Former pro rider Rene Haselbacher has finished the ABSA Cape Epic in 22nd place, along with his partner Renay Groustra. The South African mountain bike stage race featured a prologue and seven stages.
Haselbacher rode professionally for Gerolsteiner (1999-2006), Astana (2007-2008) and Vorarlberg-Corratec before retiring in 2010. He has since moved from Austria to South Africa.
Since retiring from the road, “I have become a big MTB fan, have ridden the Crocodile Trophy in Australia twice. I simply enjoy the difference bween road cycling and MTB, it is probably like the difference between Formula One and rally sport. For me, this Cape Epic was not a comeback, I simply wanted to taste the race atmosphere again.”
The event is always entered by two-person teams. Things started out hard for “Hasi” and Groustra, but then got better every day. “There were some very hard days with great single trails and many passages you had to run. The mood here with so many onlookers was super. We could successively fight our way up and in the end landed in 22nd place.
“We hadn't expected this result, especially because I only had three weeks to get ready. But after 14 years as pro cyclist, my body could take the hardships well. I still have a big racing motor, it had just gotten a little rusty..."