Topeak-Ergon wins Cape Epic 2014


It’s a sensational result for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team at the Cape Epic in South Africa. Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek won the World’s toughest stage race. Sally Bigham and Esther Suess took second in the overall ranking.


With a total of 8 stages, covering 718km and 14.850m of ascent, the race is associated with blood, sweat, sun, dust, rain, fast flowing rivers and wild animals. They are conditions which face the competitors every year at the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa and the reason it is considered the hardest stage race in the World.





To win this event is a target for any of the elite professional mountain bikers, and even to take part is something which manydream of. For Robert Mennen (28) and Kristian Hynek (33) of the Topeak Ergon Racing Team, it is a dream which has now come true. After 4 days of riding as the lead team in the yellow jersey, our two heroes won the race on Sunday — a perfect result for the Koblenz based team.

”I can’t believe that Kristian and I came here, and won this thing!” Robert said after the race. ”Cape Epic was right at the top of my ?must win’ list. This is the biggest win of my career!” Kristian also didn’t hide his joy at the result: ”This means as much to me as my European 2012 Champion’s Title”, which shows precisely how important a result they think it is.



It is a result which wouldn’t have been possible without the Fair Play principles of Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann, who twice helped our team — giving wheels twice sacrificing their own ambitions in order to allow Kristian and Robert to chase theirs. ”Without their help, it is unlikely that we would be stood here,” Robert said in tribute to the Team Centurion-Vaude competitors.

Amongst the jubilation at the Cape Epic win, there was another result to savor — Topeak Ergon’s Sally Bigham (35) and Esther Süss (riding as Team Meerendal) took 2nd place in the women’s race. A superb result in itself, and one that the team will continue to celebrate.



All of this success is only possible thanks to the whole team — not just the athletes. Particular mention should go to team mechanic Peter Felber, and the Team Manager Dirk Juckwer. A mention also should go to the sponsors, providing the equipment which is hard wearing enough to be able to take the punishment of this race. From the ergonomic advantages from Ergon’s grip and saddle program, minimizing fatigue, to the performance of the new Canyon 29er full suspension bikes. Everything plays its part.

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Topeak heads to Sea Otter Classic festival in Monterey, CA. April 10-13

Join Topeak at the Sea Otter Classic – one of the largest cycling festivals in North America. We’ll be showing off some of our newest 2014 accessories. Stop by booth 219 for Topeak give away gifts and to check out the finest cycling accessories made. Besides, challenge your limitation to achieve the highest record for pumping to 120 psi. The King/Queen of Pump must be you.

Sea Otter Classic | Monterey, CA | April 10-13 | Booth 219



Great Season Debut for Mennen and Hynek


Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek won the last out of six stages around Cordoba at the Andalucia Bike Race 2014. This stage win left them in third position in the over all ranking.

This last stage win was very important for the team. ”We tried very hard to get away at the start. We got lucky when we hit the railroad tracks, our Canyon 29er Fully gave us a big advantage,” Robert said after the race.


Both Topeak-Ergon riders finished 1:57 minutes earlier then second placed team and even 3:42 minutes earlier then over all winnersKaufman/Käß from Team Centurion-Vaude.





This last stage win was a little redemption for thebig drama that went off on the second last stage. Mennen and Hynek took a wrong turn because of misplaced signposting. They got a 20-minute penalty from the jury. With this heavy penalty their mission ”Title Defeat” was out of reach. ”There should be more marshals on such important passages,” recommended Germanys Robert Mennen.



Nevertheless the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team showed a very strong performance. ”We had fun out there and we are happy with the result,” said Kristian after passing the finish line. ”It was our very first race together and everything worked out well. This was a great preparation for the Cape Epic.”

Sally Bigham will also be back at the Cape Epic. The marathon vice world champion will be riding with Esther Süß from Switzerland. This duo is by far the favorite for the over all win this year. The Cape Epic takes place in South Africa from the 23rd to the 30th of March 2014.

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2014 Taipei Cycle Show March 5th to 8th

The worldwide cycling industry once again comes to Taiwan for the 2014 International Taipei Cycle Show March 5th – 8th. Topeak invites its distributors, buyers and dealers to visit us at booth #L524 in the Nangang Exhibition Hall for the 2014 International Taipei Cycle Show.

Topeak also invites everybody to challenge his/her limitation to achieve the highest record for pumping to 120 psi. Stop by our booth, the King/Queen of Pump must be you.













