Robyn de Groot & Sabine Spitz Q & A

Robyn de Groot & Sabine Spitz team up for the 2017 Cape Pioneer Trek. Photo by Team Ascendis Health.

Robyn de Groot & Sabine Spitz team up for the 2017 Cape Pioneer Trek. Photo by Team Ascendis Health.

We’re proud to announce that the current South African XCM champion, Robyn de Groot, will be teaming up with one of mountain biking’s iconic names, Sabine Spitz, for the 2017 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen. In the build up to the race we caught up with the Ascendis Health duo to chat about all things CPT and their goals for the race. 

Name: Robyn de Groot Sabine Spitz
Nationality: South African German
CPT’s Completed: 3 None
Best Result 2nd (2014 & 2015) N/A
Twitter: @robyndegroot  @sabinespitz
Instagram: @robyn_de_groot @sabine.spitz
Facebook Fan Page: Robyn de Groot Spitz Sabine

 

Robyn and Sabine will be completing in the colours of Ascendis Health. Photo by Ascendis Health.

Robyn and Sabine will be completing in the colours of Ascendis Health. Photo by Ascendis Health.

Dryland: It’s been a long and busy season for the two of you, with that in mind what are your goals for the 2017 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen?

Sabine: If I competed in a race I always try to give my best…The focus for the CPT is on stage wins but also on the CG.

Robyn: We are professional athletes, the goal for races is always the same – we are there to race out bikes with the main objectives being stage wins and overall victory. That said the goal is also to enjoy the more relaxed race “vibe” that the Cape Pioneer Trek offers… if you are able to enjoying racing your bike it is always that much sweeter.

I missed the Pioneer last year, and promised myself it would be an objective in 2017.

Robyn last rode the Cape Pioneer Trek in 2015, with Jennie Stenerhag. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

Robyn last rode the Cape Pioneer Trek in 2015, with Jennie Stenerhag. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

D: Your partnership formed ahead of the Absa Cape Epic this year and though the race didn’t go to plan you two seemed to get along really well, are you looking forward to racing together again and how does that team dynamic off the bike help create success on the bike?

S: Robyn and I didn’t race before the Epic as a team and know very little about each other. But how it worked out at the Epic, with really big up and downs, was amazing. Despite all the problems, there was never a moment of being angry or arguing with one another.

R: Yeah, Sabine and I never really knew one another until two days before the Epic. We got along really well there through the good and bad days, and have gotten to know one another since then. Sabine hosted me in Germany for World Champs, so we have become good friends. I’m definitely looking forward to racing with Sabine, we get along well and I feel we make a dynamic team.

Having lived in the Southern Cape for the last few years, Robyn knows the area well. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

Having lived in the Southern Cape for the last few years, Robyn knows the area well.
Photo by Zoon Cronje.

D: Robyn you’re a Southern Cape local now and have ridden the Cape Pioneer Trek before, how did you convince Sabine to join you for it?

R: I guess we spoke about it at Epic, I never thought Sabine was seriously considering it. However she did show interest in a new adventure. I felt she was a fantastic teammate, and I enjoyed racing with her. So I mentioned this to Malcolm (the owner of Lange Sports) and between himself and Sabine they made it happen.

Sabine recently won her 19th German national XCO title.

Sabine recently won her 19th German national XCO title.

D: Sabine tell us about what it’s like as a European coming to South Africa to train and race? How does it compare to back home in Germany?

S: Actually I have only trained in SA once before in preparation for the Olympics in 2012. When it comes to racing you have to keep in mind that from October until February the Europeans are in hipernation. Back home at this time of year I do long endurance rides at a low intensity, gym or cross country skiing, so coming from freezing temperatures into the SA heat its not easy to deal with.

A big different between the European and SA races is that in SA you have so much more multi day races. Stage races in Europe I guess you can count on both hands…

Route diversity is a feature of the Cape Pioneer Trek. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

Route diversity is a feature of the Cape Pioneer Trek. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

D: What preparation will you be doing, either in terms of training or in gear/bike set-up choices, for the Cape Pioneer Trek?

S: Robyn and I have different bike partners and components. But for the CPT it’s a bit easier to handle the spares for the tech boxes compare to the Epic.

R: If you want an honest answer – I have had a few setbacks with a back injury and bronchitis; it’s been a bit of a testing time, having to go back and really focus on rehabilitation and core strength. So I have 7 weeks to buckle down and get ready for the Cape Pioneer Trek. I am well rested and with confirmation of Sabine as a partner, I feel extremely motivated to be race ready come the 15th of October.

 

D: Robyn it’s fair to say you have unfinished business with the Cape Pioneer Trek, having twice finished second, but are you relieved or disappointed that you won’t be taking on the Kammanassie Mountain in this year’s race?

R: Haha, yeah, this race has always added great adventure and challenges. As any MTB stage race should. I am not sure… the Kammanassie – it’s such an “honest place” there is nowhere to hide in there… I always enjoyed the challenge through the Kammanassie… but have no doubt that Dryland will have found a new challenge within the 2017 route for sure. Their events are always “Rugged and proper”. I guess that’s what ensures the UCI status which is also a huge draw card.

The Ascendis Health women are the clear favourites for the Cape PIoneer Trek's pink jerseys in 2017. Though Robyn has spent days in pink she has never topped the CPT GC. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

The Ascendis Health women are the clear favourites for the Cape PIoneer Trek’s pink jerseys in 2017. Though Robyn has spent days in pink she has never topped the CPT GC. Photo by Zoon Cronje.

D: Sabine we guess this means we’ll be seeing you race the Attakwas Extreme and Tankwa Trek mountain bike races ahead of the opening round of the 2018 UCI MTB World Cup and next year’s Cape Epic…?

S: Maybe, you never know….

R: J Maybe…