Riding it out alone: The Absa Cape Epic Stage 5

Of all the jerseys to be handed over at the Absa Cape Epic, there is one which no one covets. The Outcast jersey is worn by a rider whose partner has had to drop out the race due to illness or injury. In a race that is challenging enough with a partner, riding the Epic alone requires an entirely new level of physical and – most importantly – mental strength.

It cannot be denied that when it comes to thrill and suspense, the Women’s category has been the most riveting of this year’s Epic, with the top three women’s positions being highly contested.

Team Ascendis Health had a magnificent start, winning the Prologue and Stage 1, and coming second in Stage 2 and 3. Unfortunately, Jennie Stenerhag collapsed at the finish line of Stage 3, and was taken away on a stretcher. This marked the sad end of the Epic for the team. However, never to back down to a challenge, Robyn de Groot is continuing to ride, solo.

With Stage 5 being known as the most gruelling of this year’s race, we chatted to Robyn about completing the race alone. Although she smiled through the interview, Jennie’s absence is clearly an enormous blow for the South African cyclist. She says, “I probably have no words to describe the emotions that have been going on within myself the last couple of days. We were doing so nicely and… I think we both realised what we’re capable of. I’m just happy that she is OK.”

Robyn added that although the ride is lonely without Jennie, other riders have been very supportive and it’s this support, as well as messages from friends and family, that has kept her going.

Can’t cheer on Robyn and the rest of the #SasolEpicWomen from Boschendal? Check out our website for daily updates, and join the ride on Twitter using #SasolEpicWomen.

Although Robyn rode Stage 5 alone, she still finished with an impressive time. For an in-depth look into how Stage 5 played out for #SasolEpicWomen, click here.

© COPYRIGHT 2013 Sasol in Sport - Epic Women