Sina Frei and Laura Stigger (NinetyOne–songo-Specialized), both riding in the Absa Cape Epic for the first time, laid down an impressive marker during Sunday’s 20km Prologue.
The Swiss-Austrian combo rode serenely and smoothly in wet and slippery conditions to claim top spot on the Absa Cape Epic Prologue podium in a time of 54:08.6. The Table Mountain based Prologue is a fast and furious affair, with non-stop climbing and one or two technical descents. Frei and Stigger had no issues with the ups nor the downs.
Mud-splattered by the finish, the pair were delighted with their efforts. “It was really tough out there today thanks to the weather, but we are used to those conditions from some of our recent XCO rides, so we handled it well,” said Stigger.
Frei added, “We are very happy with the result, but we know there are seven hard days to come. Today went well, though. It was very good for us, and we both felt great throughout the day. We kept up a good speed and we communicated well – so hopefully we keep that up over the next few days.”
The all-South African pair of Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss (Faces CST) claimed second spot on the Prologue podium, finishing in 55:41, around 90 seconds behind NinetyOne-songo-Specialized. The pair were relaxed throughout and finished the 20km race all smiles and ready to move on to the longer stages.
In third, it was Ariane Lüthi & Robyn de Groot (Salusmed). Lüthi, a three-time winner in the Elite women’s race, and De Groot looked comfortable throughout the Prologue, which is not generally the strength of the two renowned marathon riders. The pair will be serious contenders at the 2021 Absa Cape Epic, with their third-place Prologue finish setting them up nicely to attack in the coming days.