Battle lines were drawn after the first stage of the Absa Cape Epic in Hermanus on Monday . It was a day when the front runners bristled with each other, some crashed and others put on a show of utter dominance.
After 111km and 2,700m of climbing, Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen, and Nino Schurter and Lars Forster won the stage in the women’s and men’s category, and extended the lead they had grabbed after the prologue on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday. Schurter, riding with Swiss compatriot Forster (Scott-Sram), shrugged off accusations of trash talk from the second-placed Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic, the Brazilian-German pair riding for Team Cannondale. They had ridden off the challenge of the Cannondale pair to extend their overall lead to three minutes and 33 seconds, but there were words exchanged that suggest this race has some distance left to run.
“They [Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing] were very strong today,” said Avancini. “Lars is a world class rider and Nino is perhaps the best . But, it would be nice to have some microphones on the bikes so that people could hear the real Nino.
He’s always having a go at everyone. It’s fine, I will show him little by little. In this type of race, I am really confident.
I trust my legs, my body, my partner and my team.