With less than a week to the start of the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen, local mountain biking legend Robyn de Groot has received the devastating news that teammate Sabine Spitz will be sidelined after sustaining fractures to her hand in a training crash.
The German rider, who is a multiple Summer Olympics medallist and the 2003 Cross Country World Champion, teamed up with De Groot to make a formidable duo in the race for the 2018 Cape Pioneer Trek title.
While De Groot boasts six National Marathon Championships, missing from her list of impressive achievements is a Cape Pioneer Trek victory. After coming painfully close with several second places in her career, the chance of winning 10th edition of the ‘Race with Soul’ looked promising.
“I’m devastated by this news and had such high hopes for this year’s event. Sabine is a world-class rider, and she’s not only an incredible teammate and ambassador for the sport, but also a fierce competitor. We had the same objectives going into the Cape Pioneer Trek, and it would have been an honour to have been able to race with her.”
With the prospect of a new teammate on the cards, the hopeful rider added:
“Things happen in sport and sometimes the biggest challenge is getting two riders to the startline in one piece. I’m wishing Sabine a good recovery, and know the staff at Ascendis will do their best to source a step in teammate at this late stage. I have to be open and flexible now, and adapt to the possibility of riding with someone else. It adds to the adventure I guess!”
In other news, it was recently confirmed that Yolandi du Toit has signed up for the iconic event. As the first South African woman to participate in the Ladies Tour de France, the Tour de Feminine in 2007, she is set to draw on her years of experience and shake the female stage at this year’s Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen.
After making the change to mountain biking in 2009, du Toit has fast become a favourite at local events. She will team up with the UK’s Catherine Williamson for Garmin this year, who just so happens to have a successful track record of racing with De Groot in past events.
As a UCI stage race, the Cape Pioneer Trek will once again welcome international athletes to the event. Cycling stars Karen Brouwer (Netherlands) and Cemile Trommer (German) will add some excitement to the female field as they race for KMC Focus Team.