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Lüthi and Wakefield Pair Up for Absa Cape Epic Campaign

Ariane Lüthi and Amy Wakefield (née McDougall) pair up for the first time in their combined 12 Absa Cape Epic experiences. They do however have a successful history of racing together to fall back upon. 

When Ariane Lüthi and Amy Wakefield (née McDougall) roll off the Absa Cape Epic start line, at Lourensford Wine Estate on 20 March, it will be their first start in The Race That Measures All together. They have, however, raced a week-long stage race together before, but that was back in 2017 and the experience of battling through difficulty to win that race should serve them well.  

 “Ariane and I formed a bond when she took me under her wing during a trip to Europe in 2017,” Wakefield clarified. “I was traveling alone to compete in the Marathon World Champs and had no support. Not only was I completely on my own, but I also had the wrong bike for the course, but still managed to perform relatively well. She then asked me to race the Cape Pioneer Trek with her and dragged us to a win by the skin of my teeth.”  

 “I needed to look for a new partner since Robyn de Groot didn’t find enough funding to continue her racing career at the time,” Lüthi clarified. “Though I’ve heard a rumour that Robyn’s break might not be that long… It was an obvious choice to ask Amy as I really enjoyed racing with her before. The time we spent together, I laughed at least as much as I suffered while racing. She has a wealth of experience in stage racing and knows how to race as a pair, which is important especially in the Epic Series races. I am very excited to team up with her again and follow her fast lines through the trails.” 

 The 2022 Absa Cape Epic route features two stages over 100-kilometres in length, and two more that measure in just under the century mark. This creates a different dynamic to the racing, especially with Stage 2, at 118-kilometres, being the longest day in the race since 2018. “I think it adds an element of unknown, because there are so many factors involved in who will rise to the top which is really exciting,” Wakefield stated of the route. “There is no way to predict anything, though, and we will just have to wait and see how the Absa Cape Epic unfolds.”  

Lüthi hails from Switzerland but has spent a great deal of her time living and racing in South Africa and she is starting her 10th Absa Cape Epic in 2022. In a search to link her home regions she has partnered with one of the Swiss Epic, in Graubünden’s, official charities: Pump for Peace. The programme is the charitable arm of Claudio Caluori’s Velosolutions pump track building company and specialises in building tracks in underprivileged communities.  

“Pump for Peace has already built pump tracks in the Izimbali township, in Durban; in Roma, Lesotho; and in Turkey close to the Syrian border” Lüthi explained. “The aim of Pump for Peace is to make cycling more inclusive, by making it and other action sports more accessible. As an organisation they already support the Velosolutions Izimbali Cycling Team, an all-female team of young riders from the township in Durban, and Kothalang Leuta, from Lesotho, who qualified for the Pump Track World championship.” 

“This year there will be two riders racing in the Pump for Peace – Velosolutions Racing Team colours on the UCI World Cup circuit,” Lüthi smiled. “The project came about when 7-time Iranian XCO Champion Faranak Partoazar, who I met at the 2021 Swiss Epic when she raced with Claudio, told me she needed a team to support her at World Cups. I assisted her with my contacts to find a team, but wasn’t successful until I got Claudio on the phone who was immediately keen to help.” 

“Tumelo Makae, the 5-time Lesotho National Champion and a registered UCI coach complete the team,” she added. “Both riders are not only amazing athletes, but also tell incredibly inspiring stories about how they have overcome hardships in pursuit of their goals. They are very motivated to pave the way for future generations of riders from their countries.”  

 

“While I will also be proudly wearing Pump for Peace on my chest, I am only there to add support to the team” Lüthi concluded.  “This team is a little dream come true for me. It is hopefully only the beginning of a long and fruitful journey.”  

To follow Team Symbtech ZA’s progress through the 2022 Absa Cape Epic visit cape-epic.com and watch the racing action unfold from 20 – 27 March.  

 

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