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Credit Nick Muzik/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS.

The final stage from Boschendal to Meerendal featured an 86km route and the plan had been for Madolo and Sauser to go full gas for one last tilt at a good stage result. It was all going to plan; Madolo and Sauser were racing with the second big group well inside the top twenty teams on the day, when Madolo hit the proverbial wall approaching the third water point near the 65km mark.

As they dropped off the group’s pace Sauser helped Madolo dig deep, giving him a helping hand and a few quiet words of encouragement. With Sauser’s help Madolo completed his fifth Absa Cape Epic as the former champion completed his 11th. It might have been a slightly disappointing result for the Investec songo Specialized team but Madolo is keen to take the positives from the experience. He is exceptionally grateful to Sauser for trusting and believing in him. But with the Epic now behind him the real work for Madolo begins as he strives to live up to Sauser’s trust in his work for the songo.info programme.

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Mark Sampson/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS.

The first post Epic goal for Madolo is handing over his and Sauser’s Specialized S-Works Epic mountain bikes to the highest auction bidders. The auction is one of the songo.info programme’s major fund raisers and has in recent years contributed over R200 000 annually to sustainability of songo.info’s work in the Kayamandi community. The two of a kind bikes feature a custom painted FACT 11m carbon Epic World Cup frame, mated to a RockShox RS-1 Brain fork, SRAM XX1 drivetrain and SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes. The recommended retail price for these bikes is R139 999. Although Madolo and Sauser’s bikes have completed the 2016 Absa Cape Epic, they are in tip-top condition. The Specialized team mechanics have taken exceptional care of them throughout the race and will be replacing all worn components before the auction winners take ownership of the bikes. To bid on Sipho Madolo or Christoph Sauser’s 2016 custom Absa Cape Epic mountain bike visit www.songo.info and click on the ‘Events’ tab. The online bidding platform will open on Tuesday the 22nd of March and close on Thursday the 24th of March at 17:00.

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Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS.

Madolo’s next racing goal meanwhile is the African Continental Mountain Biking Championships which take place in Lesotho from the 30th of March to the 3rd of April. Thereafter his focus will switch to the general day-to-day running of the songo.info programme where he has taken over many of the daily rolls of the programme founder, Songo Fipaza. Adjusting to working life has been difficult for Madolo in 2016, especially as he’s tried to strike the balance between working and training – but he’s already thrown himself wholeheartedly into the task and will surely make a success of both his work and racing. And when he needs a helping hand, a word of encouragement or sage advice Christoph Sauser will be right there at his side – as he was for the 2016 Absa Cape Epic.