Beneath endless blue skies, the almost 370 racers queued up for the start of their Sunshine Coast - Part II adventure - otherwise known as stage five.
Home-field advantage proved valuable for the Kona team of Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon on the singletrack-intensive course. While DCM Chrome's Brandon Stewart and Max Knox had an early lead on the field, the technical singletrack skills that are second nature to Sneddon and Wicks outshone the South Africans' pure hill climbing strength.
As seen throughout the week, Kris Sneddon & Barry Wicks and Seams McGrath & Chris Sheppard (Jamis / Santa Cruz) rode a hair's breadth apart for the better part of the course. The finish times of 2:37:47 (Kona) and 2:37:49 (Jamis/Santa Cruz) - reflected exactly how hard-fought this battle is for top spot in the men's duo category. With two more days to go, the competition is tight - merely 53 seconds separate the yellow jersey-wearing Jamis / Santa Cruz from Team Kona.
In the solo men's category, the experience of seasoned racer Ruedi Schnyder (Schnyder) earned him his second consecutive stage win with a time of 2:41:57. Schnyder crossed the line 15 seconds ahead of Colin Kerr, current yellow jersey wearer. RMB - Different Bikes' Kevin Calhoun came in third at 2:50:51.
Kerr was a big fan of stage 5. "Yesterday was hard, I think it was mentally taxing just being up under the powerlines all day (with no shade) and then you have today (almost all climbs were shaded). The singletrack is great and then the 10km flight in to the finish. It feels easy you know that it's an effortless roll the finish."
The women's duo category has shaken out consistently for the top three each day. Catharine Pendrel and Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) hold a commanding lead over Rocky Mountain's Alison Sydor and Lea Davison and Lisa Ludwig and Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes).
Megan Rose wears the yellow jersey in the solo women's category. She won the stage in 3:50.
There was little change in the overall standings for the rest of the group.
Two more days of racing remain with stage six set for Squamish.
|4||Alice Caroline Voigts||8:55:47|
|1||Seamus McGrath & Chris Sheppard (Jamis / Santa Cruz)||11:18:53|
|2||Barry Wicks & Kris Sneddon (Kona)||0:00:55|
|3||Brandon Stewart & Max Knox (DCM Chrome)||0:29:44|
|4||Chris Eatough & Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Cooperative||0:39:05|
|5||Matt Shriver & Benjamin Sontag (MonaVie / Cannondale)||0:53:36|
|1||Katerina Nash & Catharine Pendrel (Luna)||16:25:18|
|2||Alison Sydor & Lea Davison (Rocky Mountain)||0:39:47|
|3||Lisa Ludwig & Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes)||2:33:39|
|4||Mireille Montminy & France Lacroix (Lambert Girls Just Wanna Have fun)||5:35:38|
|5||Carolyn Van Vurst & Shelly Allen (Blonde leading Blonde)||7:19:19|
|1||Ryan Trebon & Georgia Gould||13:09:05|
|2||Jeff Neilson & Mical Dyck||0:47:10|
|3||Sandra Walter & Steven Devantier||1:19:41|
|4||Sue Butler & Bryan Alders||1:21:32|
|5||Steve Martins & Kate Aardal||1:47:02|
|1||Normon Thibault & Peter Stevenson||13:36:09|
|2||Geoff Clark & Pat Doyle||0:22:07|
|3||Matt Ohran & Tim Butler||0:52:39|
|4||Dale Plant & Joe Brown||0:56:41|
|5||Ian Parker & Bill Slater||1:19:51|
|1||Francois Amyot & Daniel Auclair||15:33:13|
|2||Jamie Emery & Robin Willard||0:57:17|
|3||Gilles Moreau & Isabelle Cantin||1:44:07|
|4||Ivor McMahen & Scott Gordon||2:14:26|
|5||John Janisse & Mark Janisse||2:38:35|