Ambitions were high going into Team Swisspower’s second Cape Epic. Unfortunately, a high speed crash by Florian Vogel in the prologue would set the stage for the rest of the race. Florian had to suffer a quite a bit in the remaining stages. "I fell on my back and bruised my knee. As a result, I had some water building up in my upper leg. I was in pain all day long, suffering big time just to hold Nino's wheel. If it were only for me, I probably would have dropped out. But I did not want to let my partner down." Nino on the other hand seems to be in great shape already. He got through the 700km in 8 days without any problems.
In the end, the hard work would pay off. In Stage 5, Nino and Florian were only beaten by the dominant team of Sauser/Kulhavy. In the last stage, they finished in third place, behind Hermida/Van Houts and Buys/Beukes (the South African team also riding for SCOTT), grabbing their second podium of the event.
The overall ranking was out of reach after the first few stages. Ultimately, they finished 13th. The winners were again Sauser/Kulhavy, who were riding for their ex-team mate Burry Stander. Nino commented, "Too bad we started out with Florian’s crash. I'm sure we were in better shape than our overall result shows. It's a team event and both of the riders need to be at the top to compete for the overall. But the two podium places at the end were at least a good finish during a tough week."
The “back-up” team wasn’t too bad themselves- with Thomas Frischknecht and his old physio from the Team Ritchey days, Urs Gerig. In the last stage they finished in 27th place overall, 4th in the Masters Category. In the overall Masters category, they finished in 5th place- not bad for two of the old guys.
The Cape Epic is tough for both professionals and average riders. It takes everything out of you- a true test of strength and stamina. Congratulations to all of the participants at the 2013 Cape Epic.