Old and new Epic Legends reflect on remarkable week at Absa Cape Epic

Five riders who’d already achieved Epic Legend status and two newly minted Epic Legends crossed the line on stage 7, the Grand Finale, at Val de Vie Estate, and looked back on an incredible eight days, not just of racing but also personal memories – moments that will define their lives.

Minter Barnard. Photo: Sportograf

Australian-based South African Minter Barnard is the joint-first Epic Legend ever (with Haley van Leeuwen) and is back again for more at the Absa Cape Epic this year, having last ridden the Absa Cape Epic in 2011.

“It was an opportunity to come and ride. A friend of mine asked me late January - early February to come and ride with him, he needed a partner. And I am from South Africa so any excuse to come to South Africa!

“It was a fairly late decision to come and race, I haven’t done my 12 weeks that I should have done. I struggle to back off, I ride the same whether I have prepared 4 weeks or 12 weeks!”

Barnard is riding with good mate Luke Beuchat from Sydney in team Velosure, “it is our first race together. But I think in nearly every Epic race I have done it with a different partner, and they are all still mates so that is a good thing! My mates say I am breaking my riding partners, but no, Luke was really strong, he only weighs 60 kilos, he is hard to keep up with on those hills.”

Reflecting on this year’s event, “it is like something money can’t buy, it is an experience. I always see it as a paid holiday. But you need to keep your family happy so if you want to come you need to start groveling a year ahead, make sure that is in your planning!”

Peter Felber. Photo: Sportograf

Peter Felber achieved Epic Legend status by completing The Pioneer (New Zealand) in 2018, after 3 finishes at the Swiss Epic (Switzerland) and finished his fifth Absa Cape Epic.

“There is nothing like the Epic eh, nothing! The riding here, there is nothing like it, Swiss Epic is cool and technical, New Zealand is lovely with the scenery and the people, but there is nothing like the Cape Epic. The finish line is a moment for tears every time, for big and small boys I guess! My partner Mario was super super strong, we have been singing every day on the trails, half Austrian, half Swiss – I think that says it all. I will be back next year for sure, if all goes well.”

Enrico Theuns. Photo: Sportograf

Fellow Epic Legend Enrico Theuns could not hold back the tears at the finish after rolling across the line at Val de Vie Estate with Sander van den Born.

“It is great, I can’t describe that, it is a great feeling to get that with my partner, it makes me cry again. It is still that special feeling, for coming back, the emotions of the last 10km. I am almost 54 but still I start crying. There is more yes, I will see you again definitely!”

David Wright. Photo: Sportograf

Invited by his partner shortly before registration, aptly naming his team Eleventh Hour, David Wright came into the race aiming for his fifth finish. The South African participated in his first Absa Cape Epic in 2012 and last year he was unable to complete the course, “this is much less forgiving, more brutal than The Pioneer and the Swiss Epic, yet with just as majestic views and terrain... it’s the one that never gets easier!”

Joining the previous eight Epic Legend medal recipients were two more riders from this year’s Absa Cape Epic, both New Zealanders, with Alexander Donaldson and Kylie Burrows completing the Epic Series Legend Race 'treble'.

Alexander Donaldson. Photo: Sportograf

“This is amazing, what an awesome mountain bike race,” said Donaldson. “To get here and see the manicured lawns and riding through the vineyards, it is just an Epic event to use a cliché. This week has gone so quick, I did one Instagram post and here we are one week later."

Donaldson now holds the record for completing all three Epic Series Legend Races within the shortest time - six months. 19 days, 1379km and 44624m of climbing - a lot of racing miles in those legs!

With his partner retiring from the race with a broken shoulder, Donaldson was left to continue alone. “The priority when Gavin was injured was to make sure he was okay and then get to the finish. Bike racing is bike racing, there is no point racing for 80th, we are here to enjoy it and if I can get an Absa Cape Epic medal as a result, that is the cherry on top. Hopefully will be back again next year - Gavin my team mate is now really gunning to finish it.”

Kylie Burrows. Photo: Sportograf

Kylie Burrows has not only taken on and conquered some of the world’s toughest mountain bike stage races, but in the process has come through a battle with breast cancer that put her riding on hold for 18th months, there was nothing going to keep the Kiwi and her Aussie riding partner Sarah Kaehler from the finish line today though, coming home over an hour inside the stage cut off of seven hours.

“Yes, I have a very special medal now, thank god I got to the line, that was the main thing today, stay on to the finish and get that medal!

“Mentally it was really tough, but we were lucky again with the guys riding around us, they were cheering us on and supporting us. The last three days especially for me it was a mental game more than physical.”

Absa Cape Epic founder Kevin Vermaak is riding the event for the second time with Andrew Hunt, and spoke of how the Epic Series concept came about.

“At the end of the day there is no one specific style of mountain biking. It is a degree of toughness to the route and the whole experience and the nature of the two-person teams. South African terrain and trails are pretty special and all over the world you have amazing mountain bike trails and fans, you get the right ingredients together you can create a pretty special mountain bike experience and grow a global community of like-minded mountain bikers.”

With the Absa Cape Epic selling out each year in seconds, Epic Series Qualifier Races like the Pioneer, Swiss Epic and Australian events Cape to Cape, Reef to Reef and Port to Port offer the chance at a guaranteed entry.

“We have always had this challenge, 16 years ago we sold out in three days and the next year in five hours. We have looked at a lottery and everyone has said 'look at qualification', but we never had the optimum method. Now we have the Epic Series and it allows us to expand the community and if by joining that community in New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia or anywhere, athletes can enjoy a world-class rider experience and also have a greater chance to be able to ride the pinnacle of the Epic Series, the Absa Cape Epic.”

 

 


Scott-SRAM and Investec songo Specialized seal victory at 2019 Absa Cape Epic

At the Grand Final of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic, former winners Nino Schurter and Annika Langvad on Sunday completed their objectives of guiding two race newbies to victories in the last leg of the gruelling eight-day race around the Western Cape.

 

Men’s category

Multiple World Champion Schurter and his Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing partner, European Champion Lars Forster, wrapped up a tense week of racing in which they had to fight back from a day of mechanical dramas to beat Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) by seven-and-a-half minutes overall.

“This was amazing,” Schurter said of the title after the finish. “It’s a really special one to win. It’s really tough to win this race you need to have a lot of good luck and a strong team. We are super stoked about it.”

“Yesterday I was suffering and today I was suffering more,” a visibly delighted Forster explained how the final day played out. “Luckily I had a strong horse with me who still had some left in the tank.”

Schurter and Forster went into the final stage from Stellenbosch University to Val de Vie Estate with a comfortable eight-minute lead over second-placed Cannondale Factory Racing. This meant they had to watch only Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini to cap off a successful week and claim overall honours at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic.

Their conservative run to the finish allowed other teams to gun for coveted Grand Finale stage honours. Queen Stage victors Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys of PYGA Euro Steel seized the initiative early, attacking up a climb in Jonkershoek. The only team who could stay with them was KROSS-SPUR, who had been aggressive all week, winning various Dimension Data Hotspots but to date had been unable to convert that form into a stage win. A win they desperately wanted after being put out of GC contention with mechanical issues on Stage 1.

While the likes of CST Sandd, Trek Selle San Marco, both 7C CBZ WILIER teams, Specialized Foundation NAD as well as the Team BULLS outfits of Heroes and Young Guns were left to chase across a route which featured the best of Jonkershoek, Vuurberg, Boschendal and Val de Vie’s trails, KROSS-SPUR Racing and the South Africans worked well together all the way to the finish.

Onto Val de Vie Estate and the long final stretch it came down to a bunch sprint, which saw Matthys Beukes cross the line first, but Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez and Ondřej Cink followed closely in second and third, giving them stage honours.

“It was so so close,” said Gutierrez at the finish. “It was the shortest stage but still very tough with lots of singletrack and many climbs.”

“A stage victory is super important,” he added outlining how they had to change their strategy of overall GC aspirations after their disastrous Stage 1 mechanical. “We were super focused on a stage win after that; finally, on the last opportunity on the last stage, we managed that, so it is very special.”

It also proved a special day for Sebastian Fini and Martins Blums of CST Sandd who finished on the stage podium for the first time in the race. As well as SpecializedFoundationNAD’s Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers, who finished sixth on the day doing enough to stay in fifth overall and win the Absa African Men’s Jersey.

