Bike check: Vera Looser's Lapierre XR
The Absa Cape Epic's UCI women's field was not short on hard racing and stage drama at the sharp end. The orange leader's jersey changed hands three times, the most dramatic being Team e-FORT.net | SeattleCoffeeCo's Amy Wakefield racing back from injury alongside teammate Candice Lill, to take a commanding lead.
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Stage racing can be cruel, however, and a mechanical during combative weather conditions dealt that cruel hand, seeing their lead slip away as Efficient Infiniti Insure Pro MTB rode into Orange. As the ladies' winners Namibian Vera Looser and Mauritian Kim le Court are no strangers to high-level racing.
The Olympian/Commonwealth pairing has won national and continental titles and has raced internationally - so the Orange leaders jersey was a natural fit for the pair. Off.Road.cc managed to chase down (literally) Vera's Lapierre XR 9.9 team bike at the finale.
With a small size frame, with room for a 750mm bottle, Vera rides with an Uswe hydration pack, a common theme amongst most riders. The team layup frameset has a claimed weight of just 2,000 grams. With rear shock and mounting hardware. Suspension travels at 100mm front and rear with flexion stays.
A mix of SRAM components with shifting duty handled by GX AXS. The opposite seat stay frame strut has zip ties taped on in case of a mechanical, we've yet to see a trailside mechanical needing a zip tie.
A 32T chainring (sometimes 34) drives a 175mm XX1 crankset with a Power2Max power meter. Taped within the frameset area are some spares including a derailleur hangar.
Maxxis Aspen 2.4in front and rear, tyre pressure averages run 1.1 bar (16 psi) rear and 1 bar (14.5 psi) upfront. The tyres run on wide carbon Duke Racing Wheels.
Weighing in at 162 grams an SQlab 612 carbon rail saddle.
An in-house branded Lapierre dropper post, mechanically operated, it has 100mm of travel.
Interviewed by ex-pro and multiple Cape Epic winner Anika Langvad, Vera and Kim are wearing their red Africa Leader's jerseys on Stage 1.
Namibian national champ Vera Looser on the start of Stage 4 time trial.
UCI Women's field on stage six is led by Kim le Court and Vera Looser in the Red African jersey, just behind them are Candice Lill and Amy Wakefield in the Orange GC leader's jersey.
Vera Looser and Kim le Court near the end of an apocalyptic Stage 6.
The jerseys have switched on the finale, Kim and Vera start in orange while Candice and Amy now wear the red African leader jersey.
Kim le Court and Vera Looser celebrate their GC win.