Absa Cape Epic 2012: Surprise win for George and Evans on stage six

Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life showed their true form by winning Stage 6 of this year’s Absa Cape Epic in a time of 3:38.05,8 (overall 29:37.36,3), 6 minutes and 44,5 seconds ahead of South African–Swiss duo, Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized (3:44.50,3; overall 29:11.39,0).

Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen of Topeak Ergon Racing finished in third place in 3:47.01,6 (29:43.14,0), with Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking in fourth place in 3:47.05,3 (overall 29:40.26,0). In fifth place were the Bulls 2 team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme who finished in a time of 3:47.29,5 (overall 29:42.25,5) with the Bulls 1 team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm in sixth place in 3:50.34,9 (overall 30:24.39,5).

Stander and Sauser (Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized) remain in the lead in this category by 25 minutes and 57 seconds. Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life have moved back onto the podium in second place overall, with Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking in third place overall.

Says today’s winner Kevin Evans of 360Life: “At least today my wife’s not stressed! And she’s not here even though I asked her to come. I’m very happy. It’s really good to get a win but even better to be on the overall podium. This year was such a rollercoaster ride for us. We’ll be happy with finishing in second place and will work with that. The cheering and support are amazing. Today was very tough and hard, but we’re feeling positive and will definitely have enough in the tank to get to Lourensford Wine Estate. What we’ve been through made us very strong.” Adds team mate David George: “ “We’re ecstatic with the victory. It was so emotional – winning the stage meant so much. We came out fighting for the win – it was our intention to win this stage.  But there is still one stage to go and it’ll be important to race, but at the same time ride within ourselves.”

Says Burry Stander of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized: “We didn’t set the pace today and just followed. They wanted to prove something and it’s always hard to beat a team with a mindset like that. We just kept our own pace. We’re still feeling strong and look forward to a cracker of a last day to Lourensford. We don’t know if we’ll win the stage, but we’ll definitely try. Maybe we can help Max and Kohei. It would be great to help them win a stage.” Christoph Sauser adds: “We just rode at our own pace today. We didn’t need to take any chances and the most important part was to get back safely today and to finish tomorrow. I think it’s only big mechanicals that can rob us of an overall victory now. We’ll be focused to finish safely and will definitely try to help Max and Kohei to win at Lourensford Wine Estate.”

Alban Lakata of Topeak Ergon Racing says the Absa Cape Epic is a rollercoaster. “Every day I feel different. One day I feel strong and the next day I’m suffering. We’re very happy to be on the podium again and really look forward to a strong finish at Lourensford tomorrow.” His team mate Robert Mennen adds: “I’m feeling better than I expected and I’m also happy. Tomorrow is our last chance to try and get on the overall podium because that was our goal from the start.”

The Bulls 2 team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme dropped off the overall podium today. Says Tim Boehme: “Today was just not my day. I suffered the whole day. When 360Life attacked, we just couldn’t do anything about it.” Adds Thomas Dietsch: “I suffered at the start and it was only on Groenlandberg that I found my legs. It’s disappointing to have lost our spot in the GC (General Classification), but it’s just so tough this Cape Epic.”

Sixth Stage Win for Wheels4Life

The Ladies category was again won by Sally Bigham and Esther Süss of Wheels4Life in 4:35.45,3 (35:19.59,6), securing their sixth stage win in this year’s Absa Cape Epic. They were followed by the Biogen Britehouse team of Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler in 4:43.57,9 (overall 36:07.01,0). Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nüssli of MTN Qhubeka finished in third place in a time of 4:49.50,3 (overall 36:47.14,5).

Bigham and Süss (Wheels4Life) lead the Biogen Britehouse team Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler by 47 minutes and 1,4 seconds. MTN Qhubeka’s Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nüssli remain in third place overall.

The amateur team of Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler of Biogen Britehouse has done exceptionally well at this year’s Absa Cape Epic, competing against some of the world’s most experienced professional female riders. Says Nina Gässler of Biogen Britehouse: “I can smile again today. I enjoyed the stage with its nice trails so much. We just wanted to finish on the podium in one stage – that was our dream beforehand and we’ve surpassed that. To be second behind Sally and Esther is like first place for us. They are my idols.” Adds Theresa Ralph: “We had so much fun and it was much better than yesterday. We knew parts of today’s route and that made it all the more enjoyable. We enjoyed racing today – yesterday was survival and not racing. Getting safely to the finish and enjoying the feeling is the only plan for tomorrow.”

Karien van Jaarsveld of MTN Qhubeka adds: “We just want to get safely to the finish line tomorrow. It was a hard race.”

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