In a repeat of yesterday’s stage, the 36ONE pair of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser claimed another stage win ahead of 360Life’s David George and Kevin Evans who are now second overall. Great comeback by the all-SA team.
Pic by Greg Beadle/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
Stander and Sauser of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized won their fourth stage in this year’s event in a time of 4:42.29,7. Hot on their heals were the tenacious South Africans Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life. In third place were Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking in a time of 4:45.10,6.
A section of singletrack close to the finish saw Sauser and Stander dart ahead of Evans and George, who’d been doing the bulk of the work in the final 15km. They built up enough of a cushion in the last couple of kilometres to sit up savour the crowd’s appreciation of their impressive performance.
The time gaps were large and the General Classification shake up was significant.
Stander and Sauser remain in the lead with a convincing 25 minutes and 1 second, with Evans and George of 360Life moving up five positions to second place overall, which makes for some exciting racing to come as Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking are only 27 seconds behind. For the second day in a row, the African Leader jersey was won by Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life.
“Our pace wasn’t that fast today, but not because we were chilling. It was unrelenting out there,” says Stander of today’s stage. “It was sandy, rocky big climbs and the wind made it even harder. Nothing comes easy at the Cape Epic. All the teams shared in the work and even with the wind, nobody tried to hide or miss their turn in front.” Adds team mate Christoph Sauser: “The stage was shorter than yesterday, but I think the wattage was higher! I don’t like this wind, but I liked the climbs. We try our best every day and if we increase our lead, it’s a bonus. I feel comfortable though with three days to go. We’re getting closer to the routes I know pretty well, because it’s so close to Stellenbosch. That will also help, as it’s very difficult to plan if you don’t know the route.”
Says Kevin Evans of team 360Life: “I know we have to look at the bigger picture, but it would be great to win at least one stage. As they (Stander and Sauser) said yesterday, there are no gifts in this race and a podium finish overall is first prize for us. Today was a bit frustrating, especially on the big climb. We put in the effort to take the gap, but the other teams stayed with us. The wind was terrible in the last 30km – and as if the stage wasn’t hard enough, my father (Leon Evans, route designer) managed to also organise some wind. The rain forecast for tomorrow wouldn’t be the worst as it would at least settle the dust.” Adds team mate David George: “It was the same two teams doing most of the forcing. There was a strong cross wind, which made it trickier and that’s where road tactics come into play, which is my game. The three teams at the front were keen to get a time gap and we were all committed to it.”
Sally Bigham and Esther Süss of Wheels4Life won the Ladies category for the fifth day in a row in a time of 5:50.11,7 ahead of Biogen Britehouse team Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler in a time of 5:56.31,4. They were followed by Ivonne Kraft and Elisabeth Brandau of notebooksbilliger.de in 6:15.20,1.
Bigham and Süss lead the Biogen Britehouse team Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler by 41 minutes and 7 seconds. MTN Qhubeka’s Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nuessli are now in third place overall.
Caledon to Oak Valley/Elgin (119km, 2350m of climbing)
Dr. Evil has one aim on Stage five – get riders to that farmed Oak Valley single-track as soon as possible. So it’s a fast, flowing start, before heading to the fynbos-lined mountain tracks. A steady 10-kilomtre climb takes them through the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, famous for its biodiversity and rare fynbos. Then, it’s a combination of new and old flowing single-track through Lebanon, Thandi and Oak Valley on some unforgettable loops in apple country, with some tough climbs leading into Oak Valley.
General Classification Results after Stage 3
1. Burry Stander (RSA) / Christoph Sauser (SUI) 36One-Songo-Specialized 20:20.03,4
2. Kevin Evans (RSA) / David George (RSA) 360Life +25.01,2
3. Hannes Genze (Germany) Andreas Kugler (Switzerland) Multivan Merida Biking +25.28,2
1 Esther Suss (SUI) / Sally Bigham (GBR) Wheels4Life 24:01.03,5
2 Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Nina Gassler (NOR) Biogen Britehouse +41.06,8
3 Karien van Jaarsveld (RSA) / Jane Nuessli (SUI) MTN Qhubeka Ladies +1:41.09,3
1 Erik Kleinhans (RSA) / Ariane Kleinhans (RSA) Contego 28E 23:30.29,8
2 Udo Boelts (GER) / Milena Landtwing (SUI) Centurion Vaude +1:40.41,7
3 Pieter Venter (RSA) / Leana de Jager (RSA) Attix5 +2:08.01,8
1 Robert Sim (RSA) / Nico Pfitzenmaier (GER) Robert Daniel Momsen 22:20.19,2
2 Adrian Enthoven (RSA) / Delaney Impey (RSA) JAG Craft +45.58,9
3 Bart Brentjens (NED) / Jan Weevers (NED) +54.14,5