Sensational Season Debut from Sally


Sally Bigham, riding for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team won all four stages of the Club La Santa Four Day MTB Race in Lanzarote, finishing on Jan 28th. It was a demonstration that just like last year, her form is astounding.


Four stages, four wins. It doesn’t really get better than that! With enviable reliability, Sally followed one win with the next across the four days of the Club La Santa MTB Race. The event took place at Lanzarote from the 25th — 28th January, and Bigham left no doubts that her form is good and that she will continue in 2014 in the same way that she did in 2013. It was the second time in a row the British Marathon Champion won here, and as the first proper test in a competitive environment of 2014, it is even more encouraging.





 Sally Bigham : 4 Stage MTB Lanzarote 2014 : Stage 1

The stage race in Lanzarote isn’t only a training race in the lead up to the Cape Epic in South Africa — it is also a great assessment of the new bikes and equipment in race conditions. ”Finally I was able to test the new Canyon Lux and Conti’s latest tyres in a race,” Sally enthused. That it was a success, can be seen in the results.

Looking ahead at the race calendar for Team Topeak-Ergon, the Andalucia Bike Race in Spain is next up (Feb 23 — 28), with Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek making up a team. For Sally the next big race is the Cape Epic in South Africa (23 — 30 March) — one of the most difficult races on the calendar, and yet one which the Brit has won a number of times!

Sally Bigham Stage 3 of the 4 stage Lanzarote MTB race. 

For more information and results please check:

Sally Bigham Stage 4 of the 4Stage MTB Lanzarote – Post Race Interview‬

Special thanks to James Mitchell for the photos and the videos!

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Simon Gerrans Claims Second National Road Title


Simon Gerrans is the new Australian National Road Champion after taking a convincing victory in the elite men’s road race ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) and Richie Porte (Sky). Gerrans sealed the third consecutive title for the ORICA-GreenEDGE team, winning a sprint finish from the final group of four. Cameron Meyer led the group to the line and ultimately finished fourth, after working hard to set Gerrans up for the win.

ORICA-GreenEDGE looked in control and comfortable throughout the 183.6 kilometre Buninyong circuit, putting each of their ten riders to use. It was defending champion Luke Durbridge who launched the first attack of the day, just moments after the start. The main breakaway of 17 riders quickly formed with Simon Clarke and Mitch Docker joining Durbridge up the road.

“Our plan today was to put the right guys in the break,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “That put us in the box seat behind. The break was very strong, but things didn’t really pan out the way we had hoped and we didn’t feel like the situation in front was guaranteed for us. “

Simon Clarke animated the action in the break, making repeated attempts to solo away over the Mount Buninyong climb. After four hours of fast and aggressive racing, time ran out for Clarke and the break began to disintegrate.

“Clarkey was one of the best in that front group, but there were faster sprinters in the break, so we weren’t willing to go to the line with those blokes still there,” said Sport Director Matt White. “To have a chance at the win, Durbridge and Clarke knew that they had to go solo with two or three laps to go. It didn’t happen, so we decided to go with the safer option and bring things back for Gerro. Simon Gerrans is very very reliable.”

With four laps left to race, ORICA-GreenEDGE began to reel in the break. An ominously fresh-looking Gerrans was tucked safely in the group, with Evans on his wheel. Of the 139 riders that took the start, the chasing peloton had whittled down to 32 ahead of the final two laps.

On the long sloping lead-in to the final ascent of Mount Buninyong, Meyer launched an attack. Gerrans quickly followed, with Evans and Porte in pursuit.

“I wanted the guys to set a fast pace and keep it together into the bottom section of the climb, so that I could attack towards the top,” explained Gerrans. “There was already a select group left by the time we got to the last ramp of the climb. Cam had slipped off the front a little bit, and then I attacked in the final few hundred metres of the climb to try to get rid of the other contenders. We got over one by one: myself,then Cadel, then Cam, then Richie. Over the top, the four of us came together again, and that’s how it stayed until the finish. “

With a two-man advantage over the final group of four heading into the finish, Gerrans and Meyer played on their strength in numbers to keep the group together for the sprint.

“The guys did exactly what they had to do today,” said Gerrans. “I stuck to my guns in the finish- I knew I had good legs and as long as that little group stayed together I was confident I could finish it off. Cam fully committed. He really rode his guts out for me today. I’m sure he would have liked the chance to win himself, but the plan was to work for me and he did that 100 percent. The whole team gave it everything for me and I’m really grateful for that.”