Buys and Beukes’ performance on stage 7 saw them as the first all African team across the line, but they were never in contention for the overall Absa African Men’s Jersey title after a consistent eight days from Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (Specialized Foundation NAD). Hatherly and Beers ended fifth on GC after crossing the line sixth on Sunday. Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens (Imbuko Giant) ended up second, just under 40 minutes back.

Men’s category

Stage Results

  1. KROSS-SPUR 14-1 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 14-2 Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 02:53.07,3
    2. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 02:53.07,4 +0,1
    3. CST Sandd 19-1 Sebastian Fini (Denmark) 19-2 Martins Blums (Latvia) 02:54.02,2 +54,9

Final General Classification

  1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 26:09.45,5
    2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 26:17.22,4 +7.36,9
    3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 26:26.22,8 +16.37,3

 

Women’s category

Langvad and Breggen collected their seventh stage win in the Grand Finale at Val de Vie Estate – the five-time World Marathon Champion Langvad, and World Road Race and Olympic Champion Van der Breggen attacked, leaving behind Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) within the last kilometre.

The Investec-songo-Specialized pair established their superiority on the opening Prologue on the slopes of Table Mountain National Park a week ago and never looked like being headed throughout the eight stages around the Western Cape. Even when Lill and Morath pounced on the chance of a stage win on Friday, when Van der Breggen was having a rare off day, it always looked like nothing more than a temporary setback for the dominant race winners.

In the 70km final stage from Stellenbosch University to Val De Vie Estate, Lill and Morath ended just 17 seconds behind but were over 30 minutes behind on GC. Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) finished third on both the stage and overall standings.

Langvad was surprisingly calm about collecting her fifth win and matching the record of Absa Cape Epic greats Karl Platt and Christoph Sauser; her focus was rather on Van der Breggen and her first victory.

“The Absa Cape Epic is always so intense, the ups and downs … it has been so emotional this year. It has been such a good week and I have really enjoyed riding with Anna and forming a new partnership. It has been a blast.

“Every single time the Absa Cape Epic races are different. Bringing a roadie into the Absa Cape Epic and transforming her into a mountain biker has been so awesome. Watching her improving day by day has been such a great experience.”

Van der Breggen looked relieved to have completed what she believes to be her biggest ever week on a bike.

“It was a really tough week. It was such a new experience and so nice to do something totally new and see the boundaries where you can push your body.

“Sometimes I did not like the suffering, but it was such a nice thing to do. I do not think my body has ever been this tired and I do not think I have ever spent so many hours on the bike in one week. It was hard at the beginning, but now I know how it feels to achieve what we did.”

And what will it take to beat Langvad, who has now won all five times she has started the Absa Cape Epic?

“I don’t know” she said with a smile – and it seems her opponents don’t know either.

In the race for the Absa African Women’s Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk comfortably completed the stage in sixth position, the same place they ended all week, winning the Jersey for 2019.

Stage Results

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 03:33.46,1
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 03:34.03,5 +17,4
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 03:40.18,4 +6.32,3

Final General Classification

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 31:26.41,4
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 31:57.04,1 +30.22,7
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 32:35.09,3 +1:08.27,9

 

Other categories

In the Dimension Data Masters category, Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) wrapped up the victory with their sixth stage win and an impressive 26th position overall. Ondrej Fojtik and José Silva (Mitas Head New Race) were second, over 70 minutes behind.

Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) completed their clean-sweep in the Grand Masters category and the eight stage wins meant they beat Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) by one hour 40 minutes.

The MMR Mixed team of former Road World Champion Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza won the Grand Finale stage in the Virgin Active Mixed category. However, after a dominant performance throughout the week, the Cape Town-based German husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) were category winners by 36 minutes. Miller Paneling’s David Miller and Shayna Powless were third, another 30 minutes further behind.

The Exxaro Jersey race saw the lead change hands numerous times throughout the week, but finally Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) took control over the final few days and their stage win on Sunday confirmed a 40-minute win over Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree), with Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/RMB 1) third.

Dimension Data Masters category

Stage Results

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 03:10.19,3
    2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 03:18.23,7 +8.04,4
    3. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 03:21.16,5 +10.57,2

Final General Classification

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 29:03.43,4
    2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 30:18.17,1 +1:14.33,7
    3. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 30:21.28,9 +1:17.45,5

 

Grand Masters category

Stage Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 03:18.30,3
    2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 03:28.03,0 +9.32,7
    3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 03:31.56,2 +13.25,9

Final General Classification

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 29:58.15,1
    2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 31:38.58,8 +1:40.43,7
    3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 32:30.44,4 +2:32.29,3

 

Virgin Active Mixed category

Stage Results

  1. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 03:36.16,8
    2. Nardinature 293-1 Florence Darbellay (Switzerland) 293-2 Eric Morard (Switzerland) 03:39.21,2 +3.04,4
    3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 03:41.09,5 +4.52,7

Final General Classification

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 32:40.15,0
    2. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 33:17.01,3 +36.46,3
    3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 33:44.31,7 +1:04.16,7

 

Absa African Men's Jersey

Stage Results

  1. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 02:53.07,4
    2. Specialized Foundation NAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 02:56.43,6 +3.36,2
    3. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 02:57.55,2 +4.47,8

Final General Classification

  1. Specialized Foundation NAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 26:47.12,0
    2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 27:22.23,3 +35.11,3
    3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 27:36.11,0 +48.59,0

 

Absa African Women's Jersey

Stage Results

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 03:59.35,2
    2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 04:26.26,6 +26.51,4
    3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 05:12.39,6 +1:13.04,4

Final General Classification

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 35:01.38,4
    2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 40:17.55,5 +5:16.17,1
    3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 45:16.30,5 +10:14.52,1

 

Exxaro Jersey

Stage Results
1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 03:36.17,3
2. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 03:37.39,7 +1.22,4
3. Exxaro/RMB 1 88-1 Kagiso Tlou (South Africa) 88-2 Patrick Rengane (South Africa) 03:38.03,2 +1.45,9

Final General Classification
1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 32:53.08,2
2. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 33:32.19,1 +39.10,9
3. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 34:05.00,0 +1:11.51,8

 

Photos: Nick Muzik | Xavier Briel

 


Absa Cape Epic GC all but sewn up – dark horse Italians take stage 6

The leaders in both the Men’s and Women’s categories at the Absa Cape Epic extended their leads and both look virtually certain of victory going into Sunday’s Grand Finale stage into Val de Vie Estate.

Women

Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) dispelled any vague suspicion that they were fading as the strongest Women’s category team at this year’s Absa Cape Epic with a clinically dominant performance on Saturday’s penultimate Stage 6.

After the pair of World Champions was surprisingly beaten into second position on Friday’s Queen stage, Langvad and Van der Breggen snatched their crown back on Saturday with a trouble-free ride in the 89km stage which started and finished at Stellenbosch University. They crossed the line almost nine minutes ahead of South African Candice Lill and her German partner Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin), the winners of Friday’s Stage 5.

The result leaves Investec-songo-Specialized holding a massive 30-minute lead over Summit Fin with just the final 70km stage remaining. Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) crossed the line just under two minutes behind Lill and Morath and consolidated their third position overall, but are now more than an hour behind the leaders.

Saturday’s penultimate stage quickly turned into a procession as Van der Breggen turned up the pace on the first climb soon after the start.

“Based on experience from yesterday, we figured that we ride better when we can get away and get a gap quite early,” explained Langvad after she crossed the line on Saturday. “We chatted about it and decided ‘That might be a nice plan’.

“I said: ‘Anna, the final decision is up to you, it depends on how you feel,’ – and she just went!” said Langvad, before adding with a giggle: “And so I thought, ‘Now I just have to follow her pace’.”

Van der Breggen said she felt a lot better after struggling on Friday.

“Today was way better than yesterday. I don’t know what went wrong yesterday – I had a bit of stomach problems and there were maybe just a few small things that all just combined to make me feel not so good.

“I liked the route more today. It was beautiful singletrack today and the climbs were a bit less steep, which suits me better. We had a good pace all day today.”

For the first time this year the pair seemed happy to agree with what everybody else has been saying since the opening Prologue almost a week ago: Investec-songo-Specialized will win the women’s category.

“I think we can do it … I hope so,” said Van der Breggen before the normally conservative Langvad chipped in and added: “I believe in us too … very much.”

Although Langvad did qualify her confident prediction: “Tomorrow is normally not as tough a day, and it would take a lot of mechanicals for us not to win … but nothing is for sure!”

In the race for the Absa African Women’s Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk finished the stage sixth overall – the sixth time out of seven stages they have claimed that position – and they now virtually just need to finish on Sunday to claim that title.

