Anna van der Breggen and Annika Langvad of Investec-Songo-Specialized celebrate after winning stage SIX of the Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike race on Saturday. The two riders went on to win stage seven and the overall race on Sunday. Photo: Shaun Roy/Cape Epic

STELLENBOSCH  Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) collected their seventh stage win at the Cape Epic to give Langvad her fifth victory in the gruelling eight-day race.

On Sunday at Val de Vie Estate, the five-time World Marathon Champion Langvad, and World Road Race and Olympic Champion Van der Breggen broke away from Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) within the last kilometre of the final stage to complete a one-sided victory.

The Investec-songo-Specialized pair established their superiority on the opening prologue on the slopes of Table Mountain National Park a week ago and never looked like being headed throughout the eight stages around the Western Cape.

Even when Lill and Morath pounced on the chance of a stage win on Friday, when Van der Breggen was having a rare off day, it always looked like nothing more than a temporary setback for the dominant race winners.

In the 70km final stage from Stellenbosch University to Val De Vie Estate, Lill and Morath ended just 17 seconds behind but were over 30 minutes behind on GC. Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) finished third on both the stage and overall standings.

Langvad was surprisingly calm about collecting her fifth win and matching the record of Cape Epic greats Karl Platt and Christoph Sauser; her focus was rather on Van der Breggen and her first victory.

“The Absa Cape Epic is always so intense, the ups and downs … it has been so emotional this year. It has been such a good week and I have really enjoyed riding with Anna and forming a new partnership. It has been a blast,” said Langvad.

“Every single time the Absa Cape Epic races are different. Bringing a roadie into the Absa Cape Epic and transforming her into a mountain biker has been so awesome. Watching her improving day by day has been such a great experience.”

Van der Breggen looked relieved to have completed what she believes to be her biggest ever week on a bike.

“It was a really tough week. It was such a new experience and so nice to do something totally new and see the boundaries where you can push your body. 

“Sometimes I did not like the suffering, but it was such a nice thing to do. I do not think my body has ever been this tired and I do not think I have ever spent so many hours on the bike in one week. It was hard at the beginning, but now I know how it feels to achieve what we did.”

In the race for the African Women’s Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk comfortably completed the stage in sixth position, the same place they ended all week, winning the Jersey for 2019. 

Results

1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 03:33.46,1

2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 03:34.03,5 +17,4

3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 03:40.18,4 +6.32,3

Overall Results

1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 31:26.41,4

2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 31:57.04,1 +30.22,7

3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 32:35.09,3 +1:08.27,9

African News Agency (ANA)