BOX 5, Westhoven, 2142
The battle for victory in the men’s final Stage was intense and only decided during the final kilometre of the race. Unfortunately, Toyota Specialized’s Matt Beers and Chris Blevins were put on the back foot after a tough day during stage 1 and played catch up daily. They could not pull back enough time to battle for the race win but rode exceptionally well during the event to win two stages and finish in third place overall.
“The last day was one of the hardest numbers-wise it was the second hardest day out there. We knew it would be hard with the two teams fighting for the win, but we left everything out there, and we are proud of our performance in the race. It was cool rolling into the finish and celebrating all that was this Cape Epic experience. There were so many stories and ups and downs and just grateful to be part of this team,”said Blevins.
For defending champion Beers, it was a bittersweet day. “It was a big rollercoaster this Epic. I think we managed it well and being on the podium is still a great result. It is the hardest Epic I have done in terms of route and elevation, and Chris was an amazing partner. His support during the difficult times was incredible, and without him, we would not have been able to manage 3rd place. Thank you to the Specialized family for the support; without them, this would not be possible,” he said.
According to Specialized Team Principal, Benno Willeit: “Yes, we were a little nervous before the start of the race. We brought a young team to the race with little experience, which is always challenging. The Cape Epic is hard for the riders, but it is also hard for the team and the staff. However, the whole team got together very quickly, and each and every person pulled their weight. Both the staff and riders showed that they are capable of racing and competing at the front end of the field and conducted themselves as true professionals. The racing was tough on both the men and women’s categories, and I am proud of how we performed during the eight days at the Cape Epic.”
The young team of Tristan Nortje and Cameron Mason improved on each stage and consistently finished inside the top 10 after the very tough stage 2. Ultimately, they finished in 17th position overall and gained invaluable experience.
“When I was a little kid, I looked at the Cape Epic videos with Christoph Sauser and some of the best riders in the world, and it inspired me to ride my bike. Now I am one of the riders in the video, and I am thankful for my partner, Tristan, who helped me through the race. We learned many lessons and gained experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my career,” Mason said.