 

Men

7C CBZ WILIER soloed to victory on the penultimate stage of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic on Saturday. Louis Meijato and Johnny Cattaneo seized the initiative after Trek Selle San Marco suffered a disastrous mechanical, to win the brutal 89-kilometre challenge around Stellenbosch, in a time of 03:49:21.

"Today was fantastic for us,” Cattaneo said afterward. “We had some good luck and then we tried to push hard over the last 20-kilometres,” he commented.

The ‘luck’ he was referring to was indeed the puncture Trek Selle San Marco (who led for almost two-thirds of the race) suffered after Porro crashed at 65kms. They were forced to stop to repair their mechanical which saw the chase bunch of Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing and 7C CBZ WILIER overtake them.

Meija and Cattaneo attacked almost immediately and stayed away all the way to the finish. “This was one of the last two opportunities to win a stage,” Cattaneo added. “That’s what we wanted so we are really happy!”

Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing were happy to ride conservatively in second place after that, content in the knowledge that they were further extending their grip on the overall Yellow Jersey.

Said Forster after the finish: “Today was hard from the beginning, but we just tried to hold onto the other groups and extend our lead again.” Before adding, “we’re looking forward to the last stage tomorrow.”

The pair rode much of the early part of the stage – which featured some of the finest trails in the Simonsberg Conservancy and surrounds – with their back-up team (DSV-SCOTT-SRAM’s Gert Heyns and Andri Frischknecht). Promoting Schurter to emphasise just how important it is to have a strong supporting outfit in the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race.

“It’s essential,” he said. “No team has won before without a back-up team. But it’s also a mental thing.”

This was well proven by Trek Selle San Marco, who were without the assistance of their backup team after Michele Casagrande and Fabian Rabensteiner crashed out on the finish straight of the Queen Stage. They fought to stay in third. But who knows what could’ve been.

They were followed by Cannondale Factory Racing in fourth. The pair remain in second place on the GC despite another day on which Henrique Avancini had to nurse partner Manuel Fumic up the climbs.

Getting stronger by the day on the other hand, is the Absa African Men’s Jersey wearers of Matt Beers and Alan Hatherly. The young guns put in another solid effort to finish in fifth and consolidate their fifth place on the GC.

“I’m really happy to say that the body is starting to feel good again,” Beers said shortly after the finish, commenting on the recovery after his crash earlier in the week. “It was super hard with a lot very steep climbing, but the support out on route was just incredible."

“It’s really cool to be South Africans out there,” he said. “You just get goosebumps riding through the crowds and find that little bit extra. Thank you!”

Beers and Hatherly will be looking forward to finishing it off on the Trails to Val de Vie and claiming that final Red Jersey on the Champs-Élysées of the Absa Cape Epic. The final stage is by no means a simple showcase however and the 70km with 1 800m of climbing is bound to challenge all.

In the Dimension Data Masters category Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) finished second on the stage, 55 seconds behind Ondrej Fojtik and José Silva (Mitas Head New Race), but still lead the category by over an hour.

The dominant Grand Masters team of CST Sandd Bafang’s Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens won their seventh stage in a row and are now the only team that can still complete a clean-sweep of wins in any category. They hold a 90-minute advantage over Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) who have finished second in all but one of the stages so far.

Cape Town-based German husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) collected their sixth stage win on Saturday in the Virgin Active Mixed category. They will go into the Grand Finale to Val de Vie with a 50-minute lead over second-placed Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (MMR Mixed).

There was a new winner in the Exxaro Jersey race on Saturday with the Thesele Velokhaya team of Mthetheleli Boya and Loyiso Fulu producing their best ride of the week to edge out the jersey leaders Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) by a minute. The result does little to change the overall positions, with Mlangeni and Tlou holding a 38-minute advantage over Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree), while Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/RMB 1) are third, 55 minutes further back.

The Grand Finale Stage takes riders from Stellenbosch University along the trails to Val de Vie for the Champs-Élysées of the Absa Cape Epic. The 70km route is relatively short and the podium positions look settled, but there are still pitfalls which could create a final twist.

 

2019 Stage 6 Men’s Results

Men - Stage Results

  1. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 03:49.21,1
    2. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 03:51.40,9 +2.19,8
    3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 03:53.54,7 +4.33,6

Overall Results

  1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 23:12.06,2
    2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 23:20.06,5 +8.00,3
    3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 23:29.10,8 +17.04,6
    4. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 23:38.52,6 +26.46,4
    5. Specialized Foundation NAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 23:50.28,3 +38.22,1
    6. BUFF SCOTT MTB 11-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Spain) 11-2 Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Spain) 23:53.27,4 +41.21,2
    7. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 23:55.07,2 +43.01,0
    8. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 24:03.35,9 +51.29,7
    9. 7C CBZ WILIER 2 32-1 Tony Longo (Italy) 32-2 Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) 24:08.22,8 +56.16,6
    10. Tbelles - ProtourBCN 43-1 Roberto Bou Martin (Spain) 43-2 Alberto Losada (Spain) 24:18.33,9 +1:06.27,7

 

2019 Stage 5 Women’s Results

Stage Results

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 04:43.12,9
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 04:51.56,1 +8.43,2
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 04:53.40,2 +10.27,3

Overall Results

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 27:52.55,2
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 28:23.00,6 +30.05,4
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 28:54.50,8 +1:01.55,6
    4. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 29:21.24,1 +1:28.28,9
    5. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 29:30.02,1 +1:37.06,9
    6. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 31:02.03,2 +3:09.08,0
    7. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 31:52.46,9 +3:59.51,7
    8. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 35:51.28,9 +7:58.33,7

 

Dimension Data Masters category

Stage Results

  1. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 04:24.42,9
    2. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 04:25.38,8 +55,9
    3. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 04:33.22,5 +8.39,6

 

Overall Results

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 25:53.24,1
    2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 26:59.53,4 +1:06.29,3
    3. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 27:00.12,3 +1:06.48,2

 

Grand Masters category

Stage Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 04:23.23,1
    2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 04:41.51,2 +18.28,1
    3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 04:47.03,9 +23.40,8

 

Overall Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 26:39.44,8
    2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 28:10.55,7 +1:31.10,9
    3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 28:58.48,1 +2:19.03,3

 

Virgin Active Mixed category

Stage Results

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 04:54.19,4
    2. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 04:58.42,6 +4.23,2
    3. Ken & Katja 166-1 Ken Van Den Bulke (Belgium) 166-2 Katja Cauwenbergh (Belgium) 05:06.32,9 +12.13,5

 

Overall Results

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 28:50.07,3
    2. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 29:40.44,5 +50.37,2
    3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 30:03.22,2 +1:13.14,9
    4. Nardinature 293-1 Florence Darbellay (Switzerland) 293-2 Eric Morard (Switzerland) 30:30.49,6 +1:40.42,3

 

Absa African Men’s jersey

Stage Results

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 03:55.42,1
    2. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 03:59.39,9 +3.57,8
    3. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 04:03.31,5 +7.49,4

Overall Results

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 23:50.28,3
    2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 24:24.28,1 +33.59,8
    3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 24:35.02,8 +44.34,5

 

Absa African Women’s jersey

Stage Results

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 05:20.43,2
    2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 06:04.38,9 +43.55,7
    3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 06:49.18,0 +1:28.34,8

Overall Results

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 31:02.03,2
    2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 35:51.28,9 +4:49.25,7
    3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 40:03.50,9 +9:01.47,7

 

Exxaro jersey

Stage Results

  1. THESELE Velokhaya 275-1 Mthetheleli Boya (South Africa) 275-2 Loyiso Fulu (South Africa) 04:52.40,1
    2. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 04:53.47,7 +1.07,6
    3. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 05:00.51,2 +8.11,1

 

Overall Results

  1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 29:16.50,8
    2. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 29:54.39,4 +37.48,6
    3. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 30:11.42,9 +54.52,1

 

 


Swiss Epic makes rider’s Absa Cape Epic dream real

The Absa Cape Epic sells out in seconds and entries are in high demand. Absa Cape Epic founder Kevin Vermaak keeps a close eye on his ‘baby’ an event that has grown to establish itself as the pinnacle mountain bike stage race, known as The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race.

“Every year we think of a few things to make it bigger. To be honest in the beginning we just wanted to be the best, every year we try and push the boundaries and add new ideas.”

