Team Pyga Euro Steel Absa Cape EPIC African Jersey winners

Team Pyga Euro Steel won the African Leaders jersey at the 2017 Absa Cape Epic, finished in 7th place overall on GC, mixing it up with the best riders on the planet & rode with the aim of finding that allusive and sort-after stage win.

We look back at their journey over 8 days, 7 stages and a prologue, of testing terrain and challenges which makes the Cape Epic the most sought after title in Mtb racing, to win.

40 plus degree heat during the Prologue tested the riders to the limit. Matthys pushes his Pyga Stage to the maximum on the trails of Meerendal, but struggled in the extreme heat. It was however only the first 26km of a total of 691km
Hot, dry & dusty - brutally hot, dry & dusty is the only way to describe Stage 1 of the Epic. 101km with 2300m of climbing tested the riders and brought them to the quick realization that the Epic in 2017 would be a test of ability to manage your efforts through the extreme heat. The Team manage to secure the African leaders jersey, and would not relinquish it for the remainder of the race.

Stage 2

Phil & Matthys finish well on the shortened stage, due to the extreme heat and high drop out rate of riders the previous day.

Team Pyga Euro Steel made their presence felt and took the racing to the leaders on a daily basis. Managing their efforts and controlling the pace was a sensible tactic, given the extreme heat.

Tight on the turns, hard on the gas - the racing was full on from the gun.

Riders could not consume enough water to negate the losses due to the heat. Keeping core body temperatures down was key.

Early morning and the riders climb the first climb out of Hermanus. The efforts were put in from the start of each stage and there was no let up the entire stage.

The picturesque wine farms of landscape was decorated by the enthusiastic followers and supporters of this great stage race. Even the dams were decorated with cyclists!

Stage 3

Another brutally hot day of dry and dusty conditions, 102km with 2350m of climbing.

This day was a transition stage to a new finish venue via Shaw's Pass and The Ridge, to reach the outskirts of Greyton, a small town with significant history.

Team Pyga Euro Steel once again stuck with the leading bunch for as long as possible despite the surges, attacks and efforts on the climbs put in by the leading protagonists. The eventual race winner was Nino Schurter and Mathias Stirnemann - Schurter being the reigning Olympic and World Champion.

Stage 4

Stage 4 - 112km with2150m of climbing. Start in Elandskloof finishing in Oak Valley, Elgin.

Traversing the dry farm regions including district and farm roads, the riders come across some spectacular historical and significant memories from the past.

The best of the best - World & Olympic Champions, SA Champions, All Africa Champions, 5 x winners of the Epic (Sauser & Platt) - all the best of the best were here to contest this race.

The contrasting lines of the recently burnt scrub at the Houw Hoek Inn created a framework for this shot once the riders had just summited the brutal climb.

The finish line - a delight to see, recognition of an amazing achievement completed.

Stage 5

Racing out of Oak Valley and through awesome single track, a network of mountain bike trails, the riders enjoyed a shorter stage in mountain biking heaven.

One moment, frozen in time, immortalized for ever - almost impossible to re-stage this moment, Team Pyga Euro Steel chase the leaders after a puncture at a very bad time. The image came together after careful consideration of what was wanted in the picture - the helicopter so close was a huge bonus.

Stage 6

Stage 6 - 103km with 2750m of climbing - the stage referred to as the Queen Stage - that hardest day of the race, based on the distance and amount of climbing. Surviving this day would be a challenge for the best of riders, racing it would be another whole dimension. Despite suffering another puncture at the wrong time, Team Pyga Euro Steel pushed hard to finish well and gain times on their rivals.

Stage 7

The run into the finish, "only" 85km, but with the goal in mind of crossing the final finish line of this year's event.

Early tension, but deep down huge relief at getting through this iconic stage race.

Tracked by the word's media, the leaders are mindful of the need to represent the brands that they carry to the best of their ability.

The Pyga Stage was the bike of choice of the team and it proved it's worth without a single mechanical issue or hiccup along the 691km.

The joy, the elation - the finish line. Val de Vie hosted the ever popular finish for the first time, and did a great job at bring home each and every rider.

The world loves to hear the views of the winners.

The rides embrace the moment and realize the magnitude of their success.

Look at the reflection in Phil's glasses to the see the mass of media trying to get a comment or photo.

`That's a wrap until 2018'

That's a wrap

2017 Absa Cape Epic done and dusted - with lots of dust! Team Pyga Euro Steel finished 7th overall and wrapped up the African leaders Jersey in fine style - doing it justice by leading from the front, attacking the group and trying to find make the most of their fitness and form. A huge success for all involved.

Roll on 2018.

Created By
Graham Daniel
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Credits:

(c) Graham Daniel

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