Sauser & Stander extend lead during stage 4

Bigham & Süss still undefeated in stage wins in women's category

Men's category

The indomitable Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser (Team 36One-Songo-Specialized) won another stage at the Cape Epic on Thursday. Stage 4 was their fourth stage win at this year's event, and the pair finished in a time of 4:42.30.

"Our pace wasn't that fast today, but not because we were chilling," said Stander. "It was unrelenting out there. It was sandy, rocky big climbs and the wind made it even harder. Nothing comes easy at the Cape Epic. All the teams shared in the work and even with the wind, nobody tried to hide or miss their turn in front."

Teammate Sauser said, "The stage was shorter than yesterday, but I think the wattage was higher! I don't like this wind, but I liked the climbs. We try our best every day and if we increase our lead, it's a bonus. I feel comfortable though with three days to go. We're getting closer to the routes I know pretty well, because it's so close to Stellenbosch. That will also help, as it's very difficult to plan if you don't know the route."

The tenacious South Africans Kevin Evans and David George (360Life) were hot on 360ne-Songo-Specialized's heels in second place at 44 seconds. Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler (Multivan Merida Biking) were third at 2:41.

"I know we have to look at the bigger picture, but it would be great to win at least one stage," said Evans. "As they (Stander and Sauser) said yesterday, there are no gifts in this race and a podium finish overall is first prize for us. Today was a bit frustrating, especially on the big climb. We put in the effort to take the gap, but the other teams stayed with us. The wind was terrible in the last 30km - and as if the stage wasn't hard enough, my father (Leon Evans, route designer) managed to also organise some wind. The rain forecast for tomorrow wouldn't be the worst as it would at least settle the dust."

George said, "It was the same two teams doing most of the forcing. There was a strong crosswind, which made it trickier and that's where road tactics come into play, which is my game. The three teams at the front were keen to get a time gap and we were all committed to it."

Kugler commented on the tough day. "I felt strong in the beginning, but near the end I could feel I was losing power in my body. I think today everyone had to go at his own limit. The wind was super strong. Basically, the guys in front are stronger than we are."

Genze also struggled. "It was very difficult and the tempo was high from the word go. Also, my legs didn't feel good. Today was just not my day, but at the last long steep climb, I saw that the other riders were also taking some strain, and that motivated me again."

The Bulls 2 team of Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme again finished in fourth with Kevin van Hoovels and Sebastien Carabin (Versluys-Craft) in fifth.

Stander and Sauser remain in the overall lead, now by 25:01, with Evans and George moving up five positions to second place overall. Genze and Kugler are in third place overall, only 27 seconds behind Evans and George. Dietsch and Boehme are in fourth place overall with Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen (Topeak Ergon Racing) in fifth. Urs Huber and Konny Looser (Stöckli Pro) are now placed sixth overall with previous winners of the event Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (Bulls 1 team) in eighth place overall.

"Firstly, Dr Evil must think about making the Cape Epic more enjoyable and decide whether it's for mountain bikers or runners," said Platt. "Thanks for the beautiful scenery, but we couldn't really enjoy it because we had to watch where we walked so that we didn't fall. Today's stage was super hard and the terrain was more for walking than cycling. That's not good for motivation - all this walking. There's a lot of nice mountain bike trails out here. We suffered, but we're still motivated for tomorrow. We'll try every day - if it's good, it's great, and if not, that happens also."

Sahm explained further. "Today was not a good day for us - in fact, it was even worse than bad. I have nothing in my legs at the moment. I suffered like hell with a heart rate of 143, but nothing happened. I don't know the reason for that and find it very frustrating. I'll stay in the same routine, have a massage and good sleep, and we'll see what happens tomorrow. We take it day by day."

For the second day in a row, the African Leader special jerseys were won by Evans and George of 360Life.

Siphosenkosi Madolo and Azukile Simayile of Exxaro Academy 9 are still the leaders in the Exxaro Development special jersey.

Women's category

Sally Bigham and Esther Süss (Wheels4Life) won the women's category for the fifth day in a row in a time of 5:50:12, ahead of Biogen Brigehouse's Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler  at 6:20. They were followed by Ivonne Kraft and Elisabeth Brandau (notebooksbilliger.de) at 25:08.

Bigham and Süss lead Ralph and Gässler by 41:07. MTN Qhubeka's Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nuessli are now in third place overall.