For Vermaak, the focus has always been on the people and their experience. It was with that in mind that the decision was taken to create the Epic Series (Swiss Epic, Pioneer in New Zealand and Absa Cape Epic) and beneath that, a series of qualifying events in Australia (Cape to Cape, Port to Port, Reef to Reef).

“I thought ‘there must be a way to extend that community 12 months of the year’ and to other countries as well. At the end of the day people that have a kindred spirit and love doing what they are doing, you should be able to create a similar challenge around the rest of the world as well.”

One rider to benefit from the Epic Series is Bjorn Tschenett from Switzerland. He is riding with good friend and countryman Bernhard Aebli at the Cape Epic, and is only here thanks to gaining a guaranteed entry at the Swiss Epic via the Lottery Draw.

“In 1996 I began with mountain bike riding and a few years later I saw the Absa Cape Epic in a magazine, and I was ‘oh, that is cool’ and dreamed of being here. But I never thought I would ride the race, so the lottery was a big victory for me. Without the lottery at the Swiss Epic, I would not be here in South Africa for the Epic.”

Bjorn was in no doubt as to which is the tougher of the two events.

“It is very hard, it is very hot and at the Swiss Epic it is not so warm. And it is very long, at the Swiss Epic we have shorter distance, but the climbs are longer. Here the climbs are very short and steep, it is not so good for Swiss guys. How tough it is makes it more special though, to get to the finish line. But the ambience and atmosphere is amazing here.”

And he hasn’t discounted a long journey to New Zealand for The Pioneer and a possible Epic Legend Medal (for completing all three Epic Series Legend Races – Absa Cape Epic, Swiss Epic and The Pioneer).

“Yes, but it is a long way. We have a mechanic in our town, always he says ‘come with me to The Pioneer. It would be a nice thing, but at the moment I don’t know.”

“There is a tremendous community amongst the mountain bikers, you can see it here at the epic. Over eight days you bond with riders you have never met before, from all around the planet. Over eight days you bond with them and are going through similar suffering, even if you can’t speak the language you understand each other.

Tschenett and his riding partner Bernhard stayed focused the task at hand during race week in their quest to conquer the Absa Cape Epic – the dream of finishing The Untamed African mountain bike race.

 

The Epic Series Legend Races

Absa Cape Epic, March 2019
The pinnacle of the sport and of the Epic Series. 8 days, (prologue plus 7 stages), 650km riding, 15,000m climbing. Two-person teams. The most competitive mountain bike stage race in the world.
www.cape-epic.com

The Pioneer, New Zealand, November 2019
6 Days, 430km riding and 15,000m climbing. Beautiful and soulful riding, a wilderness mountain bike and travel adventure and yet still competitive. Ride Beyond – Find Character – Find Stunning – Find Welcome
www.thepioneer.co.nz

Swiss Epic, Switzerland, August 2019
5 Days, 350km riding and 12,000m climbing. High alpine climbs and steep descents, home of European mountain biking, quintessential Alpine scenery and competitive. Conquer the Alps.
www.swiss-epic.com

 

Epic Series Qualifier Races
A pre-determined number of guaranteed entries to the Absa Cape Epic are allocated to each Epic Series event, with riders earning these guaranteed entries either through performance, or via the lottery draw.

Port to Port, New South Wales, Australia, May 2019
4 Days, 195km and 3,500m of climbing. Centres around Newcastle, with riders exploring the trails and admiring the iconic scenery in the Hunter Region
www.porttoportmtb.com

Reef to Reef, North Queensland, Australia, August 2019
4 Days, 190km and 1500m of climbing. Four days in the heart of Tropical North Queensland, start on the reef fringed Coral Sea coast and feature fast flowing single trail
www.reeftoreefmtb.com

Cape to Cape, Western Australia, October 2019
4 Days, 210km and 2,550m of climbing. Exhilarating forest trails, back country and coastline in the south western tip of Australia

www.capetocapemtb.com

 

 

 


Locals take the glory on stage 5 at Absa Cape Epic

Renaissance men Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys from South Africa shrugged off a disastrous first five days to win The Queen Stage of the Absa Cape Epic from Oak Valley Estate to Stellenbosch University. Former South African cross country champion Candice Lill, teamed with German Adelheid Morath took centre stage at the women’s category awards ceremony.

 

Men

The PYGA Euro Steel pair is the first South African team to stand on the top step of an Absa Cape Epic stage podium since they performed the same feat way back in 2015.

Quite poetically they were racing for Scott Factory Racing back then. On Friday, Buys and Beukes finished just ahead of Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing, who rode their way back into the Yellow Jerseys and a 5:13 buffer on overnight GC leaders Cannondale Factory Racing.

With his wife and daughter at the finish, an emotional Beukes confirmed that this victory was indeed that much sweeter than Stage 4 in 2015.

“This is really special after quite a disappointing race so far,” he said. “We came here with an overall podium as a goal, but it didn’t quite work out.”

According to Beukes they took it easy on the Time Trial and decided to target a stage in the last three days. “To do it on the Queen Stage is amazing,” Beukes confirmed adding that it was by no means easy.

“To be honest I didn’t feel that great today with dead legs from the start this morning.”

“I had to dig so deep and it was just a mental thing to keep suffering and not give up and I'm really proud that we won that battle.”

Indeed, the flagship stage lived up to its moniker and provided no shortage of action and drama. In the Men’s race it started right from the gun at Oak Valley Estate, when Henrique Avancini of Cannondale Factory Racing went out hard. The usual suspects went with him including KROSS-SPUR (who claimed yet another Dimension Data Hotspot).

By the first water point at Eikenhof Dam (24-kilometres in), KROSS-SPUR had blown and Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing and Pyga Euro Steel were out in front. They duly controlled the race from there.

“The plan was to make it hard from the beginning and put the pressure on Cannondale,” Nino Schurter said afterward, explaining how they got away early only for Lars Forster to puncture. “We lost some time, but managed well and then we had the perfect situation in the front with Pyga.”

“They are racing for the (Absa African) Red Jersey and we are racing for the Yellow,” he said.

“It was nice to spend the day out with them,” Phil Buys agreed. “The plan was to be in the front, but to be up there with the World Champ and the European Champ was great.”

Downplaying the gravity of the occasion too was Trek Selle San Marco who took third on the day, further solidifying their spot on the GC podium. “We had to stop at the tech zone and change a saddle,” said Samuele Porro, explaining how they felt strong on the King’s Climb and made back all their time there.

Overnight Yellow Jersey wearers Cannondale Factory Racing had a tough day out. Despite’s Avancini’s early surges the ever-popular pair took a few tumbles and resorted to a day of defence in order to limit their losses. Fumic had to dig particularly deep. They would eventually finish fourth on the Coetzenberg sports fields at Stellenbosch University.

Their crash was indicative of a day filled with spills as the fatigue toll started setting in across the field. Cannondale Factory Racing live to fight another day however, not so fortunate are Centurion Vaude. Jochen Kaess had a race-ending crash which saw him unable to continue.

Centurion Vaude’s demise saw SpecializedFoundationNAD Alan Hatherly and Matthew Beers move up into fifth place on GC. They remain firmly in the Absa African Men’s Jersey after another solid performance. Saturday’s penultimate stage is bound to be another brutal challenge with 2 650 metres of climbing over 89 kilometres.

 

Women

South African Candice Lill and her German partner Adelheid Morath became the Queens of the Queen Stage when they won the 100km Stage 5 from Oak Valley Estate to Stellenbosch University on Friday.

The Summit Fin pair were able to temporarily halt the victory march of the Investec-songo-Specialized team of World Champions Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen who had convincingly won every other day of racing.

Lill and Morath finished the stage in a time of 5:20:42, just over four minutes ahead of Langvad and Van der Breggen, with Silverback-Fairtree’s Jennie Stenerhag and Mariske Strauss finishing third, seven minutes further back – despite a big crash for Strauss when a rider went down in front of her near the finish.

Going into Saturday’s and Sunday’s final 159km of racing, the Investec-songo-Specialized duo still hold a 21-minute lead over Lill and Morath with Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) third, another 30 minutes further back.

Lill and Morath broke away with the race leaders soon after the start and at the first water point the two teams had already established a significant lead over their rivals. Van der Breggen then crashed and punctured which meant the South African and her German partner were able to build a two-minute lead at the halfway point.

With Van der Breggen struggling to get back into a rhythm after her crash and the compulsory portage down the Gantouw Pass, Investec-songo-Specialized opted to ride a steady pace and minimise their losses. Their decision to back off from chasing the stage win allowed Summit Fin to double their lead to the finish.

