Nino Schurter and Lars Forster, winners of Absa Cape Epic in 2019, are back for 2022. In 2020 the famous marathon stage race was cancelled by the pandemic, and after the longest season of his career, 2021 forced Schurter to sit it out – he had, he says, 'nothing left in the tank'.
The pair will race the new version of the Scott Spark, as will the second team of previous stage-winner Andri Frischknecht and marathon pro Juri Ragnoli. All four will spend three weeks acclimatising in South Africa before the race – which runs from 20-27 March – but they're understandably cagey on their exact strategy.
“We have a plan for the race," said Lars Forster, "but I am not going to elaborate too much right now. All I’ll say is that we’ll have an eye on the overall and the rest will be written during the race.”
Frischknecht, meanwhile, is clear on his role too. “We really want to secure some stage wins and finish high in the overall to secure valuable UCI points," he said. "We’ll have a solid team plan for all of us before the race begins and, as we saw last time, a support team is important."
"If that’s the role we’re playing, we’ll focus fully on the job,” Frischknecht concluded.
Though a full-time marathon racer, the Italian Juri Ragnoli is actually the only one of the four who's yet to experience the Cape Epic. He's wanted to go for years. "It’s brilliant to see how Nino and Frischi [Thomas] encourage us to enjoy our time on the bike and have fun, because fast is fun and fun is fast," he said. "I’m ready for the Absa Cape Epic!”