Kessiakoff Wears Polka Dot Jersey
In the second
week of the Tour de France, 2005 Absa Cape Epic podium finisher Frederik
Kessiakoff leads King of the Mountains competition. He first pulled on the
prestigious polka dot jersey early this week and lost it again two days later.
But after a grueling day out on stage 11, he claimed it back, now holding a
slim 11 point lead over Frenchman Pierre Roland.
Competing in his
first Absa Cale Epic in 2005, the Swede partnered up with Swiss Christoph
Sauser for Team Siemens Cannondale. A dominant performance by Olympic gold
medalist Bart Brentjens and Roel Paulissen saw Kessiakoff and Sauser into
second place. Kessiakoff returned to the Western Cape in 2009 with former
marathon world champion Massimo Debertolis, riding for Team Full-Dynamix RSM,
taking fifth overall and winning a stage.
Frederik Kessiakoff during the 2006 Absa Cape Epic
Apart from his
exploits at the Absa Cape Epic, Kessiakoff has held four Swedish national
championships, representing Sweden at the Olympic Games. In 2006 he took third
place at the world championships. He clearly feels at home in any environment
involving mountains. Even his position on his road bike gives clues as to his
roots. Usually, road cyclists are stretched out, while Kessiakoff sits in a
relatively upright pose.
His skills that
took him to the top of the sport in mountain biking showed on the descent into
Porrentruy on stage 8. Chasing down eventual stage winner Thibaut Pinot,
Kessiakoff was pushing hard and moments before regaining contact with Pinot, he
approached a sharp bend carrying too much speed. Keeping his cool with the bike
in a full sideways slide, he saved himself from grievous harm, neatly
navigating himself onto the narrow grass verge. Max Knox, who finished second
to him on stage 7 in 2008 commentated on the day, "he's so good on the
technical stuff, we just couldn't match that speed going into the
He's not the
first top mountain biker to hit the Grand Tour scene on the road. 2008 Absa
Cape Epic winner Jakob Fuglsang wore the overall leader’s jersey at the 2011
Vuelta d’Espana. He also proved to be a worthy lieutenant to Andy Schleck in
the Tour that same year, riding for Team LEOPARD-TREK.
Fuglsang is no
stranger to wearing a leader’s jersey in a major stage race, having pulled on
the yellow zebra jerseys at the Absa Cape Epic several times in the 2007 and
2008 events. Him and teammate Roel Paulissen engaged in fierce battles with
Team Bulls' Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, eventually winning the 2008 edition.
Afterwards, Fuglsang referred to the race as "the hardest thing I've ever