“It was very hard out there today,” said Lill after the finish. “Those little bumps on the route profile never seemed to end. It just felt like non-stop climbing today.

“Anna had a crash in front of me on an early descent and we got a gap and then just kept it steady until the end.”

The South African was very pleased to have made it a double win for South Africa, in both the Men’s and Women’s categories, on the Queen Stage.

“The spectators were amazing out there … they really got me through today. It is awesome for South Africa with Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys winning too. With Stellenbosch being a cycling hub for South Africa, there were so many spectators out there – I got tears in my eyes with them all shouting for me.

“We did not expect to win the stage. We knew the climbing suited us, but Annika and Anna are a pretty formidable pair, so to pull off this win is pretty special.”

Van der Breggen had no obvious reason for her struggles after the Investec-songo-Specialized dominance before Friday.

“The beginning was fine,” said the Olympic Road Race Champion as she waited for the podium presentation. “But after my crash I just felt really bad. Then when we fixed the tyre we stood still for a while. All of that and then after the portage, I just felt really bad.

In the race for the Absa African Women’s Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk finished the stage as the sixth women overall and maintained their big lead in the competition.

Saturday’s penultimate stage starts and finishes in Stellenbosch and sees riders complete an 89km out-and-back course on the trails around the historic town.

 

2019 Stage 5 Men’s Results

Stage Results

  1. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 04:19.29,5
    2. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 04:19.30,2 +0,7
    3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 04:25.44,0 +6.14,5

GC after stage 5

  1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 19:20.25,3
    2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 19:25.38,9 +5.13,6
    3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 19:35.16,0 +14.50,7
    4. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 19:41.54,9 +21.29,6
    5. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 19:54.46,1 +34.20,8
    6. BUFF SCOTT MTB 11-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Spain) 11-2 Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Spain) 19:57.36,2 +37.10,9
    7. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 20:04.26,2 +44.00,9
    8. BULLS Legends 2-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 2-2 Alban Lakata (Austria) 20:05.05,6 +44.40,3
    9. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 20:05.46,0 +45.20,7
    10. 7C CBZ WILIER 2 32-1 Tony Longo (Italy) 32-2 Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) 20:07.49,3 +47.24,0

 

2019 Stage 5 Women’s Results

Stage Results

  1. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 05:20.42,1
    2. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 05:24.48,0 +4.05,9
    3. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 05:32.12,2 +11.30,1

GC after stage 5

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 23:09.42,2
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 23:31.04,5 +21.22,3
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 24:01.10,5 +51.28,3
    4. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 24:09.06,5 +59.24,3
    5. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 24:29.07,9 +1:19.25,7
    6. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 25:41.20,0 +2:31.37,8
    7. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 26:22.27,5 +3:12.45,3

 


Three world champions top time trial results at the Absa Cape Epic

Minor crashes for marathon world champion Annika Langvad from Investec-songo-Specialized, the leading Women’s category team, and Manuel Fumic from Cannondale Factory Racing, did not result in any physical injuries although Fumic damaged his bike and now he and partner Henrique Avancini (men's marathon world champion) are likely to face a tough battle to hold their lead in Friday’s 100km Queen Stage.

Langvad and van der Breggen collected their fifth win from five stages despite Langvad sliding off the trail at one point when she “lost concentration”. The pair of World Champions added another 1:44 to their lead over Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) and now lead the Women’s category by over 25 minutes while Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) are 33 minutes off the leaders in third.

While the women’s race is turning into a fight for second, the battle for the Men’s category overall lead is building to an exciting Grand Finale and the two leading teams are sure to be looking for every second they can find on Friday’s ride from Oak Valley to Stellenbosch.

Fumic crashed within three kilometres of the start and damaged his suspension lockout system, leaving the Germanwith no rear suspension for the remainder of the 43km race against the clock.

The Cannondale Factory Racing pair still ended second on the day, but lost 88 seconds to Stage 4 winners, the Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing pair of world cross country champion Nino Schurter and Lars Forster. Fumic and Avancini held on to their overall lead but now only have a tenuous advantage of just 73 seconds with three stages and 259km of tough racing remaining.

There was a change in the minor placings with Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco) moving into third, nine minutes and 50 seconds behind the leaders, but just 13 seconds ahead of fourth placed Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn (BULLS Heroes).

The leading Absa African Men’s Jersey team of Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (Specialized Foundation NAD) bounced back from Beers’ big crash on Stage 3 and finished eighth overall on the day to move up to sixth on GC. They are now almost 25 minutes ahead of Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens (Imbuko Giant) with last year’s Red Jersey winner Julian Jessop and Arno du Toit (DSV Pro Cycling) 15 minutes further back in 18th overall.

Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) have a three-hour lead in the Absa African Women’sJersey race and are currently lying sixth overall among the women.

There were a few new faces at the top of the stage podium on Thursday in other categories.

In the Dimension Data Masters category, former road-racing professionals Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii (IBS Capital Allies) collected their first stage win, but are still a distant 43 minutes behind category leaders Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing). Ondrej Fojtik and José Silva (Mitas Head New Race) were second over the Time Trial course and are third overall, just over three minutes behind the stage winners on GC.

Grand Masters leaders Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) added another 11 minutes to their lead with Andrew McLean and David de Lima (Cycle Lab) claimingsecond despite McLean injuring his eye on Wednesday’s stage. Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) remain second overall, a remote 48 minutes off the lead and 30 minutes ahead of McLean and de Lima.

Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR Werner) suffered their first defeat in the Virgin Active Mixed category when David Miller and Shayna Powless (Miller Paneling) beat former road riding world champion Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (MMR Mixed) into second by just 30 seconds. The Starks were third on the day and lead the category by 43 minutes with Miller Paneling just 63 seconds ahead of MMR Mixed in the battle for second.

The exciting race for theExxaro Jerseyalso threw up a new result with overnight leaders Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro Pepto Sport) struggling home fourth on the stage and dropping just over a minute behind Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) on GC. The stage winners were Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree) who beat all their rivals by over four minutes to hold onto third overall.

Friday’s stage is the Queen stage and competitors face a tough 100km with 2 850m of climbing as they make their way from Oak ValleyEstateto the new race village at Stellenbosch University.

 

2019 Stage 4 Men

Stage Results

  1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 01:38.41,5
    2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 01:40.09,6 +1.28,1
    3. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 01:41.04,2 +2.22,7

GC after stage 4

  1. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 14:59.41,5
    2. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 15:00.55,0 +1.13,5
    3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 15:09.31,9 +9.50,4

 

2019 Stage 4 Women

Stage Results

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 02:02.01,4
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 02:03.45,7 +1.44,3
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 02:05.46,7 +3.45,3

GC after stage 4

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 17:44.54,2
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 18:10.22,4 +25.28,2
    3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 18:18.27,3 +33.33,1

 

2019 Stage 4 Masters

Stage Results

  1. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 01:52.42,5
    2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 01:56.07,0 +3.24,5
    3. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 01:57.35,9 +4.53,4

GC after stage 4

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 16:36.03,3
    2. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 17:19.15,6 +43.12,3
    3. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 17:22.58,8 +46.55,5

 

2019 Stage 4 Grand Masters

Stage Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 01:53.06,8
    2. Cycle Lab 317-1 Andrew Mclean (South Africa) 317-2 David De Lima (South Africa) 02:04.00,4 +10.53,6
    3. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 02:04.15,1 +11.08,3

GC after stage 4

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 17:22.10,2
    2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 18:10.35,5 +48.25,3
    3. Cycle Lab 317-1 Andrew Mclean (South Africa) 317-2 David De Lima (South Africa) 18:43.13,2 +1:21.03,0

 

2019 Stage 4 Mixed

Stage Results

  1. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 02:04.44,9
    2. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 02:05.14,9 +30,0
    3. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 02:06.39,7 +1.54,8

GC after stage 4

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 18:27.48,2
    2. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 19:11.09,6 +43.21,4
    3. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 19:12.13,0 +44.24,8

 

2019 Stage 4 Absa African Men

Stage Results

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 01:43.23,5
    2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 01:44.53,2 +1.29,7
    3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 01:45.09,0 +1.45,5

GC after stage 4

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 15:21.18,6
    2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 15:46.00,6 +24.42,0
    3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 16:00.55,2 +39.36,6

 

2019 Stage 4 Absa African Women

Stage Results

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 02:11.43,6
    2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 02:29.30,4 +17.46,8
    3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 02:46.48,8 +35.05,2

GC after stage 4

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 19:49.55,0
    2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 22:56.34,1 +3:06.39,1
    3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 25:30.46,4 +5:40.51,4

 

2019 Stage 4 Exxaro

Stage Results

  1. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 01:57.15,7
    2. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 02:01.23,8 +4.08,1
    3. Exxaro/RMB 1 88-1 Kagiso Tlou (South Africa) 88-2 Patrick Rengane (South Africa) 02:03.38,3 +6.22,6

GC after stage 4

  1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 19:02.57,3
    2. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 19:04.09,3 +1.12,0
    3. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 19:29.39,1 +26.41,8

 


Dramatic Change in Leaders at Absa Cape Epic

Much speculation had been made around a clean-sweep of wins for the men’s Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing and women’s Investec-songo-Specialized pairs ahead of Stage 3’s 107km out-and-back loop from Oak Valley Estate in Elgin; but this is the Absa Cape Epic and it’s not often that a story can be concluded prior to the crossing of the finish line at Val de Vie Estate.

