STAGE 3 PHOTO GALLERY
Germans Hannes Genze and Jochen Käss broke the hammerlock that Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser had on the 2011 Cape Epic by winning stage three on Wednsday.
Genze and Käss (Multivan Merida Biking) won the grueling 125km and 1,900m climbing stage in a sprint finish with Stander and Sauser (36ONE Songo Specialized) by a mere 2,8 seconds, securing their first stage win in this year’s Absa Cape Epic.
Stander and Sauser still lead overall by 6 minutes and 15 seconds by winning the prologue and stage 1 and 2. Defending champs and three-time winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (Bulls team) in fourth place overall and 8 minutes and 32 seconds behind the leaders.
With an overall time of 14 hours, 40 minutes and 29,3 seconds, the 36ONE Songo Specialized team will wear the yellow leader jersey for Stage on Thursday.
In third place, with their first podium finish this year, were Bart Brentjens and Jeroen Boelen of Milka-Trek in 5:06.49,1 (overall 15:11.25) with the Bulls team of Platt and Sahm in fourth (5:07.44 overall 14:42.46).
“About 20km from the finish, we broke away from the Bulls team and carried on riding with Sauser and Stander,” said Käss. “We’re in good shape. This stage win is excellent motivation for us to perhaps finish on the podium on Sunday and perhaps we can even finish in second place overall.”
Brentjens of the Netherlands, the 2005 winner of the Absa Cape Epic, two times Olympic medallist and former world champion and World Cup winner, knows the Cape Epic well.
“We rode at a good speed and worked really hard. It was a long stage. This is my 6th Absa Cape Epic, so I know the race, but Jeroen [Boelen] is a roadie and has never done the Cape Epic before. He’s a new member of our team but I’m very happy with his performance. He’s learning a lot — fast.”
Yesterday’s leading team Eva Lechner and Nathalie Schneitter (team Colnago Arreghini Südtirol) received a time penalty of one hour. They were penalised for breaking rule 23.1 and 23.4 of the Absa Cape Epic. Riders are not allowed any outside assistance with regards to spares, equipment and nutrition.
Sally Bigham and Karien Van Jaarsveld (team USN) were in the Leader jersey out of Tulbagh Wednesday and proved their competence by also winning stage 3 in a time of 6:43.35,9 (overall 19:25.14,6). Lechner and Schneitter lead by 22 minutes and 6 seconds.
“I don’t know how to feel about having the Leader jersey because I’m not sure how it happened,” Bigham said. “I’d want to be in the Leader jersey because we’re the strongest team, but I also firmly believe in sticking to rules. If it’s true that they didn’t stop at the water points, [Lechner and Schneitter] saved a lot of time because it takes us at least two minutes at each water point, which adds up to six minutes per day in total.”
The Juwi team (Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts) won the stage for the fourth consecutive day in 5:35.20,0 (overall 16:05.34,2). They were again followed by Robert Sim and Doug Brown of the Robert Daniel team in 5:50.14,0 (overall 16:47.22,8) with the Nandos team of Adrian Enthoven and Gerrie Beukes again in third place in 5:55.00,2 (overall 17:12.19,3). The Juwi team lead by 41 minutes and 49 seconds.
The Wheeler – BIXS team, Bärti Bucher and Esther Sϋss, again won the Mixed category in 6:13.10,8 (overall 17:29.20,4), again followed by Erik Kleinhans and Ariane Lüthi (of Contego Giant Sludge) in 6:17.48,2 (overall 18:07.35,2). The Swiss/German team of Klaus Steinkeller and Kerstin Brachtendorf (FIAT Rotwild) achieved their first podium finish in 6:36.29,0 (overall 19:01.32,7). The Wheeler – Bixs team lead by 38 minutes and 15 seconds.
“I didn’t enjoy today. It was only hard work and no fun,” said reigning MTB Marathon World Champion Esther Süss, of team Wheeler – BIXS. “You couldn’t ride really and we also had a mechanical, which took us about ten minutes, but at least it gave us time to eat and drink as we were very thirsty.”