Having repeatedly won from similar scenarios over the past two years, Gerrans enjoyed the full support of his team on Sunday. With his proven ability to deliver wins when the team needs them most, Gerrans is an obvious choice as team leader for the races he states as his objectives.

“Simon is a class act,” said White. “He picks big targets, and he always gets them, especially during the past two years with us. The Nationals were a big goal, and now we move onto targeting Tour Down Under.”

“We were very confident in Gerro,” added Wilson. “Today was very similar to how he won this race in 2012- and we’d bank on him beating basically anyone in a finish like that. The whole team rode a strong and tactically smart race today and really stuck to the plan. It’s of crucial importance to us to take this jersey back to Europe, so we’re very happy.”

Gerrans will head to Europe in the green and gold jersey for the second time in his career. His first win came at the beginning of the 2012 season, and set in motion one of the best years of the Victorian’s career, in which he took a memorable victory at Milan-San Remo.


“It’s such an honour to take the jersey again,” said Gerrans. “It was a class field today and it means a lot to me to take this jersey to Europe for another season. It started a really good year for me in 2012, so I’ll try to keep this momentum going and get some big wins coming in Europe this year too.”







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photo credit: Mark Gunter / Tour de France



A double win at Roc d’Azur


The Topeak-Ergon Racing Team ends the season on a high. Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham win the marathon at the Roc d’Azur, while Robert Mennen and Nadine Rieder both took 5th in their respective races in the Cross Country.

Who would have thought that the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team would end the season in such a successful way? In the traditional season finale — the Roc d’Azur in Frejus, France the teams were able to clean up. The performance of Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham being of note, as they were both able to win both the race of the UCI Marathon Series.


The men’s race covered 83km, and just as many races have been this season, it was a dual between European Champion Alban Lakata and the World Champion Cristoph Sauser. This time it was the Albanator who was able to keep his nose ahead. After 3hrs43m03s the Austrian was the winner, with 4 seconds lead on Jaroslav Kulhavy and 7 seconds on Sauser who took third.


As is usually the case, the marathon race at the Roc sees a lead group form following the long climb and the technical downhill. It remained like this for most of the race, until the 500 meters before the line, which is across a long, flat field. It was here that Alban played to his strengths and hammered towards the line. It was a move that none of his competition could counter.


Perfect season final

Following the win, Lakata explained: ”my legs were super today from the very start. I had no problems at all.” What was most impressive though, was that he wasn’t in the lead until the final 2km.

”You couldn’t end a season more perfectly. It was a race I had never won, only the cross country.” It was made all the more sweet thanks to the UCI Marathon points which come from a World Series Event.

For Alban it is now time for a holiday, but not without the 2010 World Champion stating his objectives for 2014. ”Next year it is about the Cape Epic and the World Championships, and also about retaining my European Champion’s title in Ireland.”



An amazing season summary for Sally

10 countries, 16 wins, and 3 second place finishes. That was Sally Bigham’s 2013 season. It almost goes without saying that the British National Champion won the women’s race at the Roc Marathon, with a time of 4hr41m07. It was the fourth victory for her at the race in a row. ”This year it was just about having fun and enjoying the trials”, the 35 year old said, ”but to win for the fourth time is a perfect end to a fantastic season.” Sally also knew exactly how she was going to celebrate. ”First of all we are off on holiday. Time to swap the bike for the bikini and energy drinks for a pina colada (or two).”


Robert and Nadine somewhat unlucky

Robert Mennen and Nadine Rieder decided to take on the XC race at the Roc, both facing the 56km course, and both finishing with a good solid 5th place. All the same, both suffered poor luck. Robert was held up 15km from the finish by triathletes taking part in a competition on the same day, and Nadine had a loose pedal cleat.

All the same, neither were really unhappy. ”It is a good end to the season, following the disappointment of Friday”, Mennen said, referring to the Marathon Race where he finished 15th. Nadine also found a few nice words: ”I am happy. It is lovely here, the trials are great fun.”

So that’s it. Thanks to the athletes of the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team for another interesting and exciting 2013 season!

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Mennen is German National Marathon Champion



It is a great way to end the season. And it seems that everyone is in form! Robert Mennen this weekend took the German National Marathon Championship title in an impressive manner in Muensingen. Nadine Rieder, racing in the women’s race, was able to secure fifth position. Elsewhere, riding in Ornans, Sally, Alban and Milena took 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.