In the Men’s category, overnight leaders Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) started the fourth day of racing with a healthy four-minute lead after three stage wins, but a puncture on Groenlandberg for Forster – and problems removing the tyre – meant he was forced to ride on the rim for a while before receiving a new wheel.

Their problems ended up costing the dominant leaders a massive nine minutes and the overall lead before they could start their chase back. Second-placed Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) then proceeded to ride almost 70km by themselves to win the stage ahead of Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn ( Bulls Heroes) with Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco) third.

Cannondale’s trouble-free-run means they have taken over the Assos leader’s jerseys with a two-minute 42-second advantage over Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing, while Bulls Heroes have moved up to third, five minutes further back and just 11 seconds ahead of the Trek Selle San Marco pair.

In the Women’s category there was also drama, although Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) cruised to their fourth win from four stages and now lead that race by a massive 23 minutes.

Behind them, second-placed Ariane Lüthi punctured and with partner Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) lost a chunk of time to slip down to third on the overall standings, behind South African Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) who also finished second on the stage.

While there was plenty of movement in the GC of the Men’s and Women’s races, the other racing categories mostly followed the same patterns as the opening three stages, except for the Absa African Women’s special jersey,  which now has a new leader.

Amy McDougall was forced to withdraw with a stomach bug, leaving her dormakaba Ladies teammate Sam Sanders to ride on alone in the Leopard jersey. Their withdrawal leaves the Galileo Risk pairing of Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill to take over the top all-African team with a lead of almost three hours.

The SpecializedFoundationNAD team, who are leading Absa African Men’s special jersey race, also looked to be in danger when Matt Beers took a heavy fall, but the tough former Moto-X rider picked himself up and continued. Alan Hatherly and Beers calmly rode back to the front of the all-Africa race and now lead the jersey by 23 minutes with Imbuko Giant (Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens) in second.

Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR Werner), the German husband and wife team who are living and working in Cape Town for a year, consolidated their lead in the Virgin Active Mixed category and added another five minutes to their lead. Former road riding world champion Oscar Freire Gomez and his partner Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (MMR Mixed) are second.

Popular Spaniard Jose Hermida and his partner, multiple Grand Tour stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing), added to their lead in the Dimension Data Masters category and are now a huge 48-minutes ahead of Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii (IBS Capital Allies).

Grand Masters leaders Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) have a lead of 37 minutes over Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) after winning Wednesday’s stage by 17 minutes.

For the first time this year the Exxaro special jersey race did not see a change in leader, although Exxaro Pepto Sport’s Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana did concede ten minutes to Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1). The stage winners have now moved into second position, ahead of Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree), and less than three minutes behind Baloyi and Mtalana.

Thursday’s Stage 4 is a 43km time trial starting at Oak Valley.

 

Stage 3 Men’s Results

Stage Results
1. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 04:30.00,3
2. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 04:32.24,7 +2.24,4
3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 04:33.44,1 +3.43,8

 

GC after stage 3
1. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 13:19.31,9
2. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 13:22.13,4 +2.41,5
3. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 13:27.17,0 +7.45,1
4. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 13:27.28,0 +7.56,1
5. Centurion Vaude 9-1 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 9-2 Jochen Kaess (Germany) 13:36.45,4 +17.13,5
6. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 13:37.13,6 +17.41,7
7. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 13:37.55,1 +18.23,2
8. BUFF SCOTT MTB 11-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Spain) 11-2 Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Spain) 13:44.07,0 +24.35,1
9. BULLS Legends 2-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 2-2 Alban Lakata (Austria) 13:45.57,0 +26.25,1
10. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 13:51.45,4 +32.13,5

 

 

Stage 3 Women's Results

Stage Results

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 05:23.43,3
    2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 05:29.35,3 +5.52,0
    3. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 05:43.37,0 +19.53,7

 

GC after stage 3
1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 15:42.52,8
2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 16:06.36,6 +23.43,8
3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 16:12.40,6 +29.47,8
4. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 16:30.28,1 +47.35,3
5. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 16:43.24,7 +1:00.31,9
6. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 17:38.11,4 +1:55.18,6
7. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 18:06.23,4 +2:23.30,6
8. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 20:27.03,6 +4:44.10,8

 

 

Dimension Data Masters category

Stage Results

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 05:03.29,5
  2. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 05:14.58,4 +11.28,9
  3. Dani Schnider Radsport 593-1 Oliver Imfeld (Switzerland) 593-2 Stefan Duss (Switzerland) 05:28.47,6 +25.18,1

 

GC after stage 3

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 14:38.27,3
  2. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 15:26.33,0 +48.05,7
  3. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 15:26.51,8 +48.24,5

 

 

Grand Masters category

Stage Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 05:15.27,7
  2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 05:33.01,2 +17.33,5
  3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 05:35.46,5 +20.18,8

 

GC after stage 3

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 15:29.03,4
  2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 16:06.20,4 +37.17,0
  3. Zboys Racing 292-1 Tim Zimmerman (United States of America) 292-2 Troy Zimmerman (United States of America) 16:34.17,2 +1:05.13,8

 

 

Virgin Active Mixed category

Stage Results

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 05:42.21,6
  2. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 05:47.29,3 +5.07,7
  3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 05:54.18,1 +11.56,5

 

GC after stage 3

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 16:21.08,5
  2. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 17:06.24,7 +45.16,2
  3. MMR MIXED 70-1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain) 70-2 Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (Spain) 17:06.58,0 +45.49,5

 

 

Absa African Men’s jersey

Stage Results

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 04:38.33,3
  2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 04:44.20,4 +5.47,1
  3. NAD MTB 15-2 Wessel Botha (South Africa) 15-1 Gawie Combrinck (South Africa) 04:52.51,6 +14.18,3

 

GC after stage 3

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 13:37.55,1
  2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 14:01.07,3 +23.12,2
  3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 14:15.46,1 +37.51,0

 

 

Absa African Women’s jersey

Stage Results

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 05:55.15,6
  2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 06:59.58,2 +1:04.42,6
  3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 07:50.56,7 +1:55.41,1

 

GC after stage 3

  1. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 17:38.11,4
  2. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 20:27.03,6 +2:48.52,2
  3. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 22:43.57,6 +5:05.46,2

 

 

Exxaro jersey

Stage Results

  1. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 05:41.01,4
  2. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 05:51.00,4 +9.59,0
  3. THESELE Velokhaya 275-1 Mthetheleli Boya (South Africa) 275-2 Loyiso Fulu (South Africa) 06:07.15,8 +26.14,4

 

GC after stage 3

  1. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 16:58.52,4
  2. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 17:01.33,4 +2.41,0
  3. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 17:32.23,3 +33.30,9

A day of hatricks on stage 2 at Absa Cape Epic

Today’s racing was simple and complicated, all at the same time, as four out of five categories claimed three-from-three stage victories. 

 

The Swiss pairing of Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) once again topped the Men’s Race. As did Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) in the Women’s category and Merida Factory Racing in the Dimension Data Masters category. Husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR Werner) followed suite in the Virgin Active Mixed too.

 

Women

The Danish/Dutch duo of Langvad and van der Breggen extended their lead despite changing their strategy mid-race on Tuesday.The MTB and road world champion pairing made the decisive move about three-quarters of the way through the 90km stage from Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate in Elgin; but their plan before the start was to not attack their nearest rivals, the Kross-Spur Racing duo of Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska.

