Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser tightened their grip on the 2012 Absa Cape Epic with their fourth stage victory in this year’s race.
The Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized duo clocked 4:42.29,7 (overall 20:20.03,4) on the 105km stage to Caledon.
Hot on their heals were the tenacious South African pairing of Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life in a time of 4:43.13,2 (overall 20:45.04,6), while Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler (Multivan Merida Biking) completed the podium in 4:45.10,6 (overall 20:45.31,6).
“Our pace wasn’t that fast today, but not because we were chilling,” said Stander. “It was unrelenting out there. It was sandy, rocky big climbs and the wind made it even harder. Nothing comes easy at the Absa Cape Epic. All the teams shared in the work and even with the wind, nobody tried to hide or miss their turn in front.”
Sauser added: “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.”
Stander and Sauser remain in the overall lead by 25 minutes and one second, with Evans and George moving up five positions to second place overall, with Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler only a further 27 seconds back.
Bigham and Süss continue to dominate women’s race
Meanwhile, 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 (overall 24:01.03,5), ahead of Biogen Britehouse team Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler, who clocked 5:56.31,4 (overall 24:42.10,3). Ivonne Kraft and Elisabeth Brandau (notebooksbilliger.de) finished third in 6:15.20,1 (overall 25:58.04,0).
Bigham and Süss lead Ralph and Gässler in the overall classification by 41 minutes and 7 seconds. MTN Qhubeka’s Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nuessli are now in third place overall.
Süss said: “The start was so fast today, that it killed me. I eventually recovered and could find a good rhythm. In the flat I didn’t have enough power and Sally had to wait for me. But every day I sit on the bike and give my best.”
Bigham added: “Today’s course was really nice. There were more singletrack, some really nice views and trails. In fact, today was my favourite stage. The wind made the end really difficult, but fortunately I did a lot my training in the wind, which of course helped a lot.”
Photos by Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
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