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[Absa Cape Epic]

Stage 3: Category Wrap

By Absa Cape Epic, 03/22/23, 5:15AM HST


Another Absa Cape Epic stage and another day full of physical and mental tests for the riders over the 100km from Hermanus to Oak Valley.

The Oak Valley Estate in Elgin is hosting the Absa Cape Epic for the 10th time. This venue never disappoints and in the last few sections of today’s route, riders would have been reminded why this part of the Western Cape is known as mountain bike-heaven. 

The first transition stage of the 2023 Absa Cape Epic challenged riders with rocky, sandy, and steep climbs and for most riders, it was a long day in the saddle even though the distance was less than Stage 2. The stage also saw new stage winners in a selection of the categories.


The brothers James from Australia, Hayden and Oliver (James Brothers) won Stage 3 from Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate over 100km in 4 hours, 43 minutes, and 6 seconds. It did not bring a change in the overall standings though with Australian Mitchell Docker and his American teammate Ian Boswell (Digger and the Doughboy) finishing some 14 seconds adrift. 

Signal Racing’s Oliver ‘The Pinner’ Munnik and Rogan Smart from South Africa were third on the stage just over five minutes back.  They remain in second place overall, however, 13 minutes behind Docker and Boswell. The James Brothers have moved into third place overall thanks to their stage win. They are 26 minutes and 53 seconds behind Docker and Boswell. 

Refilwe Mogorosi and Omphile Mataung (Exxaro Academy Ladies) continued their fine form by winning Stage 3 in 7 hours 16 minutes and 43 seconds. They are in total control of this brand-new category. Second was Buhle Beauty Nontobeko Ngobese and Ricci-Lee Brookstone (ABSA SheUntamed 2023) just over 19 minutes back. South Africans Nicola Biani and Kerry-Lee Pienaar (SheUntamed Bellas) took the final spot on the podium for the stage. 

These are also the positions for the GC standings in the Women’s Amateur category.


NTT Masters

Absa Cape Epic-legend Karl Platt and Tomi Misser (Legends BULLS:MONDRAKER) chipped away at Craig Uria and Michael Posthumus (Restonic) overall lead with another stage win. Platt and Misser won the third stage in 4 hours 28 minutes and 51 seconds. This victory by more than 5 minutes, still places them nearly 24 minutes behind the South Africans. 

“It was another good day for us. Tomas is over his stomach problems now and we are very happy with the stage wins,” said Platt.

Third on the day was the Portuguese duo of Tiago Silva and Tiago Lopez (Atomic 7Ti7) almost 23 minutes back.  The Czech combination of Pavel Gonda and Jan Fisnar (Czech Rockets Outfindo) are still in third place,  now more than an hour behind.

There is no stopping former Absa Cape Epic champions Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag and Switzerland’s Esther Süss ( ladies) who continued their domination of the NTT Masters Women category. 

Their winning time in the third stage was 5 hours 59 minutes and 56 seconds. In second place were Carina Mohr and Nina Hartleb (Scott Sport Germany) with South Africans Tessa Keers and Nicola Walker ( rounding out the podium. They are also in third place overall.

Grand Masters

Can defending champions Dutchman Bart Brentjens and Brazil’s Abraao Azevedo (KMC Mtb Racing) be stopped in the Grand Masters category? After another stage victory – winning the third stage in 4 hours 43 minutes and 21 seconds – they have a commanding lead in the overall standings and if they continue in this fashion both will get another overall victory in the Absa Cape Epic record books. 

Another veteran of the Absa Cape Epic, Barti Bucher and his Swiss teammate Oliver Imfeld (Bixs Stoll Meerendal) had a good day with second place on the stage. They climbed back to the second spot overall as well. Italians Loris Tomat and Michele Gallina (FVG) came in some 30 minutes after the leaders and are now more than an hour behind on overall standings in third place. 