“Yesterday (Monday) we were quite broken when we crossed the finish line, so today we actually wanted to try and save energy as much as we could,” said five-time World Marathon Champion Langvad as she recovered after the stage. “It was so far today that we just wanted to try and hang on to (Lüthi  and Wloszczowska), but at the last big climb we could feel that they were fading and so we pushed the pace a bit and got a gap. The climb is at the end of the stage, so you need to time it well to have something left in the tank after the climb.”

At the end of the stage Langvad and Van der Breggen had opened up a two minute gap which leaves them with a healthy cushion of close to eight minutes going into the 107km Stage 3. Wednesday’s stage is a tough out-and-back loop from Oak Valley that takes in the famed Groenlandberg climb and its treacherous descent.

The Summit Fin pairing of South Africa’s Candice Lill and her German partner Adelheid Morath crossed the line third and they are now 18 minutes off the pace in third position overall.

Despite building a big advantage before the riders have even reached the halfway stage of the eight-day event, Langvad refuses to be drawn into any talk of a clean-sweep of eight wins in eight stages. “Nothing about this race is ever sure until you cross the finish line – but so far so good,” was as far as she would go toward contemplating victory at Val de Vie Estate on Sunday.

Langvad’s Olympic Road Champion partner also refused to look too far ahead, but was clearly pleased to have come through the transition stage to Oak Valley unscathed. “I am really tired, but I am really happy with today’s stage,” said Van der Breggen after the finish. “We stayed with Maja and Ariane on the downhills and the technical sections, including the Land Rover Technical Terrain. We managed to keep up without crashing – and it was very easy to crash today because it was very fast. So that makes it a good day for me.”

Despite losing time on their main rivals for the third day in a row, Lüthi was clearly content to have increased their lead over the third-placed Summit Fin team.

“I knew that the time would come (when Langvad and Van der Breggen would break away),” said a philosophical Lüthi after crossing the line. “They are just playing it really, really smart. They are excellent riders and know how to play the game.

“They did not need to do any work in the front. It is our task to do that as we try to get away from third place. So I knew the moment would come when they would pull away, but it was good to ride with them and I was super happy to get a gap on third.

“As long as we can play it like that I am super happy,” added Lüthi.

 

Women Results

Stage 2

1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 04:18.01,2
2. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 04:20.09,2 +2.08,0
3. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 04:27.55,6 +9.54,4

GC after stage 2
1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 10:18.57,4
2. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 10:26.48,2 +7.50,8
3. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 10:37.01,3 +18.03,9
4. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 10:46.51,1 +27.53,7
5. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 10:49.17,8 +30.20,4
6. dormakaba Ladies 55-1 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 55-2 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 11:04.54,0 +45.56,6
7. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 11:42.55,7 +1:23.58,3
8. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 11:55.29,8 +1:36.32,4

 

Men

The Swiss pairing of Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) once again left no doubt that they have the strongest legs at the Absa Cape Epic when they picked up their third win in three days on Tuesday.

After their tactical masterclass in Monday’s long Stage 1, the Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing pairing used raw power to generate the decisive stage-winning break on the 90km ride from Hermanus to Oak Valley on Tuesday.

Schurter and Forster launched a brutal attack up a steep climb 10km from the finish on Stage 2 and then powered away to a 30-second lead over the KROSS-SPUR team of Sergio Guiterrez and Ondřej Cink with Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) a second further back.

Of course there were many stories and sub-stories to these victories. However the most fascinating tales are those being recounted by the warriors who make up the rest of the field. The EDGE chill zone abounds tonight with stories of long sandy stretches, tough climbs and exhilarating descends - mostly highlighted by the Land Rover Technical Terrain, a rollercoaster ride down into Wildekrans. As well as the iconic singletracks of Lebanon Forest.

Schurter and Forster now hold a four minute and four second lead over the Cannondale pair with Trek Selle San Marco’s Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro moving up to third, eight minutes behind the leaders.

The big losers of the day were former World Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy and Commonwealth Champion Sam Gaze (Investec-songo-Specialized). After starting the day in third position, Gaze felt the after-effects of his big crash on Stage 1 and they finished nearly 30 minutes off the pace to slide down to 19th overall.

 

Men Results

Stage 2

1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 03:37.41,3
2. KROSS-SPUR 14-1 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 14-2 Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 03:38.11,0 +29,7
3. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 03:38.12,3 +31,0

 

GC after stage 2

1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 08:45.27,5
2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 08:49.31,6 +4.04,1
3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 08:53.43,9 +8.16,4
4. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 08:54.52,2 +9.24,7
5. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 08:58.37,3 +13.09,8
6. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 08:59.21,7 +13.54,2
7. Centurion Vaude 9-1 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 9-2 Jochen Kaess (Germany) 08:59.58,8 +14.31,3
8. BULLS Legends 2-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 2-2 Alban Lakata (Austria) 09:05.34,6 +20.07,1
9. BUFF SCOTT MTB 11-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Spain) 11-2 Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Spain) 09:05.55,2 +20.27,7
10. Pro Devonbosch Qhubeka 26-1 Frans Claes (Belgium) 26-2 Hendrik Kruger (South Africa) 09:06.40,7 +21.13,2

 

Other categories

In other racing categories, the only change to the leaders was in the fiercely competitive Exxaro Jersey race where Exxaro Pepto Sport’s Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana became the third jersey-wearers in three days. They won the stage by nearly six minutes to move four minutes ahead of Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree).

The husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR Werner) added another 12 minutes to their lead in the Virgin Active Mixed category, although the MMR Mixed team of former road riding world champion Oscar Freire Gomez and his partner Natalia Fischer Egusquiza moved up to third overall by finishing the stage in second place. Team Miller Paneling (David Miller and Shayna Poweless) slipped down to third after they finished the stage third.

Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) won the stage in the Absa African Women’s Special Jersey race but overall are still 38 minutes behind Sam Sanders and Amy Mcdougall (dormakaba Ladies). In the equivalent Absa African Men’s Special Jersey race, Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (SpecializedFoundationNAD) finished seventh overall for the day and now lie sixth overall on GC, leading the race for red by 17 minutes over Imbuko Giant’s Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens.

Spanish joker Jose Hermida and his compatriot Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) extended their lead in the Dimension Data Masters category and now lead Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii (IBS Capital Allies) by 16 minutes, while Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) did the same in the Grand Masters and are almost 20 minutes clear of Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal).

 

See more at www.cape-epic.com

 

 

 

 

 


Dominance consolidated on Stage 1 of Absa Cape Epic 

Prologue winners Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) increased their lead in the Women’s race with a dominant performance that saw them ride away from their rivals early and set up a lonely journey back to the start/finish.

After their nearest rivals allowed the Danish / Dutch pair to break away on the early climbs out of Hermanus, the Investec-songo-Specialized team grew their overnight lead to a huge five-minute 42-second advantage. Kross-Spur Racing’s Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) and Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) are second after finishing Stage 1 over three minutes behind.

Such is the dominance of the leaders that Wloszczowska admitted afterwards that they “did not even try and stay with (Langvad and Van der Breggen). If we had tried to go with them at the beginning we would have killed ourselves.”

In contrast, the Men’s category was a tough battle for nearly 80km until the all-Swiss pairing of Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) finally saw off the challenge of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) with a brutally efficient tactical attack.

Earlier a three-team break looked ready to fight to the finish, but Sam Gaze had a fall which cracked his helmet and left him groggy – and meant he and his Investec-songo-Specialized partner, defending champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, faded back into the chasing group and out of contention for stage honours.

The remaining two teams only split with about 30km to go when Forster and Schurter launched a clinical tactical attack that left the Cannondale pair with no chance of fighting back. In the end Schurter and Forster crossed the line 2:51 ahead of the Cannondale Factory team to extend their lead to 3:33 overall. Pre-race co-favourites Gaze and Kulhavy moved up to third overall despite their troubles.

The race for the Absa African Men’s Jersey saw Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (SpecializedFoundationNAD) grow their lead to ten minutes after Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes struggled in the heat at the end of the stage. The PYGA Euro Steel pair have now slipped back to third behind Imbuko Giant’s Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens.

The Absa African Women’s Jersey race was a triumph for the dormakaba Ladies combination of Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall who are now a massive 42 minutes clear of Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill.

Crowd favourite and former World Champion Jose Hermida and his Merida Factory Racing partner, Joaquim Rodriguez, grew their lead in the Dimension Data Masters category by almost 11 minutes and now lead the Dutch pair of Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii (IBS Capital Allies) by over 14 minutes.

