Foto story



    Words Christopher Wefing  | Photos Constantin Fiene & Remy Vroonen 

The lightest bike isn’t necessarily the fastest bike. For the shortest possible time over marathon distances, one day or stage racing, reliability, serviceability and function are the vital technical criteria. Each year, the Absa Cape Epic provides the ultimate test bed for both the riders and the bike components. If the bikes get through this, they’ll get through anything.

The 2018 Cape Epic route saw a return to previous formats, with a prologue and full-on race stages all the way to the end. Some raw figures: 653km total distance, 15,530m of climbing, 8 days of racing with 4 back-to-back days over 100km.

In this year’s race, the teams of Centurion Vaude, and KMC-Ekoi-SRSUNTOUR, riding the Axon Werx, were amongst the favourites for podium places.  A race of this scale, with such incredible demands on the riders and equipment, is even unpredictable than most races. If it can happen, it does happen. This year, before the race had even got started, Centurion Vaude suffered a major blow as Jochen Kaes was forced to withdraw through injury. To add insult to injury, during the race, Jochen’s replacement, Jodock Salzmann, fell victim to a stomach problem which prematurely ended this talented young rider’s stab at the Epic.

The prologue on the eve of the first stage, took the riders up and around the iconic Table Mountain. Any time advantage gained here would set down a marker to the other teams. With their 18 second gap to Cannondale Factory Racing, Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach, stormed into the race lead ensuring they were in the leader’s jerseys for the first full stage. The role of SRSUNTOUR’s lock-out system was a key element to the Axon Werx’s performance during the mountain time-trial.

The importance of the suspension in marathon racing is often overlooked. Going full-gas for four, five or six hours, takes it out of you, especially over consecutive days. The role of suspension in reducing fatigue is one which the riders and our technical staff haven’t ignored. The effects of fatigue are not limited to the legs, when a rider is tiring, decision making can suffer. Staying sharper mentally for longer is again a consequence of suspension.

Ensuring optimum performance in the suspension systems through a stage race such as the Cape Epic, feeds into this notion of fatigue reduction. Such are the demands on mechanics during marathon racing, it is a clear advantage when the serviceability of the systems is stress free. SRSUNTOUR is well aware of this aspect in their development of the QSP principle, focussing on sealed cartridge systems.

Unfortunately for Daniel and Nicola, they were unable to carry the leader’s jerseys all the way to overall victory. An outstanding 5th place on GC to add to the prologue victory was reward for the riders’ strength and determination. Equally, it was reward for SRSUNTOUR's commitment to rider-feedback driven development.

Remember, the fastest bike isn’t always the lightest bike.

When the helicopter appears and you see the dust wall rolling in you know it's time to get your cameras ready to shoot.
After winning the prologue Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach lined up on the first row in the leaders‘ jerseys for stage number 1.
The "village" moves from stage to stage every day.
The warm-up begins an hour before the start, at 6am. 
After every race day the complete bike gets stripped down, cleaned and rebuilt.
Markus Kaufmann from Centurion Vaude Team.
Victor Koretzky and Jordan Sarrou from 
the KMC EKOI SRSUNTOUR team are XCO specialists. The multi stage marathon race is a whole new experience for them. 
Annie Last from KMC EKOI SRSUNTOUR team finished 3rd in the overall. 
Daniel Geismayr and Nicola Rohrbach in the lead. 
The CENTURION VAUDE team is a regular to this event. They are always contenders for the podium.