Langvad and Rissveds to race 2020 Absa Cape Epic

Annika Langvad is already, statistically, the most successful pro rider in the history of the Absa Cape Epic. Her perfect five race wins have come from just five starts. Currently, she shares the top spot on the all-time victory list with Karl Platt and Christoph Sauser, who took thirteen and ten starts respectively to reach five wins. Langvad, though, sits above them and could move clear if she starts the 2020 Absa Cape Epic with Jenny Rissveds.

2020 could be the year that Annika Langvad claims her sixth Absa Cape Epic title. Photo by Greg Beadle.JPG
2020 could be the year that Annika Langvad claims her sixth Absa Cape Epic title. Photo by Greg Beadle.

 

With all due respect to Platt and Sauser, who will both be riding in 2020, they are now unlikely to add to their title hauls. Father time waits for no man after all, and both legends are in their forties now. Langvad seems unlikely not to add to her list of wins. Especially as she is partnered by an Olympic champion. Their participation in The Race That Measures All was not a guarantee, however.

 

"When I sat down and looked at the 2020 calendar, I wasn't sure about racing the Absa Cape Epic" Langvad confessed. "So, I asked myself: what or who could motivate me to race again? This year's Cape Epic is Jenny's and my adventure together. This is all about shaping it the way we want. I feel that we have a really good connection and understand each other on a lot of levels. That's my motivation for this year!"

 

The Dane rides for the Specialized Racing XCO team, the American manufacturer's factory outfit. The Swede meanwhile races for her own Team 31, aboard Specialized bicycles, to raise awareness of the United Nation's Article 31. "I've always liked Jenny's approach to being an athlete. Yes, we're on the same bike but really this is a personal choice" Langvad explained. "Well, obviously there is a connection with regards to Specialized but this was all about the connection between Annika and me. We simply wanted to do it together" Rissveds concurred.

 

All eyes will be on Jenny Rissveds and Annika Langvad during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Ewald Sadie.jpg
All eyes will be on Jenny Rissveds and Annika Langvad during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Ewald Sadie.

 

A large part of Langvad's five previous victories has been the association with the Kayamandi based charity, songo.info. She has ridden to raise funds for the education and cycling charity, which is situated in a township on the outskirts of the mountain biking mecca of Stellenbosch, in two of her five Absa Cape Epics to date. After those races, her winning bike was auctioned off to raise funds for the organisation. songo.info echoes Rissveds' passion for Article 31, which "creates a specific right for all children to have rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to their age and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts." Langvad and Rissveds will race the 2020 Absa Cape Epic as Team 31: Outride. Outride, a North American-based program, has set out to prove cycling benefits your brain. Through research, school-based cycling programs, and grant giving activities, Outride provides evidence-based cycling interventions to improve social, emotional, and cognitive health.

 

It appears that it will not just be the children of the world who are encouraged to play and have fun in 2020. Langvad, who has tended towards being stoic and serious at the Absa Cape Epic, seems eager to take a more light-hearted approach into this year's race. "The Absa Cape Epic can be a good primer for the rest of the season, but it can also take a lot out you. The psychological aspect, in particular, shouldn't be underestimated" the 2016 Cross Country World Champion pointed out. "Having the right team and settings to make you comfortable is key and I'm already thriving on this year's setup. Jenny and I are looking to define the experience in our own special way. And that's what motivates me."

 

Annika Langvad will partner Jenny Rissveds during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic and the pair is hungry for the orange leader jersey and the title. Photo by Sam Clark.JPG
Annika Langvad will partner Jenny Rissveds during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic and the pair is hungry for the orange leader jersey and the title. Photo by Sam Clark.

 

For the defending Olympic champion, the 28th of July 2020 looms large. That is when she, Langvad and the rest of the world's best women cross-country racers will line up to battle for a gold medal, in Tokyo. "I discussed at length, with my coaches and with the rest of the team, how the Absa Cape Epic would fit into my schedule during an Olympic year" the Swedish Cross-Country Champion said. "The way we look at it, we believe it can be a really good part of the overall schedule. I am not changing anything really."

 

Change for Langvad, though, seems to be as good as a holiday. Rissveds is her fourth Absa Cape Epic partner. Each of whom has ridden away from Val de Vie, after eight days of racing, with the final orange women's jersey. Each of whom has had their name engraved on Isabel Mertz's iconic trophy alongside Annika Langvad.

 

It is tough to bet against Jenny Rissveds following that trend. Not that Langvad is too perturbed. She does not count victories. "If I raced for the sake of records only, I would've burned out long ago" she concluded.

 

Yet the records keep on tumbling.

 

Jenny Rissveds will partner Annika Langvad during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Dominic Barnardt.jpg
Jenny Rissveds will partner Annika Langvad during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Dominic Barnardt.




6 Comments

BaGearA, Jan 22 2020 06:25

RIP ladies cat , these two are going to annihilate the course 

 

 

 

....might also have an influence on Jenny's prep for the olympics  :ph34r:

Foxy_Roxy, Jan 22 2020 06:49

The comeback team. Ladies are gonna suffer trying to keep up with their dust

Headshot, Jan 22 2020 08:02

Langvad was totally out of the XC last year. Is she back on form? In contrast Rissveds had a great season... time will tell.

Shebeen, Jan 23 2020 10:06

With all due respect to Platt and Sauser Langvad, the ladies field has never had nearly as much depth in competition. True you can only race the field you lining up against, but taking a quick look at the results in the past 10 years only 2016 was anyone within 30minutes of the ladies winner. The strongest ladies team is found very early in the week, and they build up a lead they can defend with only needing to keep an eye on one maybe two teams.

 

This is not to cheapen Langvad's achievements, but to compare her 5 victories with Platt and Sauser is not using an accurate metric. the ladies and men's race is just not the same animal, I'd say she would have to win it 10 times to be equivalent to what Sauser and Platt achieved. In looking back early days (before equal prize money?),the chasm was massive. 2009 - platt and sahm won by less than 5 minutes, booyens and laws won by more than 5 hours - so it is defintely getting closer, but still a way to go.

Long Wheel Base, Jan 23 2020 01:20

Well on paper they will probably win every stage. The article forgets to mention that Jenny has also claimed the top step of the EPIC before, in the mixed category in 2017(?)

Capricorn, Jan 25 2020 03:54

Well on paper they will probably win every stage. The article forgets to mention that Jenny has also claimed the top step of the EPIC before, in the mixed category in 2017(?)

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