Dormakaba is a name that will be familiar to many Absa Cape Epic fans. The team, which has donned red and blue for a number of years, has always arrived at the Absa Cape Epic with an impressive line-up; and 2020 is no different.
The 2020 Absa Cape Epic Women’s Category line-up will again receive a splash of colour as dormakaba Red and Blue, both consisting of a German/South African pairing, line up at the University of Cape Town on 15 March 2020. dormakaba Red will feature South Africa’s Amy McDougall and Germany’s Sabine Spitz while dormakaba Blue will be made up of Robyn de Groot and Adelheid Morath.
Amy Beth Mcdougall during stage 6 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Huguenot High in Wellington, South Africa on the 24th March 2018. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
While McDougall has Absa Cape Epic experience, having finished second in the Virgin Active Mixed Category in 2017, and fourth in the Women’s category in 2018, as well as winning the Absa African Women’s Jersey, it is undoubtedly Sabine Spitz who is the more seasoned in the team. “Sabine is the quintessential professional, yet completely down to earth and willing to share her wealth of knowledge” said McDougall about her 2020 Absa Cape Epic partner. “It will be a great learning experience to partner with her; it is important to race with someone you get along with and who understands the nuances of stage racing. The most important thing to remember is absolutely anything can go wrong during the Absa Cape Epic and it is a race of attrition. Looking after your body and equipment and not taking any unnecessary risks is incredibly important as your race can end as quickly as it started.”
Sabine Spitz and Nadine Rieder during stage 5 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Oak Valley Estate in Elgin to the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 22nd March 2019. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic
Spitz, the Olympic gold medalist, and 2003 World Champion has raced in four Absa Cape Epics to date and achieved her best result, of second place, in 2018 alongside Robyn de Groot. “I joined the dormakaba training camp in December 2019 and Amy was riding really well and was in a good mental space. I was really impressed by the way she rode, and I am looking forward seeing her grow and achieving everything she sets out to do” said Spitz, regarding her new South African partner. “The upcoming Absa Cape Epic will be a superb one. Knowing the Ceres, Tulbagh and Wellington areas definitely helps with pacing yourself and with trail knowledge. The Cape Epic is all about conquering as one, so I am happy to add value to dormakaba by bringing my mountain biking experience to help guide the team through any tough times. We don’t have an A or B team but having teammates out on the course will be helpful and we’ll support each other no matter what the 2020 Absa Cape Epic throws at us.”
In the blue corner is a match-up of Adelheid Morath and Robyn de Groot, who proudly returned to South Africa with a bronze medal from the 2019 Marathon World Championships, held in Grächen, Switzerland.
Robyn De Groot makes a return to the Absa Cape Epic after missing the 2019 Race. She will race with Adelheid Morath as dormakaba Blue. Photo by Ewald Sadie
With two seconds and a third overall in the Women’s category, De Groot is no stranger to the podium at the Absa Cape Epic. Having a partner who is as focussed, skilful, and as fast as Morath will stand dormakaba Blue in good stead to challenge for that elusive top step.
“The Absa Cape Epic is an incredible race to be a part of – its super tough and unpredictable and absolutely gruelling. I missed the 2019 Absa Cape Epic after undergoing surgery for kinking and endofibrosis of my Illiac artery in January last year, but being out of the action has me looking forward to racing again” said De Groot when asked about her participation in the 2020 Race. “I was proud and happy with my performance at Marathon Worlds, but it’s a one-day race, in the Absa Cape Epic, you need to repeat your performances every day. It’s also a team event and I have always thought Adelheid would be a great partner so I am excited to race alongside her. She is consistent, reliable, and just races her bike. I think we’re going to make a great combination and our plan is to look after one another and deal with each stage as it comes.”
Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch to Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, South Africa on the 24th March 2019. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic
Morath currently has three Absa Cape Epic finishes to her name, in addition to her recent Swiss Epic win. The 35-year-old German also brings with her Olympic XCO racing experience that is sure to be advantageous given the technical nature of the 2020 Absa Cape Epic route. “The Absa Cape Epic is brutal – early starts, rough trails, often cold in the mornings and super hot later in the day, conditions that are completely different to what I am used to at that time of year” said Morath ahead of her first Absa Cape Epic alongside De Groot. “I’m very happy about racing with Robyn, she is professional and fair and I am very grateful to have such a great team in dormakaba. There will be a lot of unexpected challenges but I’m very motivated and will do my best to perform as well as I can.”
With the Women’s category start list gaining impressive names by the week, it will be intriguing to see if dormakaba will paint the Absa Cape Epic red and blue.
Tune in to the Live Broadcast of the Absa Cape Epic from 15 – 22 March 2020 on www.cape-epic.com.