The 36ONE-Songo-Specialized team of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser walked away with top honours as overall winners of this year’s exciting Absa Cape Epic, following their victory of last year.
With a 25 minute and 57 second lead time at the start this morning, Stander and Sauser finished the last 8 days of the Untamed Mountain Bike Race of 781km and 16 300m of climbing in an overall time of 31:46.50,5. In second place in an overall time of 32:14.12,6 were the South African duo of Kevin Evans and David George (360Life), with the German-Swiss team of Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking in third place overall in 32:17.57,5. The Bulls 2 team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme finished fourth overall (32:18.48,2) with Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen (Topeak Ergo Racing) in fifth (32:19.22,7). The Bulls 1 team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, who won the Absa Cape Epic in 2007, 2009 and 2010, finished in sixth place overall (33:03.00,2).
Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life won the Absa African leader jersey.Siphosenkosi Madolo and Azukile Simayile of Exxaro Academy 9 won the Exxaro Development jersey.
The South African–Swiss duo, Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized, dominated this week’s Absa Cape Epic by winning six of the eight-stage challenges. They again proved they are kings of the mountains in a time of 2:35.11,5. Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen of Topeak Ergon Racing finished in second place in 2:36.08,7, with the second team of Songo-Specialized Max Knox and Yamamoto Kohei in third place (2:36.14,9). The Bulls 2 team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme finished in fourth place in 2:36.22,7 with the South African 360Life team of Kevin Evans and David George in fifth place (2:36.36,3).
Says Burry Stander, of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized: “We worked hard for this stage and the overall. We will never say no to the opportunity of winning a stage. Twenty-seven minutes is big, but not only thanks to us. Our whole team and our equipment played a role. We learnt our lessons in previous years. The Absa Cape Epic is a story. Everyday is a chapter and that makes it so amazing. Now we know the Yellow jersey is ours. Until now it felt like we were borrowing it. Nothing compares to it. I have enough time to recover before the big events of the season start.” Adds Christoph Sauser: “Every year the Cape Epic gets harder, the intensity is much higher. Our equipment made such a big difference. It helped us mentally to know that even though the stage is hard, our equipment will hold. Crossing the finish line here at Lourensford Wine Estate is the best feeling of the whole week. It’s so big for us and good for the confidence and looking forward to the rest of the season our form is great. This is my third victory overall in this race (2011 and 2006), and it’s a great feeling.”
This is the second podium finish for Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life in the history of the race as well as the highest ranking for an all South African team. Says George: “It’s been a fantastic finish and so special to top off the rollercoaster ride in this way. We were prepared and ready with great support and structure, so it was fantastic. Our second spot is testament to the great support and our guts. This year was very tough because of all the mechanical troubles, but we’re very happy.” Adds Evans: “We didn’t win the Absa Cape Epic, but with this Cape Epic we won the hearts and support of South Africa. The support and applause today was very special. It’s thanks to them that we get up every morning and keep on fighting.”
Says Hannes Genze of Multivan Merida Biking, who finished in second place overall last year: “We feel lucky and happy. Andreas was so strong and he helped me so much after my crash today. I thought it was over, but he motivated me to just keep going and not think too much about it. It was a huge effort to finish on the podium. We had to fight for it every day.” Adds Andreas Kugler: “I’m just so relieved and happy to be on the podium and don’t want to think of next year right now. I’m tired and just want to enjoy the feeling.”