In 2017, CP van Wyk (left) teamed up with Charl-Pierre Esterhuyse and they ended 35th overall in the men’s category. Photo: Ralda van Wyk.
Date: 15 March 2019 By: Anton van Zyl
This year’s Cape Epic mountain bike race is promising to be extra special for Limpopo sport fans. Louis Trichardt-born CP van Wyk has teamed up with Alan Gordon, a cycling pro from Tzaneen. They are competing against 649 teams from across the world in what is considered to be the toughest and most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world.
The Absa Cape Epic starts on Sunday (17th) at the University of Cape Town. The first day is a prologue to the race and stretches over only 21 kilometres. The real race starts on Monday at Hermanus, and from there the riders tackle a further seven days of riding. When the race finishes on 24 March, the riders will have completed 624 kilometres of gruelling track and will have climbed a total of 16 650 metres.
The 23-year-old CP van Wyk is no stranger to the Cape Epic. He competed in the race in 2017 and in 2018. In 2017, when he teamed up with Charl-Pierre Esterhuyse, they ended 35th overall in the men’s category. During that year’s race they surprised friend and foe by ending 12th overall in Stage 8. Last year, CP’s team mate was Luke Maga and together they finished overall 55th in the men’s division.
CP, who works and stays in Stellenbosch, is one of the amateur riders competing in the event. He is in good form on the bicycle, however, and finished in the top 15 during the Attakwas and the Tankwa Trek races this year.
Gaining entry to compete in the Cape Epic is hard. Only 650 teams are allowed and the top cycling teams from across the world are quick to enter their riders. CP, as was the case in previous years, had to wait for a cancellation or a withdrawal from riders. When Team Insect Science Pro called him to find out if he was interested, he was ecstatic.
Team Insect Science Pro’s main rider is Alan Gordon. Alan is very well known in Limpopo and has been dominating local mountain bike races for the past couple of years. The 28-year-old bike shop owner from Tzaneen ended second earlier this year in the gruelling Barberton MTB Challenge. Last year he won the Magoebaskloof MTB Classic, the Sabie Experience and the Knysna Bull.
Alan only finished the Cape Epic once, when he ended 26th overall and 24th in his category in 2016.
Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror since 1990. He graduated at the the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.