Using a combination of attacks and changes in pace, the 28 year old was able to seemingly neutralize the rest of the field. This was even more remarkable because he was effectively riding by himself — all other riders had someone else riding from their team with them. ”I worked out that I had to ensure that nowhere in the 84km would the race be decided. Even if this means that I had to chase down attacks myself. I had to control it”, the Champion recalled. The reckoning came in the two 9km loops at the end of the course, ”during a technical singletrack uphill passage I was able to pull away from the others, and stay away for 5km until the line.”


So, with 103km in his legs, 2.500m climbed, and with a finishing in a time of 3hr49min03sec, Mennen crossed the line with 14 seconds lead over second place. The race though had been anything but easy. Rain and cold had increased the challenge. Covered in mud, but visibly euphoric, Mennen knew what the win meant.

”It is amazing. When I began in this sport, it was my aim, to hopefully one day be the winner of a national champion’s jersey. I have been close before.” It was something that he didn’t let out of his sight, but at times looked unlikely this season — especially after his crash at the Cape Epic. ”This does take the pain of that disappointment away”, the newly crowned Champion grinned. ”Now I have Roc d’Azur to look forward to — the first race with the Champion’s colors on my shoulders. Then a whole year to wear it. And as for the Cape Epic, I will return …”


Other Topeak-Ergon racers were also riding at the weekend. Sally Bigham won the ”Extreme sur Loue”, part of the UCI World Marathon Series. With a course of 63km, and almost 2.400m of climbing, it took place in Ornans, France. At the same race, Melina Landtwing finished 3rd, while European Champion Alban Lakata, in the 84km long men’s race, finished second.

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8th World Cup Win for Irina Kalentieva


What an end to the season! The Topeak Ergon Racing Team’s Irina Kalentieva wins her 8th career World Cup in Hafjell, Norway! Teammate Nadine Rieder finished 23rd, her best ever World Cup result.


It is three years since Irina Kalentieva last stood on the top step of the podium of a World Cup race. At the season finale in Hafjell, Norway, the 35 year old Russian took the win, proving that she isn’t yet a spent force. That said, it is a relief, ”that was really good for me,” said a tearful Irina. ”Particularly when I think back on the bad luck of the last few years”. It was not an easy win. The two time World Champion fought her way from a start position of 17, edging her way forward lap on lap, until she was left with only Julie Bresset (FRA) and Eva Lechner (ITA) to battle for the win.


”It was so fast”, Kalentieva said of the lead group, with lots of risks being taken on the descents. That lead to Bresset making a mistake, and needing a new rear wheel. It was then a head to head with Lechner. It was on a climb that the Topeak-Ergon racer was able to pull away and secure a gap. All the same, heading to the line, Kalentieva looked over her shoulder 3 times to make sure she was on her own. ”I wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t be stolen from me in the last minute like at the World Championships. There, I didn’t look around, and Eva slipped past to win the bronze medal” — after 1h25m34s the victory was in the bag.


It is little wonder that the nine time Russian National Champion had high hopes for Norway. ”After the fourth place finish in South Africa, I needed to concentrate on getting a good result here,” Ira explained. ”In South Africa I felt very strong and today, everything slotted in to place.” There have been changes too. Switching from trainer Kuno Hottenrott to the Russian National Coach Marek Galinski seems to have worked wonders. ”I could tell in Pietermaritzburg that it was already working well for me”, she said with a broad smile on her face.



Nadine Rieder also was able to return from Norway with a great result. After racing the Eliminator Sprint, and finishing a superb 6th on Thursday, she raced in the Cross Country and took 23rd place — her best ever World Cup position in a still young career. ”It was a great race, and a great way to finish the season here in Norway”, the 24 year old German said. ”I also want to thank the entire team for the support. Especially our mechanic Larry for preparing the bikes perfectly. I didn’t have a single technical issue for the entire season.”

Next week sees Alban Lakata, Robert Mennen and Sally Bigham take on the Trans Zollernalb to hunt out a result. Mennen has form at this 3 day stage race, which covers 215km with nearly 4200m of climbing. It is a race that he won 2 years ago.

