“Have you seen the crazy fast elite field this year, and the whole event sold out, too? Is the beach rideable? The weather forecast looks mint!”
Last year we started our Cape to Cape coverage by discussing the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, and its role making sure the 28 wrecks off the Cape don’t become 29. Today, you wouldn’t have been able to concentrate on the sea over the swathe of over 1300 mountain bikers forming a long, snaking line across the Leeuwin peninsula.
If you chat to riders at the Cape to Cape, from elite racers to families riding this magnificent event for the first time, you’ll likely hear about ‘the beach’. For the elites, the unpredictable Deepdene Beach threatens to derail long, hard hours of training. For other riders, the thought of potentially running across a two-kilometre beach incites less enthusiasm than a sales meeting at Samsung.
In the elite male category, the race began with a vicious attack up the first climb from Torq’s Chris Hamilton, who recently signed with World Tour road-cycling team Giant-Alpecin.
Following Hamilton’s attack, the Torq team continued to apply the pressure. A group consisting of Torq’s Tasman Nankervis and Hamilton, Swell-Specialized’s Cam Ivory and Trek’s Brendan Johnston flew down the first high speed descent of the day, having broken away from a stacked elite field.
Nankervis and Ivory broke away from the group of four during the much anticipated traverse of Deepdene Beach, attacking with such pace that the pair beat the media vehicle arriving to photograph the lead riders. Close behind the pair were last year’s winner Kyle Ward, wily veteran Andy Blair and Hamilton.
In the elite women’s race, which also hosted a bevy of talented riders, Samara Sheppard led for most of the race. In the closing kilometres, last year’s winner Peta Mullens overtook Sheppard after chasing her for most of the race, demonstrating the power she’s become renowned for across many disciplines. An ever-consistent Jenny Blair rounded out the women’s podium, despite claiming not to be in great form coming into the race. We expect her to be a threat over the next few days considering her record, and the fact the grandparents have come down to babysit little Remi.
The elite men’s race was won on ‘Hamstring Hill’, the final climb of the day. Ivory attacked Nankervis and Hamilton, maintaining a short lead to the finish. Tomorrow’s stage will be interesting, with the strong Torq team looking to put a rider in the leader’s jersey, as well as Trek Factory Racing Australia, who will be supporting Brendan Johnston.
In the mens master’s field, Jon Gregg once again proved his Cape-to-Cape dominance, winning his category by nearly ten minutes and finishing ninth overall!
In the womens master’s field, Marie Claude-Baars took the win with a strong ride.
Tomorrow the riders have 57 kilometres of racing, from Hamelin Bay to the excellent Xanadu Winery just outside Margaret River. The spectacular scenery will continue, with the stage winding through the Boranup forest and some of the many vineyards that inhabit this stunning region. We’ll be bringing you all the action, so stay tuned!
1. Peta Mullens – 01:52:43
2. Samara Sheppard – 01:52:48
3. Jenny Blair – 01:57:56
4. Jessica Simpson – 02:00:42
5. Briony Mattocks – 02:01:06
1. Cameron Ivory – 01:32:38
2. Tasman Nankervis – 01:32:46
3. Chris Hamilton – 01:34:29
4. Brendan Johnston – 01:34:29
5. Kyle Ward – 01:34:45
For a full list of results, click here!
Two of Western Australia’s fastest take on Sam Hill Downhill ahead of the race on day two.
Once the day one’s race had wrapped up, we scored an amazing opportunity to watch Jonny Waddell and Sam Hill shred some loamy turns on the Sam Hill Downhill, which riders will tear down at the beginning of the second stage.