Everyone loves to win—that’s a given, but knowing you’ve made the podium at one of the world’s most prestigious races makes it that much sweeter. Now imagine the excitement for Wilier – Pirelli, with team riders taking home the first and the third on the same stage.
Dubbed ‘the Tour de France for mountain bikers’, two podium spots on stage six at the Untamed African MTB Race speaks volumes for the team. And much like the famed 21-day road race in France presents a few standout stages each year, the 7-stage Absa Cape Epic follows a similar pattern, with certain locations garnering more acclaim than others.
Take, Stellenbosch, the start and finish for stage six, for example: considered a must-visit for mountain bikers, this captivating town has become a cult riding location for South Africa and it’s also home to the prestigious Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, the high-performance training center that develops the nation’s elite athletes – Springboks included.
Over 76 km with 2,700 metres of climbing, stage six constantly undulated as the riders traversed the trail paradise on Stellenbosch Mountain, a real training ground for Southafrican mountain biking. Riding for Wilier–Pirelli, the Italian-Belgian duo attacked decisively in the Jonkershoek Natural Reserve, seeing the two respective national champions create almost enough of a time buffer to allow them the luxury of making the most of the spectacular scenery.
The magnitude of the stage win has also hit home with Wout Alleman—although he’d never doubted their ability: “We knew that we could bring home a big result as a team because we’ve worked so hard. Seeing Daniel Geismayr and Cameron Orr claim third was amazing too, showing how competitive the Wilier–Pirelli team really is. But this is the Absa Cape Epic; it’s like nothing else. It’s a miracle to get a stage win at an event that’s basically the pinnacle of the sport. Even though we were on top form, it’s still mad that we won the stage.”
The strong performances in Stellenbosch launched both teams further up the general classification, with Wilier–Pirelli becoming the only team to secure two top-10 overall finishes: Daniel Giesmayr and Cameron Orr in sixth and Fabian Rabensteiner and Wout Alleman in seventh.
For the Absa Cape Epic debutant, Cameron Orr echoes Wout Alleman’s thoughts: equal parts disbelieving, equal parts justified given the hard work they’ve all invested as a team. “We knew that all of us at Wilier–Pirelli had been putting in the hard work so that we were ready to get some good results—but this is the Cape Epic!”
With the Urta SLR riding to two top-ten finishes at the world’s most legendary MTB stage race, you can tell it’s leaving something of a legacy on the trails. But its success story can be seen across the scoreboard—not just in the top 10. After seven days and 681 kilometres of gruelling terrain, the Wilier 7C Force Team, made up of Johnny Cattaneo and Nicola Taffarel, finished 15th overall, while Ole Hem and Marco Rebagliati claimed seventeenth.
For Wilier Triestina, the memories banked during the 2022 edition of the Absa Cape Epic will be stored somewhere safe, alongside all the other unforgettable journeys that the bikes have taken us on.
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