In the Grand Masters, Brazilian Abraao Azevedo and former winner Bart Brentjens  (CST Sandd Bafang) added another seven minutes to the advantage they gained in the Prologue and will take a 8:30 lead into Stage 2. Team Meerendal’s Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber are second with Progressive Livestock’s Shaun Portegys and Timothy O’Leary third, just three minutes further behind.

German husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) added to their lead in the Virgin Active Mixed category and now enjoy a 16-minute advantage over the Spanish pairing of Ramona Gabriel Batalla and Antonio Moreno Ortega (Garmin Ixcor). Miller Paneling’s David Miller and Shayna Powless from the USA are third, five minutes further behind.

The only jersey to see a change in leader from the Prologue was in the Exxaro race, where Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree) took over the lead from Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) who have slipped down to third, just behind Exxaro Pepto Sport’s Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana.

Tuesday’s Stage 2 is relatively short in kilometres, but with 2 250m of climbing packed into the 90km stage from Hermanus to Oak Valley, the day will still be a tough test likely to be remembered as brutal.

 

Dimension Data Masters Stage Results

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 04:45.22,5
  2. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 04:56.18,9 +10.56,4
  3. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 05:07.43,4 +22.20,9

 

Overall Results

  1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 05:34.08,8
  2. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 05:48.07,6 +13.58,8
  3. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 06:00.31,6 +26.22,8

 

Grand Masters Stage Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 05:09.11,1
  2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 05:16.19,0 +7.07,9
  3. Progressive Livestock 274-1 Shaun Portegys (New Zealand) 274-2 Timothy OLeary (New Zealand) 05:17.58,0 +8.46,9

 

Overall Results

  1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 06:02.17,4
  2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 06:10.47,5 +8.30,1
  3. Progressive Livestock 274-1 Shaun Portegys (New Zealand) 274-2 Timothy OLeary (New Zealand) 06:13.47,3 +11.29,9

 

Virgin Active Mixed Stage Results

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 05:21.23,5
  2. Garmin Ixcor 71-1 Ramona Gabriel Batalla (Spain) 71-2 Antonio Moreno Ortega (Spain) 05:33.03,1 +11.39,6
  3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 05:36.47,3 +15.23,8

 

Overall Results

  1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 06:15.25,2
  2. Garmin Ixcor 71-1 Ramona Gabriel Batalla (Spain) 71-2 Antonio Moreno Ortega (Spain) 06:31.51,4 +16.26,2
  3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 06:36.45,2 +21.20,0

 

Absa African Men Stage Results

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 04:33.00,9
  2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 04:39.34,5 +6.33,6
  3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 04:42.42,2 +9.41,3

 

Overall Results

  1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 05:18.04,9
  2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 05:28.05,7 +10.00,8
  3. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 05:29.49,9 +11.45,0

 

Absa African Women Stage Results

  1. dormakaba Ladies 55-1 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 55-2 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 05:25.38,2
  2. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 05:38.24,5 +12.46,3
  3. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 06:47.06,8 +1:21.28,6

 

Overall Results

  1. dormakaba Ladies 55-1 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 55-2 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 06:23.01,1
  2. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 07:05.13,7 +42.12,6
  3. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 07:56.02,7 +1:33.01,6

 

Exxaro Jersey Stage Results

  1. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 05:29.21,9
  2. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 05:36.09,2 +6.47,3
  3. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 05:45.47,6 +16.25,7

 

Overall Results

  1. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 06:23.44,0
  2. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 06:32.54,4 +9.10,4
  3. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 06:39.42,1 +15.58,1

 


World Champions establish their superiority at Absa Cape Epic

It was a day for the World Champions on the opening Prologue of the Absa Cape Epic on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday with Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen dominating the Women's category while Nino Schurter and Lars Forster took control of the elite men’s race.

The Swiss pairing of multiple World and Olympic Champion Schurter and his new partner Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing) opened up a 41-second lead over German Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) on the 20km Prologue which started and finished at UCT on Sunday. Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez and Ondřej Cink (Kross-Spur) were third, 53 seconds behind the leaders.
“The course suited us quite well,” said 32-year-old World Cross Country Champion Schurter who is racing with Swiss compatriot and race debutant, Lars Forster. “We are cross country racers and this is our strength, so we are happy with the win.
“We want to win the whole race,” he added, “so hopefully everything goes according to plan for the next seven days.”
In the women’s race, four-time Absa Cape Epic Women's category winner Langvad and current World and Olympic Road Champion Van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) were in a class of their own as they powered around the course to build a lead of over two and a half minutes over Switzerland’s Ariane Lüthi and Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing).
The Investec-songo-Specialized pair removed any doubt they are going to be the team to beat this week as they finished the 20km stage in a time of 51 minutes and 44 seconds, placing them 43rd overall. Summit Fin’s Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath are third, 14 seconds further back.
“Getting a good start is always very important,” said Langvad after the finish. “It is good for the morale and good for the motivation. I think that was the hardest and fastest Prologue I have ever done at the Absa Cape Epic.”
In the race for fiercely competitive Absa African Men’s Jersey the SpecializedFoundationNAD pairing of Matt Beers and Alan Hatherly took an early lead despite disaster less than two kilometres from the finish. The two South Africans are fifth overall and 80 seconds ahead of their nearest all-African competitors, Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) with young Julian Jessop and Arno du Toit (DSV Pro Cycling) third, exactly three minutes behind the leaders.
“I had a bit of a lapse of concentration out there,” said Matt Beers afterward. “We were going super hard and I hit a rock. It was close to home so we decided to just nurse it home for the final two kays.”
There was also some drama in the Absa African Women’s Jersey with dormakaba Ladies team of Sam Sanders and Amy McDougall claiming the stage win over Land Rover Jaguars pairing of Hannele Steyn and Katja Steenkamp.
Sanders and McDougall will take a 33-second lead into Stage 1 on Monday after the Galileo Risk team of Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill were penalised 30 minutes for drafting.
The popular Spanish pairing of Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory racing) have established an early three-minute lead in the Dimension Data Masters category with the IBS Capital Allies team of Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii second and Dax Jaikel and Massimo Debertolis (7CWillier) third.
The Grand Masters division is being led by Abraao Azevedo and former Absa Cape Epic winner Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) with long-time rival Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) second, 82 seconds behind, while Tim and Troy Zimmerman (ZBoys Racing) are another three second back in third.
Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) are leading the Virgin Active Mixed category from Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (MMR Mixed) with Florence Darbelly and Eric Morard (Nardinature) third.
The early leaders in the race for the Exxaro Jersey are Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC) and they hold a slender 28-second lead over Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree) with Kagiso Tlou and Patrick Rengane (Exxaro / RMB) third.
While Sunday’s 20km stage on the slopes of Table Mountain National Park was a test of speed and climbing strength, Monday’s Stage 1 will be place more emphasis on endurance with the 111km ride including 2 700m of climbing.

2019 Prologue

Men: Stage results and GC

  1. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 00:43,41,5
  2. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 00:44,22,6 +1.00,0
  3. KROSS-SPUR 14-1 Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Spain) 14-2 Ondřej Cink (Czech Republic) 00:44,34,2 +1.00,0
  4. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 00:44,48,8 +1.00,0
  5. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 00:45,04,0 +2.00,0
  6. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 00:45,26,0 +2.00,0
  7. 7C CBZ WILIER 2 32-1 Tony Longo (Italy) 32-2 Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) 00:45,29,7 +2.00,0
  8. InvestecsongoSpecialized 1-1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) 1-2 Sam Gaze (New Zealand) 00:45,32,3 +2.00,0
  9. CST Sandd 19-1 Sebastian Fini (Denmark) 19-2 Martins Blums (Latvia) 00:45,46,8 +2.00,0
  10. Centurion Vaude 9-1 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 9-2 Jochen Kaess (Germany) 00:45,51,3 +2.00,0

 

Women: Stage results and GC

  1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 00:51,44,7
  2. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 00:54,19,9 +3.00,0
  3. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 00:54,33,8 +3.00,0
  4. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 00:55,11,4 +4.00,0
  5. Silverback - Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 00:55,45,4 +4.00,0
  6. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 00:56,49,2 +5.00,0
  7. dormakaba Ladies 55-1 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 55-2 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 00:57,22,8 +6.00,0
  8. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 01:01,22,7 +10.00,0
  9. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 01:08,55,9 +17.00,0
  10. T and T 351-1 Jeanette Treherne (South Africa) 351-2 Vivienne Turvey (South Africa) 01:18,44,9 +27.00,0