Nino Schurter and Lars Forster won the Prologue of the 2019 Absa @CapeEpic Epic on the slopes of Table Mountain ahead of Cannondale Factory Racing and KROSS-SPUR. Photo: Bike Hub/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – Nino Schurter and Lars Forster of Team Scott-Sram MTB-Racing won the prologue of the Cape Epic on the slopes of Table Mountain ahead of Cannondale Factory Racing and Kross-Spur on Sunday.

The cross country specialist finished in a time of 00:43:41.5, some 41 seconds ahead of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini to claim the Yellow Leader’s Jersey.

“The course suited us quite well,” said 32-year-old Schurter, who won the 2017 Cape Epic with Matthias Stirnemann.

The multiple World and World Cup champion is racing with Swiss compatriot and Cape Epic debutant Forster, this year. “We are cross country racers and this is our strength, so we are very happy with the win,” he said.

“We want to win the whole race, so hopefully everything goes according to plan for the next seven days.”

Forster led Schurter down the Land Rover Technical Terrain section on the infamous Plum Pudding. At this point the pair had a lead of around 12 seconds, a gap they had already built up at the second time check on the 20-kilometre route, which featured some 600 metres of climbing. 

For most of the five-time checks, they were followed closely by the South African SpecializedFoundationNAD pairing of Matt Beers and Alan Hatherly, before disaster struck less than two kilometres from the finish, in the form of a puncture. The setback saw them eventually finish fifth overall, behind Cannondale Factory, Kross-Spur and 7C CBZ Wilier.

The popular Cannondale Factory pairing of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini had a great day out, much to the delight of the local fans who lined the route, despite the unseasonably cold and wet weather.

“We showed today that our form is in a good place and I am really happy how we went,” said Avancini, who arrived in the country only this week, after some extensive travel delays. “We are in a good place for the rest of the week, let’s see how it all goes,” he said.

Stage Results

1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 00:43,41,5

2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 00:44,22,6 +1.00,0

3. KROSS-SPUR 14-1 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 14-2 Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 00:44,34,2 +1.00,0


Overall Results


1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 00:43,41,5

2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 00:44,22,6 +1.00,0

3. KROSS-SPUR 14-1 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 14-2 Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 00:44,34,2 +1.00,0

4. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 00:44,48,8 +1.00,0

5. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 00:45,04,0 +2.00,0

6. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 00:45,26,0 +2.00,0

7. 7C CBZ WILIER 2 32-1 Tony Longo (Italy) 32-2 Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) 00:45,29,7 +2.00,0

8. InvestecsongoSpecialized 1-1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) 1-2 Sam Gaze (New Zealand) 00:45,32,3 +2.00,0

9. CST Sandd 19-1 Sebastian Fini (Denmark) 19-2 Martins Blums (Latvia) 00:45,46,8 +2.00,0

10. Centurion Vaude 9-1 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 9-2 Jochen Kaess (Germany) 00:45,51,3 +2.00,0

African News Agency (ANA)