After the drama of yesterday and our thoughts all with Julian in hospital, we are extra proud that today our ladies team could perform perfectly once again, and Martin could showcase Silverback OMX in fine style.
With the first of the classic long and dusty Cape Epic stages, Mariske and Annie rode like seasoned campaigners. The partnership between these two cross-country specialists started strongly and is developing each day; their communication and understanding of each other is really impressive given that this is the first time they have raced together, and that it is Annie’s first Cape Epic. After five hours and twenty minutes on another hot South Africa day, the pair crossed the line covered in sweat and dust but wearing brilliant, big smiles. They retain their third place in General Classification. Annie sums up the day:
“It worked really well again with me and Mariske. We both had times where we felt really good, and others where we felt it but we looked after each other and could finish in third place. It’s lovely to be on the podium again. I think the bunch of flowers was heavier today…or maybe we were just more tired!”
“Thanks to everyone out there that was screaming and motivating us along, it makes the kilometres ticker a bit faster!”
Equally, as an Outcast, Martin was really touched by the amount of support he received from spectators and fellow riders alike, many of whom asked after Julian. Today Martin wanted to test his form and really race the stage. He started in the group five minutes behind the Elites (riders are set off at time intervals dependent on their position in the race) and soon found himself clear of anyone and chasing for the front group. Despite all this time working alone in wind, he managed to make his way through many of the Elite teams and incredibly finish as 19th ‘team’ home. He is absolutely flying!
“It’s not ideal to be an Outcast, especially this early on, but it was fun today. I tried to catch as many teams as possible – I was racing but not hurting myself too much. I have good shape and that’s what I wanted to see today. Tomorrow maybe I will take it a bit easier and be clever with my training.”
Of course, Martin would love to be racing alongside his partner, Julian. The good news is that Julian was picked up from hospital this evening and is doing really well. He’s already thinking ahead to “#capeepic2018”!