The Absa Cape Epic's return was a terrific event for Specialized, with wins in both the men’s and women’s general classification.
It was the women’s team of Sina Frei and Laura Stigger, especially, who truly dominated at this year’s Cape Epic. They won by an enormous margin of nearly 41 minutes.
Rider power, skill and endurance make a significant difference at the Cape Epic, but it helps to be on a great bike, too. And Laura Stigger’s choice was an S-Works Epic, in resplendent cherry red – like all her Specialized pro teammates.
The Austrian Cape Epic champion’s core S-Works specification was what you would expect, if buying Specialized’s premium dual-suspension racing bike from a dealer.
Laura pedaled her way to victory with SRAM’s AXS Eagle XX1 wireless drivetrain. Mindful of those surprising and brutally steep climbs waiting along the Cape Epic route, Laura opted for a 32T chainring.
To keep her on pace and within her performance threshold, she used a Quarq power meter. Laura’s pedal choice is HT’s M1T. These pedals are impressively light, at only 252g per pair, with their gorgeously machined titanium axles.
HT has a rider weight limit for the M1T pedals of 80kg, but Laura is way under that weight ceiling and could ride her Cape Epic with confidence on these ultralightweight pedals.
Wheels were Roval’s latest SL carbons, with the 29mm internal rim diameter and 4mm bead, to guard against pinch flats.
Laura opted for a set of Renegade tires, front and rear, unlike the winning Specialized men’s team Jordan Sarrou, who selected Fast Track tires upfront.
Proving the latest Specialized saddle concept
There was nothing unusual about the suspension set-up on Laura’s S-Works. She ran RockShox's best cross-country suspension setup that's customized by Specialized with its S-Works Epic Brain valving and an RX tune.
No additional lock-out cables or remotes crowded her handlebar, as she had a wireless dropper and could rely on the hydraulic platform and terrain sensing dampers of RockShox’s BRAIN fork and shock.
Few, if any, races test saddle comfort quite as severely as the Cape Epic. Keeping Laura comfy was a Specialized Power women’s saddle, with the brand’s latest MIMIC soft tissue relief ergonomics and stubby short-nosed shape.