Cape Town - Germany’s Sabine Spitz is one of
the most celebrated mountain bikers of all time.
Along with her full house
of Olympic medals (gold in 2008, silver in 2012 and bronze in 2004) she won
the 2003 XCO World Championships and the 2009 XCM World Championships, the
only major win missing from her palmarès is the Absa Cape Epic.
attempts at the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race, it appeared that Spitz
would miss the 2019 edition as she struggled to find a suitable partner.
Then, in stepped her country woman Nadine Rieder.
The pair will compete as Meerendal
WIAWIS Rotwild; with Spitz and Rieder’s bicycle sponsors joining forces
with the famous wine farm which has hosted so many Absa Cape Epic stages.
Though Rieder makes her debut in the 2019 race Spitz has experience aplenty
racing in South African conditions. In 2016 she made her own Absa Cape Epic
debut alongside Yana Belomoina, finishing second. During the next two
editions she raced with South African Robyn de Groot, finished third in
2017 and second in 2018. With De Groot taking an injury enforced break from
racing in 2019 Spitz was always going to need a new partner - but finding
one whose training, aspirations and sponsors aligned proved difficult.
“I'm sure Nadine (Rieder) and I
will be competitive,” Spitz stated in her characteristically understated
“I'm happy to start the Absa Cape Epic together and I think we can
complement each other perfectly, especially in such a tough race. It's
extremely important to have the right partner, so while it took some time
to find the right partner, I’m happy I did.”
Spitz has already started her
South African racing adventure, collecting a second place at the Herald
Continental Cycle Tour MTB and fifth at the Knysna Bull. The results do not
tell the full tale of her pre-Absa Cape Epic form however as the German had
just landed in South Africa days before the former. While she led the
latter after the Prologue and Stage 1, before punctures on Stages 2 and 3 put pay to any hope of securing her maiden victory of the season.
For her part, Rieder is
enthusiastic for the race to get underway: “I’m really looking forward to
race the Absa Cape Epic for the first time this year and I couldn’t ask for
a better partner than Sabine. It’s a big honour to race with her and I
think I can learn a lot. I’m sure it’s going to be an unforgettable week
with lots of amazing impressions.”
Spitz needs no introduction to
fans of the Absa Cape Epic, but outside of Europe Rieder is not as well
known. That is sure to change though during the race. The 29-year-old
placed third in the German XCO Championships and the Ischgl Ironbike Stage
Race in 2018, along with winning the final round of the highly competitive
Internationale MTB Bundesliga series.
As a proud German - and the
winner of twenty national titles in cross-country, marathon and
cross-country eliminator - Spitz is excited by the prospect of racing with
a fellow country woman.
In fact, other than the three all-South African
teams the Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild combination is the only pairing of
riders from one nation in the UCI women’s field. It is not surprising then
that Spitz has dubbed them the “German Dream Team.”