American former professional road stars George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde (Absa – WBR) grabbed the final-stage glory, but could not prevent Massimo Debertolis and Ondrej Fojtik (Wilier Force 7C 2) from the honour of winning the Dimension Data Masters category at the Absa Cape Epic on Sunday.
The Americans topped and tailed their Absa Cape Epic with a win in the Prologue in Cape Town last week and the Grand Finale from Wellington to Val de Vie Estate on Sunday, but the real heroes of the category were Debertolis and Fojtik whose consistent week of riding allowed them to claim the overall title.
The Italian/Czech combination edged to an 11-minute win over Bart Brentjens and Abraao Azevedo (Sandd A. Eagle AAZ) with Australians Brad Clarke and Rohin Adams (Mornington Cycles / TRush) third after a week that saw the lead change hands four times.
Debertolis was relieved to have reached the finish with no problems and thus kept the title.
“We are very happy to have won because in few stages we had lots of problems – we had problems in my body and we lost lots of time, and we also did not have much luck early on with punctures. But my partner Ondrej was very strong and the last three stages were super.”
This is not the first time Debertolis has been on the podium.
“I rode my first Absa Cape Epic in 2008 and I won a stage and finished fifth overall. I’m now 43 years old and I have come back and won.”
In the Grand Masters category, Robert Sim and Udo Boelts (Robert Daniel) enjoyed a near perfect week with only one bad day when a series of punctures threatened to derail their push for victory. Their four-minute victory in the final stage into Val de Vie Estate extended their lead to just less than 30 minutes over Meerendal CBC’s Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber.
“This is mission accomplished,” said Sim after the finish. “To win any category in the Absa Cape Epic you have to be focussed and keep your concentration, and today was that for us. We wanted to get safely to the finish and be the winners.
“We came and did what we wanted to do, and that was to get the jersey.”
Giro d’Italia stage winner Boelts was ecstatic with the win.
“This really means a lot to me. I cannot describe the feeling of riding in the leader’s jersey when crossing the finish line. This is such a special event and it means so much to me.”
The Virgin Active Mixed category turned with Cape Town’s Nicky Giliomee and KwaZulu-Natal’s Brennan Anderson, who only met three weeks ago, forming a team that got stronger and stronger throughout.
In the end, they beat the early leaders, Agustina Maria Apaza and Cesar Lettoli (Merida Argentina) by over 40 minutes.
“We both had a rough start with a tummy bug at the beginning of the week. Brennan has been so strong – pushing and running to, get me to the finish,” said Giliomee.
For Anderson, the victory was a special experience in his first event.
“From day three we started catching up and then we were able to start in the same batch and so we could see them and could start managing the time gap.
“It is my first Absa Cape Epic and Nicky and I only met three weeks ago, so it is special. I am very chuffed to have won it. When we started I had no idea that we were going to win it – no idea at all that we would even be in contention.”