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Sebona’s Absa Cape Epic Introspections

2019-06-03

The former three-time Exxaro Special Jersey winner stepped up into the Elite category alongside PYGA Euro Steel young gun Pieter du Toit in 2018. The pair then raced the 2019 Absa Cape Epic together too, helping Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes to a stage win, along the way to finishing in twenty third place.

“I would like to thank everyone on this year’s Absa Cape Epic” a humble Sebona acknowledged. “It was a great experience to come back with Pieter [du Toit] more prepared than last year and the partnership that we worked on since the 2018 race helped us during this year’s race.”

Having come through the ranks of the Exxaro Mountain Biking Academy – the development foundation who also mentored the 2019 Exxaro Special Jersey winners, Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou – Sebona has a unique relationship with the event. “This year my performance was much better than any other Absa Cape Epic that I have done” Sebona reflected. “The only battle I had this year was the skills level; which I am currently working on. As my performances have improved over the years my skill level has had to grow too. I was very proud to be in the top twenty three finishers, but the greatest thing I will take from the 2019 race was that I had enough speed to stay in the top twenty of the peloton [on Stage 6 when PYGA Euro Steel 2 finished eighteenth]; which was something that I never achieved before. I am currently working hard on my progress with my coach and match that stage performance throughout the 2020 race.”

Having taken part in every Absa Cape Epic since 2012 Sebona is well placed to provide insights into how the race has developed. “Since my first Absa Cape Epic, in 2012, it has changed considerably” Sebona stated. “The competition has definitely risen and the routes have changed, becoming a bit more advanced. Now your training must not only be on your kilometres but your technical skills must also be improved during the preparation. What has not changed however is the fact that the conditions can determine the race most significantly. The weather can be the key to any stage of the race.”Off the bike Sebona also learnt a great deal during the event. “In the camp we were a bit stressed because we did not have great days every day” he confessed, reflecting on the difficult start which the two PYGA Euro Steel teams experienced. “Things did not work out as we planned them, until Stage 5 when the team came through the testing start and won the stage. We were all grateful to have such a supportive manager [Ruan Lochner] and to get so much support from PYGA, the crew and our families. It is not just fitness, which gets our bodies through the difficult conditions, but also the motivation and help we get from our supporters” Sebona recounted.

The Absa Cape Epic was but the first goal on the 2019 mountain biking calendar for Sebona. “This year is one of the years that I would like, or wish to, make remarkable” he said, letting the public in on his dreams for the season. “I am hoping get the best possible results in any big race that I enter. But in particular I am now looking forward to the sani2c, Race to the Sun, and one of the races that changed my life and set me on this journey to reach my dreams; the Magalies Monster. Thereafter I’ll be racing the 3 Towers stage race and hoping to make the World Championship again.”

Sebona’s post-Absa Cape Epic performances have already shot up a level. His first target after the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race was sani2c. He and Du Toit rekindled their partnership and helped Buys and Beukes to the overall victory. To top the excellent three days off for the PYGA Euro Steel team Sebona and Du Toit secured stage honours on the final day of the race. The victory was Sebona’s first in a major South African stage race and sets him up for what could be his most successful season to date.

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