Fumic started mountain biking at a very young age and raced for the first time at the age of 8. “This will be my first Absa Cape Epic and a new experience for me, Marco and the team behind us. I'm excited and we’ll be well prepared. Marco and I raced together in the Cannondale Team for 3 years. He is not just a teammate; he has become a very good friend of mine. We think the same when it comes to training and racing. He knows my strengths and weaknesses and I know his.” Fontana (28) started mountain biking when he was 10. “My family bought me a 24" mountain bike and I started playing like every kid. Just a bit faster. I’m excited about my first Absa Cape Epic. It will be something totally different then my usual riding style. I never ride more then 60 to 70km off-road. It’ll be challenging.”
Fumic continues: “It’s not our goal to go for the overall podium, but we’ll race for a stage win or podium finish. We won’t train together often for the Cape Epic, but I don’t think this will present a problem.” Fontana adds: “The Prologue will be our main focus for winning a stage. The overall podium is for specialists of long distance racing.” He jokingly adds, “We’ll be training together more often once the race starts. We used to train together during World Cups but actually we have different coaches, so sometimes different plans. I think it would be dangerous to let us train together too often. My training programme is top secret. But if you want, I can tell you everything about Manuel’s.”
With regards to his training, Fumic comments: “From November till January I was doing base training in Cape Town. From February, I’ve been doing more intensive and power training. Season kick-off was in Cyprus mid February and early March I’ll be back in Cape Town to train for the event. I really look forward to seeing the South African countryside, riding some nice trails, racing, the pain in my legs and some great fun with our CFR team.”
Fumic reckons his strengths are his technical skills. His advice to younger athletes is to ride clean, ride in style and have fun. “I’m a really positive guy who loves life and enjoys hanging out with friends and family.” Adds Fontana: “I hope we have a great experience at this year’s event. My advice to youngsters out there is to ride your bike, train hard and enjoy life. Your dream will come true.” Fontana dreams of having a family with kids. “I’m still working on the last part. I also enjoy finding old stuff for my house, motorsport and life with my wife and friends. I also want to still win a World Cup and be World Champion.”
Fumic finished in 7th place at last year’s Olympic Games, is the 2012 Cross-country German National Champion, was the Under 23 World Champion in 2004 as well as the U23 European Champion in the same year.
Fontana was the bronze medalist at last year’s Olympic Games, was the 2008 Cross-country European Champion, and a bronze medalist at the 2010 Cross-country European Championship. He is five times Cross-country Italian Champion and 4 times Italian Cyclo-cross Champion.
Lourensford Wine Estate will once again host the finish of the race and the Grand Finale celebrations on 24 March 2013. The Grand Finale will kick off with live entertainment, a Farmer’s Market, delectable food and wine as well as glorious scenery. Vantage points will be accessible to the general public, so that all may have a piece of the mountain biking action. Entrance is free.
Visit www.cape-epic.com for more information.