A truly international race: The Absa Cape Epic Stage 4

When we spoke to some of the international riders on registration day, the responses were unanimous – what attracts people to the Absa Cape Epic is not just the breathtaking beauty and opportunities to meet like-minded women riders, but the extreme test of will and mental strength offered by the gruelling stage race. This year, #SasolEpicWomen teams from no less than 16 countries began the race, and although some have dropped out along the way, riders from France, Spain, Slovakia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ukraine, Denmark and Chile remain in the saddle.

Chatting to riders who completed Stage 4, the focus is now completely placed on getting to the finish line day in and day out. Although the Stage 4 route was comparatively short, it is still an extremely tough trail, with a lot of singletrack and 1850m of climbing.

Slovakian cross-country rider Janka Števková of Team Asrin Cycling is riding the Epic for the third time, with Epic newcomer, Sandra Santanyes Murillo from Spain. When commenting on her team’s performance in this year’s race, Števková says “We’ve had… very bad luck, with a lot of mechanicals. She [Murillo] has suffered a bit. You need to do two or three more Epics and you get used to it I think!”

Dutch Hielke Elferink of Team Meerendal Rocky EBE has attempted the Epic twice, finishing in 2014, but having to pull out in 2015. What’s the toughest part of the race? She says, “Sometimes… it’s more a challenge mentally than it is a… race physically. Because it is so demanding, mentally it is also very hard.”

So what brings out international riders back year in and year out? Števková believes the Cape Epic is not just a beautiful race, where riders can conquer amazing trails at meet wonderful people, it’s also a chance to show off their skill. She says, “It’s a good opportunity to show how strong we are – women!”

With tomorrow being hailed as the toughest stage of the race, we wish all our #SasolEpicWomen the utmost strength in getting through the day’s challenge, which will see them cross the finish line in Boschendal.

Can’t make it to the dusty Winelands? Check out our website for daily updates, and join the ride on Twitter using #SasolEpicWomen.

For an in-depth look into how Stage 4 played out for #SasolEpicWomen, click here.

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© COPYRIGHT 2013 Sasol in Sport - Epic Women