Absa Cape Epic: Results of Stage 3
The 73 km long route took riders from Villiersdorp to Greyton, with 1.976 m of climbing, through some single track, 3-kilometre stretch of portage, eventually leading to the top of Boskloof, and then down towards the tranquil town of Greyton.
The Songo.info team of South African Burry Stander and Swiss rider Christoph Sauser continued their winning streak by again taking top honours in Stage 3 of this year’s Absa Cape Epic (03:19:38). Their fourth consecutive win gives them an overall time advantage of 6 minutes and 52 seconds (12:44:36). They will again wear the Yellow Jersey out of Greyton for Stage 4.
Team Songo.info was closely followed by the Swiss Flückiger brothers, Lukas and Mathias (Trek World Cup Team), who managed to move up two positions from 11th to 9th overall (13:48:01) after completing their challenge at 03:19:50. Bart Brentjens and Chris Jongewaard (Trek-Brentjens) finished in third place (03:19:57), closely followed by the Bulls, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, in a time of 03:20:05.
Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (Bulls Team) held on to their 2nd position overall (12:51:28) with Trek-Brentjens riders, Bart Brentjens and Chris Jongewaard, maintaining their third (12:55:57).The South African team Kevin Evans and David George (MTN Energade) finished in seventh position today in 03:28:37, but managed to maintain their fourth position overall (13:05:02). Yesterday’s second runners-up Emil Lindgren and Andreas Kugler (Felt Factory 2) finished in 6th place today (03:28:35) and are now in 5th place overall (13:10:54).
Says Mathias Flückiger: “The Absa Cape Epic didn’t start so well for us – we had a bit of bad luck the first couple of days, especially with punctured tyres. We had one again today, just after we broke away from the rest of the riders – a ripped tyre which took longer to repair and cost us a bit of time. It took a lot of our energy to catch up again and we were really riding at our limit on the first big climb. The following flat section gave us the opportunity to recover a bit and we could keep up with the three leading teams – the Bulls, Trek- Brentjens and Songo.info.”
Adds Lukas Flückiger: “It’s been our goal to attack and ride hard, and we knew today’s stage suited our style very well. It was a shorter distance so we could ride faster. Mathias broke away on the first big climb and I followed. Initially we thought Bart was ahead of us as we couldn’t see him, only to realise later that he was behind us after having taken a wrong turn. When we broke away the second time,we rode a long stretch of about 6km on our own – ahead of the other teams. It made it easier for the teams behind us as they were working together. By the time Songo.info attacked, we didn’t have the energy to keep up with them.”
Brentjens and his team mate Chris Jongewaard took a wrong turn early on in the race after they had built up a lead of about 1 minute. Says Brentjens: “We were blinded by the sun and missed the route markers. Luckily we were saved by the TV helicopter crew – they indicated from the air that we had taken a wrong turn and needed to turn back. We had a good day and it was nice to make it to the podium. Chris is improving daily and now we know we have a chance to make it to the second place. I really enjoy the fact that Chris never gives up. He’s an aggressive rider and whenever there’s the slightest chance to break away, he goes for it.”
According to Stander, today’s shorter route was harder than yesterday’s. “Bart and his team mate Chris (Trek-Brentjens) were really pushing the pedals all the time. The very first climb today was already hard for me. There was a lot of loose gravel and we had to walk in quite a few places along the route. These hiking sections with your bike on your back were always followed by very fast descents and you really had to stay focused. I found it exhausting as you need energy to control your bike. We also had another flat and then needed to catch up with the leaders again.”
The second prologue in the six-year history of the Absa Cape Epic, which is a common feature in grand tours on the road, set the seeding order for Stage 1 of the magical untamed mountain bike stage race.
Burry Stander proved he could compete with the best by finishing first with his teammate, reigning Cross Country World Champion Christoph Sauser in the first stage of the world renowned Absa Cape Epic.