Investec-songo-Specialized at Cape Epic, announced they would participate in the event together in January. Van der Breggen is the current road world champion and Langvad is a former five-time marathon world champion, and was the cross-country world champion in 2016. She has won Cape Epic four times and is the defending champion. They prepared for Cape Epic at the Sunshine Cup earlier this winter.
Van der Breggen is relatively new to mountain biking having only just competed in her first World Cup last year. Langvad said she was pleased to race it this year with Van der Breggen. "Riding with Anna during the Cape Epic is of course also exciting for me. We both bring different experiences to play. In this respect it is also a new adventure for me. I am sure that we will form a strong team."
The pair recently raced on the road with Boels Dolmans at the first Women's WorldTour race Strade Bianche, where Langvad showed her top form placing second behind winner Annemiek van Vleuten. It was Langvad’s first WorldTour race and she will likely play a key role in the team’s Classics campaign.
Van der Breggen also announced that she might skip her defense at Tour of Flanders held on April 7 citing not enough time to recover after Cape Epic.
The Absa Cape Epic must be completed by both members of a two-person team with only 650 teams allowed to ride the race. The route changes every year, leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through roughly 700 untamed kilometres of unspoilt scenery and 15,000m of accumulated climbing.
Langvad and Van der Breggen ride for the Investec-Songo-Specialized team, besides being the Specialized factory team they also ride for the Songo foundation. A good cause project for children in South-Africa that aims to give children a chance to become confident, well-rounded individuals who are gainfully employed and contributing members of the community, according to a team press release.