"The start was so fast today, that it killed me," said Süss . "I eventually recovered and could find a good rhythm. In the flat I didn't have enough power and Sally had to wait for me. But every day I sit on the bike and give my best."

Bigham said, "Today's course was really nice. There was more singletrack, some really nice views and trails. In fact, today was my favourite stage. The wind made the end really difficult, but fortunately I did a lot my training in the wind, which of course helped a lot."

Mixed category

The Contego 28E team of Erik and Ariane Kleinhans won the mixed category for the fourth day in a row in 5:40:24, followed by first-time podium finishers Klaas Vanmoortel and Inne Gantois of BAiK-Peak Performance Brugge in 6:02:23. Russell de Jager and Andrea Huser (Big Tree / Velocity Sports Lab) finished in third place in 6:08:09 with Pieter Venter and Leana de Jager of Attix5 in fourth place in 6:18:31.

The Kleinhans of Contego 28E lead Udo Boelts and Milena Landtwing (Centurion Vaude) by 1:40:42. Venter and de Jager remain in third place overall.

Erik Kleinhans said, "It was very hard out there today. Not only because of our tired legs from yesterday, but the first half of the route was loose sand and rocky climbs and the second half we battled with the wind. It's not always easy to ride the mixed, but Ariane is just so strong. I leave her on the climbs because she's more than capable and doesn't really need my help. I know when I have to help and when not."

Wife and teammate Ariane said, "I'm so happy with the result. Winning our fourth stage is amazing. It's also great to have a big lead, because anything can still happen and it's still a long way to Lourensford Wine Estate."

Vanmoortel spoke of his first podium finish. "We came back this year to see if we can at least finish on the podium in one stage. After finishing fourth a few times and yesterday's stomach problems Inne had, we thought it was all over for that dream. But we had such a good day today and Inne was so strong. I think it was her best day on a bike ever."

Gantois said, "To finally get on the podium is very exciting. It's all we wanted from this year's Cape Epic."

Master's category

For the third consecutive day, the masters' category was won by Robert Sim and Nico Pfitzenmaier of the Robert Daniel Momsen team in 5:22:17, followed by the World Bicycle Relief team of Bart Brentjens and Jan Weevers in 5:31.25. In third place was the Jag Craft team of Adrian Enthoven and Delaney Impey in 5:44:32.

Sim and Pfitzenmaier lead Enthoven and Impey by 45:59. Brentjens and Weevers are in third place overall.

"Today was a tough stage. The pace was high at the start and the lactic acid built up in our legs in the first 10km," said Pfitzenmaier. "The landscape was beautiful. Later this morning, the wind was howling and you had to fight against it. That was a bit hectic. Rob also sliced his tyre and we needed to replace his tube, but we managed to consolidate our lead, which is good."

Sim said, "A stick speared my tyre and the hole was too big just to plug. I was worried that we used most of our equipment, but these things happen. Fortunately we came home safely.'

In his first year not racing the elite category, Brentjens said, "It's very different riding in the masters category. The elite teams are much stronger. If you compare it, we're slow. I actually think I prefer riding in the men's. South Africa is a lovely country, the terrain is nice, and the best riders in the world compete. But you have to compete as a team."

Weevers said, "I've participated in many races in Europe - some of the toughest one's we have - but nothing compares to this. It's a little bit heavy for me."

Stage 4 route

The route took riders over 105km with 2600m of climbing from Caledon back to Caledon. Two major climbs jabbed upwards on the day's route profile. The first was the loose, long and steep Babylonstoren. Then it was the brutal, stony ascent to Charlie's Heaven and riders should have been used to false peaks by then.

With views as far as Cape Point and Cape Agulhas, it was worth going through hell to get to the top. Danger lay ahead on the rough, steep ascent, with jagged rocks and deep ruts on the washed-out road. The run into the finish included open farm roads, fast paths along a railway line, some tight singletrack past the tiny village of Middleton and a few hundred metres of trails through Caledon's botanical gardens.

Stage 5: Caledon to Oak Valley/Elgin (119km, 2350m of climbing)

Dr. Evil has one aim on stage 5: to get riders to that farmed Oak Valley singletrack as soon as possible. So it's a fast, flowing start, before heading to the fynbos-lined mountain tracks. As they edge closer to Elgin/Grabouw, riders' morale will be buoyed by the striking views from the Highlands Plateau onto the Botrivier Lagoon and Kleinmond Beach. A steady 10-kilomtre climb will take them through the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, famous for its biodiversity and rare fynbos. Then, it will be a combination of new and old flowing singletrack through Lebanon, Thandi and Oak Valley on some unforgettable loops in apple country. But be warned, the last few steep singletrack climbs will throw some devastating combination punches to the legs in the final push towards the lush fields of the race village in Oak Valley.

