Ups and Downs for Ruijter and Smeenge in Cape Epic

With a 25th place in the prologue at the Lourensfort Wine Estate, Smeenge and Ruijter did not have a great start to the eight-day stage race Cape Epic in South Africa. The next day they seemed to be on their way to a good ranking in Saronsberg, but a long nail pierced Smeenge’s tire and rim tape so that an inner tube had to be fitted, which cost a lot of time. Fortunately, the tide turned in the third stage in which the men rode further and further forward and eventually reached the finish line in Saronsberg in eighth place, sprinting for sixth place.


The fourth day got off to a bad start as Ruijter got up with stomach problems and reached the finish in Wellington exhausted. After a medical check, he was found to be dehydrated and was given a schedule of what to drink for the rest of the day. The next day it turned out that all his values were normal again and nothing stood in the way of a start. It was a long day in survival mode at high temperatures. Once again, the finish was reached with good drinking and cooling.


While Ruijter was almost back to normal the next day, Smeenge now woke up unfit. The sixth day therefore also had to be ridden in economy mode in the hope of achieving a good day’s result in the last two stages around Stellenbosch. Both men felt fit on the seventh day and were immediately at the front and managed to stay in the leading group for a long time to finish fifth shortly behind the winners. They ended the Cape Epic in a beautiful way a day later with an impressive eleventh place. The overall victory went to South African Matthew Beers and his American teammate Howard Grotts. Smeenge and Ruijter finished in twenty-fourth place.