The 1st stage of the Cape Epic has just finished, won by XCO World Champion Nino Schurter and Lars Forster. 2nd place went to XCM World Champion Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic, a couple of minutes behind on the long stage to Hermanus.
The TV crew were quick to interview the riders on the live stream, and the interviewer may have been taken aback by Avancini’s honesty at the finish line.
“To be honest, it would be nice to have some microphones on the bikes. And then people could see who is the real Nino. I’m going to try to show it little by little,” said Avancini as he was cleaning up post race. You could see Fumic wince a little.
“As I said, nobody scares me on this race.” Avancini added. The interviewer seemed to need to confirm what she had heard.
“I mean, he just gives shit to every rider, in the peloton you know. Nobody knows this side of him and I really hate that. I’m a guy who has worked quite hard to get on this level, to get on this point of a professional career, and he’s giving shit to every rider that scares him or is just around him. He likes to be the big boss and he’s the best rider. But as I said, on this race he’s not the captain of the boat and I’m not scared of him. It’s a long week and I hope we are going to have a nice fight in the next few days. And little by little he’s going to show his face, as he does.”
We were then left for Fumic to talk more about the race, but the bombshell was out there.
Elite sports people achieve what they do by having a singular focus. You become selfish, focused. But at what extent does that shape your total personality? And when do you have one persona for the fans, and one for the people you essentially work with?
If there is fall out from this, it will be very interesting.
The commentary team went on to discuss it, with Robbie McEwen saying that Nino has got under Avancini’s skin. But is that it? Or is he just… a knob?
Stories were told by the commentary team, but they championed the fight, that nerves were on edge. That’s sport! The fight! Psychological battles!
“We got away with Cannondale and were able to drop them,” said Schurter in his post race interview. But more was to be asked – Avancini wasn’t happy as the interviewer pointed out.
“We don’t take someone with us, especially if they are second in the overall, they have also to work. If they think they can just ride with us then they have to search another team for that,” Schurter said.
There are two sides to each story. Was Avancini wanting a ride? But is this just one example? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.