Canadians win big on final day of Epic Israel

Two Canadian teams landed four podiums as four-day stage race wraps up

September 28th, 2019 by | Posted in MTB | Tags: ,

After coming so close to a win on Friday, Andrew L’Esperance and Peter Disera once again made their way to the front of the Epic Israel on Saturday. This time, on the fourth and final day of racing, the Canadians delivered the win.

Epic Israel
Andrew L’Esperance and Peter Disera take an emphatic win at the 2019 Epic Israel. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel

Catharine Pendrel and Haley Smith were also having an excellent ride at the Epic Israel. The Canadian duo made it back-to-back stage wins, adding to their win Friday with another first place on Saturday.

With that win, and their consistent riding in the opening days, Smith and Pendrel are the pro women’s overall champions at the 2019 Migdal Epic Israel.

“We went out there today to take the stage win and we put in a really good ride to achieve it,” said Pendrel after the race. “We knew that it was the same finish where we got caught on Stage 1, so we wanted to fix that!”

Epic Israel
Catharine Pendrel and Haley Smith celebrate their 2019 Epic Israel win. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel

“It’s also good because yesterday we won partly because of technical issues to the other girls, and if you ask any competitor, no-one wants to win that way,” Pendrel added. “Today we won by putting in a strong ride, and we’re proud of that.”

Sandra Walter and Cindy Montambault, the second Canadian team in the Pro Women’s category finished sixth on the final day of racing.

Epic Israel
Disera and L’Esperance hovering near the front at the start of Stage 3. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel
Mixed mechanical fortunes for Disera and L’Esperance

Andrew L’Esperance and Peter Disera’s Epic Israel started with mechanical mishaps. On Stage 1, L’Esperance was left with lost spokes and a flat tire after a run in with a competitor. Shortly after that was fixed, Disera had a flat of his own.

On Saturday, the scales of mechanical Karma were balanced. The Canadian duo were riding on the front with Maxim Brandl and Georg Egger, winners of the 2018 Epic Israel. 15 km from the finish line, they had escaped and were pushing hard for stage wins and, for the Norco Factory Team riders, hunting time to earn a spot on the overall podium.

L’Esperance leads Disera at the Epic Israel. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel

Five kilometres later, the Canadians noticed Egger had picked up a wire, and it had wrapped around the German’s derailleur and cassette. They pointed out the danger before it became disaster, and Brandl and Egger stopped to fix the issue. With the clock ticking and Egger struggling with the wire, Disera and L’Esperance struck out solo to try make up time lost on Stage 1.

Disera and L’Esperance won Saturday’s stage. Along the way, they clawed back enough time to take third overall.

Celebrating a stage win and third overall. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel

“We’re really stoked to win the stage today, although Max and Georg had some technical trouble. Yesterday, they helped us with some lube for one of our bikes, and we could see Georg’s issue today, so we did our best to call it out for them,” Disera said after the race.

“They’re really sporting racers, and we like to race like that too, so we told them what we could see,” Disera added. “Obviously they had to stop and we had to make the decision to ride on for the stage. For sure we would have made more GC time working with them, but we needed to go.”

Disera and L’Esperance on the Stage podium at Epic Israel. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel

Brandl and Egger ended up losing 1:30 to the mechanical at the end of the day. It was enough to hold on to second on the stage, and to defend their Cape Epic overall title.

“We had some bad luck today where Georg caught a wire in his drivetrain while leading with the Canadian guys,” Brandl said after the race. “They warned us to stop, but we knew that if we stayed calm then we could fix it and arrive at the finish to take overall victory.”

If you’re just catching up with the Epic Israel now, here’s what you missed:

Preview: Peter Disera on seeking adventure and hunting UCI points at the Epic Israel

Prologue and Stage 1: 2019 Epic Israel

Stage 2: 2019 Epic Israel

2019 Epic Israel
Haley Smith leads Catharine Pendrel at Epic Israel. Photo: SportPhotography / Epic Israel

Results: 2019 Migdal Epic Israel – Stage 3

Pro Men
1. Andrew L’Esperance / Peter Disera (CAN) 2:33:01
2. Georg Egger / Maximilian Brandl (GER) +1:30
3. Karl Markt / Gregor Raggl (AUT) +2:07

Pro Women
1. Haley Smith / Catharine Pendrel (CAN) 2:58:55
2. Sofia Gomez-Villafañe / Rose Grant (ARG / USA) +2:46
3. Jovana Crnogorac / Sophie Von Berswordt-Wallrabe (SRB / NED) +2:49
6. Cindy Montambault / Sandra Walter (CAN) +8:32

Provisional Overall Classifications (at end of Stage 3):

1. Georg Egger / Maximilian Brandl (GER) 10:38:21
2. Karl Markt / Gregor Raggl (AUT) +7:10
3. Andrew L’Esperance / Peter Disera (CAN) +12:39

Pro Women
1. Haley Smith / Catharine Pendrel (CAN) 12:37:35
2. Chloe Woodruff / Erin Huck (USA) +17:58
3. Sofia Gomez-Villafañe / Rose Grant (ARG / USA) +21:19