Annika Langvad and her novice partner Kate Courtney took top honours in the women's event of the Cape Epic Prologue on Sunday. Photo:

CAPE TOWN – Three-time winner Annika Langvad and her novice partner Kate Courtney combined perfectly to win the women’s Prologue of the Cape Epic on Sunday at the University of Cape Town and will take a confidence-boosting 72-second lead into stage one.

The vastly-experienced Langvad and her 22-year-old American partner combined perfectly despite Sunday’s Prologue being the first time they have raced together as a team.

The Investec Songo Specialized pair’s time of 53 minutes 18.5 seconds for the 20km course on the slopes of Table Mountain was 1:12.6 ahead of Langvad’s partner when she won in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Switzerland’s Ariane Lüthi, who has teamed up with Belgium’s Githa Michiels (Spur).

They were followed home by two South African / European combinations, with Robyn de Groot and German veteran Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health/ WIAWIS Bikes) third, 2:14.2 behind the leaders and in turn just one second ahead of Mariske Strauss and her English partner Annie Last (Silverback – KMC).

The first all-South African combination was Candice Lill and Amy Beth McDougall (dormakaba) who are fifth, 3.20.8 behind Langvad and Courtney.

Langvad, who added a fourth Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship title to her name in 2017, was very happy with the new combination after a near-perfect day on the bike.

“We had a really good strategy in our mind and it played played out to perfection today,” she said after crossing the line.

“Kate and I have not ridden as a team together but I was really surprised at how well it worked. I think we had it dialled in from the first pedal stroke – it felt really good.

“The course was a bit more dry and loose from all the riders who had gone through, but I knew it was going to be that way. I was very cautious on the loose areas and then tried to push hard on the other areas.”

In the men’s event,  Centurion Vaude combination of Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach claimed top spot in 45:23.3. A matter of 18 seconds behind were Cannondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini, with Francesc Carretero and Luis Pinto third 46.6 seconds behind for Buff Scott MTB. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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