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Michael Matthews Wins Final Stage of La Vuelta

Vuelta EspaÒa - Stage 21

Michael Matthews added a second Grand Tour stage win to his palmarès in Madrid. With strong support from his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates, the 22-year-old sprinted to victory on the last stage of the Vuelta a España, outkicking Tyler Farrar (Garmin Sharp) and Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano) to the line. In his first Grand Tour, Matthews won two stages, spent two days in the green points jersey and earned the combativity award on the final day of racing.

“The Vuelta could not have finished off any better for the team,” said Matthews. “We lost a fair few guys over the last few weeks, but everyone who was left did their job perfectly today. They put me in the right position to launch myself for the sprint.”

“It’s been an amazing tour,” Matthews added. “I can’t imagine a better ending than this. Two stage wins and time in the green jersey at my first Grand Tour is very special for me. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The wins aren’t just for me. They’re for the whole team. When the boys do what they do for me, it’s an unbelievable feeling to finish off their work.”

As is customary, the 21st stage of the Vuelta enjoyed a parade like atmosphere from the stage start in Leganés. The 144 riders remaining in the race after a difficult three weeks of racing celebrated their accomplishments as they shared champagne, photo ops and congratulations as they made their way toward Madrid for eight laps of the 5.7km circuit course

“While it’s nice to have a more relaxed start, it sometimes makes it a bit more difficult to focus,” noted Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The guys are rolling along at a slow speed on really tired legs. The kilometres pass painfully slowly. Without anything to worry about or think about or hold their attention, it makes for the longest start to a stage.”

Overall winner Chris Horner and his RadioShack Leopard Trek teammates came to fore as the peloton entered the finish circuit. Euskaltel-Euskadi, the only team to finish with nine riders, led the field across the finish line at the end of the first lap. The action picked up inside the final 40km when Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural) launched the first attack on lap two.

Aramendia quickly established a small advantage over the field. He was joined by Alessandro Vanotti (Astana) on lap three. The peloton allowed the two leaders to remain out front on a short, easily controlled leash.

“We’ve only had five riders here this last week, so we needed to use them carefully,” said Wilson. “The plan was to try to only use Christian [Meier] in the chase and save Mitch [Docker], Clarkey [Simon Clarke] and Leigh [Howard] to work in the sprint. A lot of teams wanted a sprint, so we were lucky to be able to do that.”

Meier worked with riders from Garmin, Cannondale, Lampre Merida, BMC and Argos-Shimano to control the gap to Aramendia and Vanotti. Shortly after the start of the bell lap, the peloton overtook the breakaway. The field readied for the sprint finish.

“Because of the technical nature of the circuit and hectic nature of the sprint, we had to use Leigh and Clarkey a bit earlier than we had planned,” noted Wilson. “In the last kilometre, only Mitch remained with Bling. Mitch had the presence of mind to jump on the Argos-Shimano train. It was the perfect move for us.”

“The boys were brilliant,” Matthews added. “The last lap might not have gone exactly to plan but it worked out perfectly. Simon put Leigh, Mitch and me in position with about 4km left to race. Leigh took over after that. He did a huge turn before leaving me with Mitch. When the Argos train came underneath us, Mitch latched onto that. I got to the 200m mark in second wheel. Then, I opened my sprint.”

Matthews was full of praise for the work that his teammates did to deliver him to victory. Naming them each by name and pointing to their specific contributions, it was clear that he considered his win a true team effort.

“With three riders around me all day and Christian riding on the front of the bunch to keep things together and under control, I had nothing to worry about until it was time to sprint,” said Matthews. “Christian rode like four men today. He’s so strong. He kept everything under control for us. The whole day was perfect. I couldn’t have done what I did without the team. I can’t thank them enough.”

It was an inarguably successful Vuelta for ORICA-GreenEDGE who came into the final Grand Tour of the season chasing stage wins and preparing for the Road World Championships. In his race preview, Wilson said he would leave Madrid satisfied if the team had secured a stage win. His squad gave him two.

“Most teams experience some bad luck and some good luck during the course of a Grand Tour,” said Wilson. “We definitely had our moments with both. We got really unlucky with a few crashes during the first week. We certainly never planned to have only five riders during the third week.”

“Even with the injuries and illness, it’s been a fantastic Vuelta for the team,” Wilson continued. “For any team that isn’t concerned about the general classification, two stage wins is a success. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the guys. I’m proud of all of them.”


Vuelta España - Stage 21


Vuelta EspaÒa - Stage 21

Vuelta España - Stage 21

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