The Cape Epic has once again shown why it is the best MTB stage road race in the world. In an intense week, the pair from Orbea Factory Team not only managed to finish in a very respectable 22nd place, they also leapt to the small screen, exciting us every day with their videos.
The more than 520,000 views obtained on our YouTube channel say it all: Ibon Zugasti and Alberto Losada thrilled us with every watt, showing us the secrets of the Cape Epic and stirring up our passion for MTB at the same speed as they conquered the tracks of what is considered to be the “Tour de France of MTB.”
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Ibon Zugasti and Alberto Losada started the Cape Epic with a lot of motivation and enthusiasm. With the course committed to memory after riding it twice, the Orbea bikers set out on a quest for the top two positions. Zugasti opted for the Alma, which was the right decision, according to him, and Losada chose the Oiz model. The two ultimately came away with a 23rd place finish. It was a good start to the prologue of one of the toughest races on the planet.
Stage 1, March 19: Robertson – Robertson. 110 km. 1900 m of positive elevation change.
The Orbea Factory Team bikers went for it all in the first stage of the Cape Epic 2018, but it was not meant to be. Ibón Zugasti’s average of 255 watts served to push the pair across the finish line in 39th place, 34 minutes behind the first couple, after a day of mishaps in which they showed the courage, strength and sacrifice that defined them as riders. There’s still a lot of Cape left and Ibon and Alberto are sure to bring us a lot of excitement as they give us an inside view of the most important stage competition in MTB.
Stage 2, March 20: Robertson – Robertson. 106 km. 2000 m of positive elevation change.
On the second day of the race, the Orbea Factory Team faced a profile without any important mountain passes, but characterized by a continuous climb that amounted to a total positive elevation change of 2000 meters. In spite of the fact that things got difficult for Ibón Zugasti at the starting line, he and Alberto Losada gave it everything they had throughout the stage, flying by on their machines and passing the competition non-stop, until reaching the finish line in 22nd place. In the overall, they came away with 30th position and more eager than ever to tackle a new day, competing with the best bikers on the planet. Let’s go!
Stage 3, March 21: Robertson – Worcester.122 km.1800 m of positive elevation change.
A new day of competition with a bit of everything in terms of weather. Our Orbea Factory Team bikers took advantage of the rain at the start of the stage to position themselves in a good group and move up to the positions where the best bikers in the UCI ranking ride. Far from being daunted, our guys took it further as the kilometers went on and they pedaled at a very good pace, which enabled them to cross the finish line in 17th place, mere seconds away from the 13th position. They’re working on improving their sensations, position in the overall rankings and teamwork ahead of the most grueling stage of the race. It was a crazy day!
Stage 4, March 23: Worcester – Wellington. 113 km. 1800 m of positive elevation change.
The equator of the competition and the most grueling stage of the Cape Epic 2018. Ibón and Alberto tackled this intense day with incredible sensations on the Oiz they chose to take on the rough, sandy terrain full of single tracks that awaited them. At kilometer 10, a malfunction meant that our guys had to give it their all and pull out their best race strategy to cross the finish line in 27th place, thus breaking into the top 25 of the overall rankings in the best MTB stage competition in the world.
Stage 5, March 23: Wellington – Wellington. 39 km. 1430 m of positive elevation change.
It’s the day of the time trial for our bikers, one of the new features in the Cape Epic this edition, after seven years without one in the African competition. Our guys managed to overcome no less than 1430 meters of positive elevation change in little more than 39 kilometers in just under 2 hours to clinch 26th place. They held onto their position in the overall rankings from the previous day, which means that the Orbea Factory Team with Ibón and Alberto is among the top 25 MTB teams in the world. The fight is on!