Great Grand Masters

In this new category - giving recognition to riders both 60 years and older – there wasn’t anything new about the stage winners with Frenchmen Rene Vallee and Alain Broglia (Forestiere Rosti 2) keeping their record for a clean sweep going. 

South Africans Graham Monteith and Robin Olbrich (Emergency Diesel) are still doing the chasing and finished ten minutes back. Bart Meganck (Bel) and Cyrille Chossegross (Fr, 63CC/APHM) took the last place on the stage podium. 

Overall, the Frenchmen have a massive one-hour lead over Monteith and Olbrich. Currently in third place overall is Dutch pair Johan and Christiaan van Splunter (Silvis x Vos).


Toyota Mixed

Spanish fans could barely contain their excitement with the news that popular Spaniard Ibon Zugasti and his Belgium teammate Alice Pirard (Orbea Factory) won Stage 3 in the Toyota Mixed category in a time of 5 hours 14 minutes and 3 seconds. Zugasti is a former road cyclist, but since starting his own YouTube channel his popularity transcended into far more mainstream channels. 

South Africans Riaan Weideman and Samantha Sanders (Toyota Gazoo Racing), who won the previous stages, came in second. They retain the Green jersey, with their gap in the overall standings now 5 minutes over Zugasti and Pirard.

Third on the stage and overall are Bikehugh’s Jasper Lefevre (Bel) and Ariadna Rodenas Pascual (Esp). 


Absa African Jersey 

Philip Buys is looking for his fifth win in the Absa African Jersey competition. The South African is riding for the first time with Namibian Alexander Miller (PYGA Euro Steel) and they lead by more than 10 minutes over their nearest challengers, Joubert and Pieter du Toit (Imbuko {Type} DEV) who were second on the stage and are second in the race for red. Arno du Toit and Keagan Bontekoning (Insect Science Pro) are in third place overall. 

Mauritian Kim Le Court and Vera Looser from Namibia wear the Absa African jerseys again on Stage 4, but these jerseys still belong to South Africans Candice Lill and Amy Wakefield ( | SeattleCoffee Co) who are the overall leaders in the Women’s category and the prestigious orange jerseys take preference. Lill and Wakefield also won this jersey in 2018.


Exxaro Jersey

Zola Ngxakeni and Ntlantla Nonkasa (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne 3) won their third consecutive stage in a time of 4 hours 48 minutes and 58 seconds and kept control of the Exxaro Jersey. Second and third on the stage were William Sello Majapholo and Obvious Khorommbi (Exxaro/RMB) and Tlotlo Mohweledi Selala en Halalisani Njabulo Ndebele (Exxaro/PEPTO) respectively.

William Sello Majapholo and Obvious Khorommbi (Exxaro/RMB) are now in second place overall. Kusaselihle Ngidi and Ongeziwe Tyapa (Fairtree Imperial 2) dropped to third place. 

The wearers of the Exxaro Women’s Jerseys are Refilwe Mogorosi and Omphile Mataung (Exxaro Academy Ladies), though they will race Stage 4 in the Amateur jerseys.


Stage 4

Oak Valley Estate, 47km (875m climbing)

Time, the old saying goes, waits for no man. And nowhere is that more relevant than in the race of truth: the battle against the clock within the boundaries of Oak Valley and Paul Cluver Estates. At 47 kilometres long, the mid-race time trial in 2023 is more taxing than any which have preceded it in the history of the Absa Cape Epic. Designed to continue the relentless tests that the nineteenth edition sets for the teams, it features 875 metres of climbing too, all of which comes in steep ramps rather than long drags. The course is packed with singletrack, making it a test of skill as well as fitness. Maintaining a rhythm to climb twisting trails – like Berg Adder – and then descend with the required aggression – down trails like Puff Adder, Vissie’s Magic and Sounds of Silence – will require absolute focus. It will be a day that, despite its composition as a small section of the overall route, will test partnerships from start to finish.