Brief Provisional Results

Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christoph Sauser (Swi) & Burry Stander (RSA) 36One-Songo-Specialized4:42:30 
2Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA) 360Life0:00:44 
3Hannes Genze (Ger) & Andreas Kugler (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking0:02:41 
4Thomas Dietsch (Fra) & Tim Boehme (Ger) Bulls0:05:20 
5Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) & Sébastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys - Craft0:05:26 
6Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Jacques Rossouw (RSA) Fedgroup-Itec Connect0:06:37 
7Alban Lakata (Aut) & Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing0:09:17 
8Karl Platt (Ger) & Stefan Sahm (Ger) Bulls0:14:53 
9Urs Huber (Swi) & Konny Looser (Swi) Stöckli Pro0:15:23 
10Chris Jongewaard (Aus) & Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Superior0:20:06 
Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sally Bigham (GBr) & Esther Süss (Swi) Wheels4Life5:50:12 
2Theresa Ralph (RSA) & Nina Gässler (Nor) Biogen Britehouse0:06:20 
3Ivonne Kraft (Ger) & Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) Notebooksbilliger.de0:25:08 
4Yolandi Du Toit (RSA) & Catherine Williamson (GBr) Bizhub-FCF0:29:23 
5Karien van Jaarsveld (RSA) & Jane Nuessli (Swi) MTN Qhubeka Ladies0:32:47 
6Hannele Steyn (RSA) & Naomi Hansen (Aus) Lexmed/Second Skins0:51:48 
7Ann Harrison (RSA) & Jane Seggie (RSA) Dawn Wing0:52:44 
8Sofia Pezzatti (Swi) & sandra klomp (Ita) 4 Wheels Online1:21:05 
9Robyn Adendorff (RSA) & Sarah Van Heerden (RSA) Aspen1:33:05 
10Catherine Townshend (RSA) & Julia Skea (RSA) Cipla Miles For Smiles / Woolworths1:54:15 
Mixed
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Erik Kleinhans (RSA) & Ariane Kleinhans (RSA) Contego 28E5:40:24 
2Klaas Vanmoortel (Bel) & Inne Gantois (Bel) Baik-Peak Performance Brugge0:21:59 
3Russell De Jager (RSA) & Andrea Huser (Swi) Big Tree / Velocity Sports Lab0:27:45 
4Pieter Venter (RSA) & Leana De Jager (RSA) Attix50:38:07 
5Johan Labuschagne (RSA) & Yolandè De Villiers (RSA) Exxaro 10:47:27 
6Dirk Nel (RSA) & Ronel Van Wyk (RSA) ASG/Neotrend1:08:53 
7Udo Boelts (Ger) & Milena Landtwing (Swi) Centurion Vaude1:10:54 
8Gerhard Ebersohn (RSA) & Christine Jansen Van Rensburg (RSA) Peptosport1:20:55 
9Tamara Goeppel (Can) & Thomas Tetz (Can) Yukon Travel1:30:12 
10Alberto Prins (RSA) & Joritha Prins (RSA) Cpr Mixed1:32:32 
Masters
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Robert Sim (RSA) & Nico Pfitzenmaier (RSA) Robert Daniel Momsen5:22:17 
2Jan Weevers (Ned) & Bart Brentjens (Ned) World Bicycle Relief0:09:08 
3Adrian Enthoven (RSA) & Delaney Impey (RSA) JAG Craft0:22:15 
4Dennis Du Toit (RSA) & Noel Droomer (RSA) Samaritan's Feet 20:29:11 
5Ollie Klein (Aus) & Mark Fenner (Aus) Torq Australia / Ftp Training / Plastyk0:29:49 
6Alex Otto (RSA) & Arno Daehnke (RSA) Parks Cycling Club 10:32:36 
7Warren Squires (RSA) & Scott Mckenzie (RSA) Complete Cyclist0:40:27 
8Wayne Collin (RSA) & Andrew Murray (RSA) Photonote - Toshiba0:43:51 
9Dirk Rossignol (Bel) & Ignace Spruyt (Bel) Rossi Spruyt0:44:29 
10Rex Benson (RSA) & Koos Klopper (RSA) R-3 Life0:48:38 