Stage 6, March 24: Wellington – Wellington. 76 km. 2000 m of positive elevation change
In one of the most spectacular and intense stages of the Cape Epic 2018, our leaders gave it their all in this stage full of bermed corners, jumps and bridges. Ibon Zugasti set a watts record of 288 in 4 hours, and thanks to the great rapport between the two, our duo of bikers from the Orbea Factory Team finished the day in 25th place. In the overall, they climbed to 24th place, and they’re ready to take on the last stage stronger than ever. Best of luck, guys!
Stage 7, March 25: Wellington – Val de Vie. 67 km. 2000 m of positive elevation change
The Orbea Factory Team came away with a Top 25 finisher medal (22nd place in the last stage and in the final overall ranking) after a week in which they suffered through and overcame all the obstacles that they encountered in the form of malfunctions. Ibon Zugasti, very excited at the end of the race, also received a special medal for having finished his third Cape Epic. We’ll be back in 2019!
The Factory Team ups the ante and returns to the most important MTB stage race in the world – the only one cataloged by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) as “hors catégorie” – where it will measure itself against the best in the world in the Elite category.
Dust, sand, slopes, inhospitable landscapes, long tracks, trails with flow and the international mountain bike elite. This is what’s on the menu of the fifteenth edition of the Absa Cape Epic, the world’s most important stage race in all of MTB, and for many, the Tour de France of MTB.
After a 2017 edition in which the Orbea Factory Team competed at a very high level, even managing to lead the classification in the Master’s 40 category for several stages, this year the pair formed by Ibon Zugasti and Alberto Losada upped the ante and will take on in the elite category names that top the UCI list for the top world cyclists in MTB.
For anyone who doesn’t yet know about this African challenge, the Absa Cape Epic is a categorized competition for the UCI that is held over eight stages (seven, plus the prologue), with a total of 658 km and 13,530 meters of positive elevation change, over a course that links all types of terrain and that this year will debut a time trial halfway through the competition.
We talked with Ibon and Alberto to find out first hand their sensations before setting out for the Cape. Of course, the first thing both competitors point out is the level of the race. Ibon Zugasti also indicates that this year he has focused even more than last year on working on the technical aspect of the race:“I’m arriving more biker than ever,” Ibon says, adding:“This is a competition of watts, of power, of strength. That’s why I think it goes so well for me and it is the race that matches me the best.”
His teammate Alberto Losada is tackling the challenge of the Cape Epic for the first time and confesses that he is “excited like a kid.”Just like Ibon, the new member of the Orbea Factory Team has been preparing for this challenge since December, with a first phase dedicated to long rides, together with training in the gym to develop a good basic physical condition, and a second phase more oriented towards series, technique and, in short, better quality training sessions.
A Cape Epic full of surprises on our social networks!
Just like we did last year, we will offer a special follow-up on the Cape Epic, with daily videos on our YouTube channel. Keep an eye out for them, because this year we want you to experience this race more intensely than ever before. That’s why there will be surprises related to the team’s sponsors for everyone who subscribes to our channel and comments on the videos: Galfer, Rotor, Orca, Isostar and Gaes.
There will also be daily updates on our social networks and the Orbea Factory Team’s social media pages. And, of course, you can also see them at Orbea.com.
Tomi Misser, with the Imparables.
Tomi Misser will also be at the Absa Cape Epic 2018, this year alongside the “Imparables.” Tomi will take on the race on an Oiz, “the ideal bike for the Epic,” according to his own words, and will compete in the Master’s 40 category. Accompanying him on this adventure are the Imparables, Santi Millán, Javi Sancho, Antonio Gassó, and as his partner in competition, the winner of the promotion held by the Imparables Team and Gaes.
Tomi hasn’t changed his preparation tactics from last year, when he completed an excellent race.“I have a good feeling about this; I’m in good shape and the goal is to achieve the best position,” the biker indicates, even though the rolling terrain of the first half of the Cape is not what most benefits a doctor of MTB technique like Tomi.
The Epic is already here. From March 18 to 25, experience the excitement of the Cape Epic with us, the best MTB stage race in the world.