It is a first for the Absa Cape Epic – two time trials in the 2011 race. Thursday’s test was a 32km route through the foothills of Brandwacht. The route data showed 860m of climbing which may not seem like a lot, but over such a short distance it required a hard effort.
Switzerland’s Christoph Sauser and his South African teammate Burry Stander (36ONE Songo Specialized) are on a winning streak by again finishing first in a stage. So far the pair has won three of the four days at the Epic. They completed the 32km course in 1:10.01 and are now 7 minutes and 48 seconds in the lead. They were followed by Stage-3 winners Hannes Genze and Jochen Käss of Multivan Merida Biking in 1;11.34 with the Wildwolf-Trek Pro Racing team of Sergio Gutierrez Mantecon and Carlos Nicolas Coloma in third place in 1:12.08,0.
Sauser and Stander maintain their overall lead with a time of 15:44.14. In second position overall are Genze and Käss in 15:52.03, followed by the defending champion Bulls team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm in 15:55.53.
“This is the first day in this year’s Absa Cape Epic that I really felt good and had good legs,” said Stander. “I didn’t need to rely on Christoph and could finally push him as he has done with me the last couple of days, putting me through the paces.”
In second-place overallI Genze said the day windy and he was riding in front on the flat sections.
“We passed the Bulls in the middle of the race and are very happy with our fourth podium finish,” Genze said, “but I think Sauser and Stander are too far ahead for us to catch up.”
Eva Lechner and Nathalie Schneitter (team Colnago Arreghini Südtirol) won the Ladies Category for the fourth time, finishing in 1:27.16,3 (overall 22:10.54,7), ahead of Sally Bigham and Karien Van Jaarsveld (team USN) in a time of 1:37.04,1 (overall 21:02.18,7). In third place were Naomi Hansen and Jodie Willett of adidas in 1:37.54,8 (overall 21:59.55,5) with Hanlie Booyens and Ischen Stopforth of team Absa aBreast in fourth (1:40.41,3; overall 21:28.02,4).
Bigham and Van Jaarsveld lead the women’s category by 25 minutes and 43 seconds.
The Juwi team of Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts won the time trail stage in 1:18.14,0 (overall 17:23.48,2), followed by the Nandos team of Adrian Enthoven and Gerrie Beukes in a time of 1:22.33,8 (overall 18:34.53,1). In third place were Robert Sim and Doug Brown of the Robert Daniel team in 1:22.44,3 (overall 18:10.07,1).
Sim and Brown are still in second place overall in this category and the Juwi team lead by 1 hour, 11 minutes and 5 seconds.
The Wheeler – BIXS team of Bärti Bucher and Esther Sϋss again won the Mixed category in 1:23.26,7 (overall 18:52.47,1), again followed by Erik Kleinhans and Ariane Lüthi (of Contego Giant Sludge) in 1:27.44,0 (overall 19:35.19,2). Ivonne Kraft and Peter Vesel of Raedisch Race finished in third place today in 1:29.00,7 (5th overall; 21:16.02,2). The Swiss team of Daniel Annaheim and Renata Bucher (Baumat / zaboobikes.com) finished in fourth place today (1:29.06,1) but are placed 3rd overall (20:25.37,2). The Wheeler – Bixs team lead this category by 42 minutes and 32 seconds.
Stage 5: Worcester to Oak Valley (143km; 2350m of climbing)
At the halfway point of the Cape Epic Stage 5 is the longest stage in years.