Men general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christoph Sauser (Swi) & Burry Stander (RSA) 36One-Songo-Specialized20:20:03 
2Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA) 360Life0:25:01 
3Hannes Genze (Ger) & Andreas Kugler (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking0:25:28 
4Thomas Dietsch (Fra) & Tim Boehme (Ger) Bulls0:28:07 
5Alban Lakata (Aut) & Robert Mennen (Ger) Topeak Ergon Racing0:28:15 
6Urs Huber (Swi) & Konny Looser (Swi) Stöckli Pro0:33:58 
7Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel) & Sébastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys - Craft0:34:23 
8Karl Platt (Ger) & Stefan Sahm (Ger) Bulls0:36:47 
9Chris Jongewaard (Aus) & Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Superior1:15:15 
10Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Jacques Rossouw (RSA) Fedgroup-Itec Connect1:32:17 
Women general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sally Bigham (GBr) & Esther Süss (Swi) Wheels4Life24:01:04 
2Theresa Ralph (RSA) & Nina Gässler (Nor) Biogen Britehouse0:41:06 
3Karien van Jaarsveld (RSA) & Jane Nuessli (Swi) MTN Qhubeka Ladies1:41:09 
4Ivonne Kraft (Ger) & Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) Notebooksbilliger.de1:57:00 
5Hannele Steyn (RSA) & Naomi Hansen (Aus) Lexmed/Second Skins2:59:50 
6Yolandi Du Toit (RSA) & Catherine Williamson (GBr) Bizhub-FCF3:11:16 
7Ann Harrison (RSA) & Jane Seggie (RSA) Dawn Wing3:30:43 
8Sofia Pezzatti (Swi) & sandra klomp (Ita) 4 Wheels Online5:07:26 
9Robyn Adendorff (RSA) & Sarah Van Heerden (RSA) Aspen5:55:15 
10Catherine Townshend (RSA) & Julia Skea (RSA) Cipla Miles For Smiles / Woolworths7:23:58 
Mixed general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Erik Kleinhans (RSA) & Ariane Kleinhans (RSA) Contego 28E23:30:30 
2Udo Boelts (Ger) & Milena Landtwing (Swi) Centurion Vaude1:40:41 
3Pieter Venter (RSA) & Leana De Jager (RSA) Attix52:08:02 
4Klaas Vanmoortel (Bel) & Inne Gantois (Bel) Baik-Peak Performance Brugge2:12:26 
5Johan Labuschagne (RSA) & Yolandè De Villiers (RSA) Exxaro 12:34:46 
6Russell De Jager (RSA) & Andrea Huser (Swi) Big Tree / Velocity Sports Lab3:03:41 
7Dirk Nel (RSA) & Ronel Van Wyk (RSA) ASG/Neotrend3:44:30 
8Gerhard Ebersohn (RSA) & Christine Jansen Van Rensburg (RSA) Peptosport4:03:25 
9Tamara Goeppel (Can) & Thomas Tetz (Can) Yukon Travel6:00:51 
10Alberto Prins (RSA) & Joritha Prins (RSA) Cpr Mixed6:37:19 
Masters general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Robert Sim (RSA) & Nico Pfitzenmaier (RSA) Robert Daniel Momsen22:20:19 
2Adrian Enthoven (RSA) & Delaney Impey (RSA) JAG Craft0:45:59 
3Jan Weevers (Ned) & Bart Brentjens (Ned) World Bicycle Relief0:54:15 
4Ollie Klein (Aus) & Mark Fenner (Aus) Torq Australia / Ftp Training / Plastyk2:20:43 
5Warren Squires (RSA) & Scott Mckenzie (RSA) Complete Cyclist2:24:29 
6Alex Otto (RSA) & Arno Daehnke (RSA) Parks Cycling Club 12:51:12 
7Dennis Du Toit (RSA) & Noel Droomer (RSA) Samaritan's Feet 22:57:23 
8Wayne Collin (RSA) & Andrew Murray (RSA) Photonote - Toshiba3:00:42 
9Dirk Rossignol (Bel) & Ignace Spruyt (Bel) Rossi Spruyt3:09:35 
10Rex Benson (RSA) & Koos Klopper (RSA) R-3 Life3:36:44 

 

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