Torrential rain shook up the battle for overall honours on Friday's stage 5 of the Cape Pioneer Trek as Scott Factory Racing's Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes claimed the stage win and moved into second place overall.
The 70km leg from Herold to George included 1,698 metres of climbing, the most significant climb taking riders over the Outeniqua Mountains and down to the coastal belt on long forest descents. But the rain made the stage particularly challenging, with most riders experiencing total brake pad wear before the second water point, halfway into the stage.
Buys and Beukes, winners of the prologue and stage 4, attacked from the start of the stage in an ambitious effort to reclaim the overall lead they held on day 1. They built up a 4:50 lead by halfway, but Beukes' brake pads wore completely through, forcing him to dismount and run down all the steep descents. They crossed the finish line in 2:56:56.
Defending champions, Westvaal Bells Cycling's Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell closed down Scott Factory Racing's lead in the final 20km to finish second 1:33 back with overall leaders, Team RE:CM's Erik Kleinhans and Waylon Woolcock, taking third place 7:41 down.
Buys and Beukes' effort saw them move from fourth to second overall, 10:40 off Woolcock and Kleinhans. Former leaders, FedGroup Itec's Brandon Stewart and Konny Looser, dropped from second down to third, 18:15 back.
RE:CM Davinci's Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans secured their sixth consecutive stage win and extended their overall lead in the women's division. Defending champions, Klein Karoo Chicks' Yolande Speedy and Yolande de Villiers achieved their best finish of the 2013 edition with second place, moving them from fourth to third overall.
"It sounds strange, but Phil and I really enjoyed this stage," said a drenched, muddy Beukes. "We decided yesterday, after a couple of bad stages, to see if we can still win this race so needed to attack early on. It paid off and we're now up to second. Tomorrow is the last chance and we'll give it everything again."
"Phil still had some front brake left but I had no brakes for the last 20km. I had to hold onto Phil's arm to slow down on some descents and had to run down the steep downhills. Luckily we managed to still stay ahead and win the stage," added Beukes.
"We have been riding very conservatively to lower our risk of a crash or a bike problem. In mountain biking nothing is certain," said Ariane Kleinhans.
"We have also tried to stay near the front at the start of each stage. The further back you ride in the bunch, the more chance you have of crashing if someone ahead of you goes down. At first it was about getting the overall lead, but now it's about managing risk," said Kleinhans.
In the mixed category there was another leadership change with Cube Nutswerk MTB's Birgit Lavrijssen and Marco Minnaard reclaiming the top spot by winning the stage and displacing overnight leaders, Asrin Cycling 3's Jennie Stenerhag and Craig Gerber, who now trail the Dutch team by 2:26.
Klein Karoo Vets' Wynand Mulder and Gerrie Beukes claimed the stage win in the veteran category, but failed to make any real impact on the overall lead of Cube Nutswerk 2's Micha de Vries and Rik van den Hanenburg, who were third on Friday's soggy stage.
The masters race on Friday saw the category's closest finish of the race with Wilde 3's Izak Visagie and Lieb Loots securing the victory by just 36 seconds from Bridge Masters 1's Con Malherbe and Greg Anderson. Wilde 3 still have a significant overall lead going into Saturday's final stage.
In the solo men's category, Darren Lill secured the stage win, but third-placed Adriaan Louw retained his overall lead; while Bettina Uhlig won the stage and extended her general classification lead in the solo women's race.
Saturday's final stage has been shortened from 91km to 68km due to severe flooding in the Chandelier Game Reserve.
Men stage 5
|1 ||Scott Factory Racing - Philip Buys (RSA) & Matthys Beukes (RSA) ||2:56:56 || |
|2 ||Westvaal Bells Cycling - Nico Bell (RSA) & Gawie Combrinck (RSA) ||0:01:33 || |
|3 ||RE:CM - Waylon Woolcock (RSA) & Erik Kleinhans (RSA) ||0:07:41 || |
|4 ||Contego Giant Factory Racing - Gert Heyns (RSA) & Louis-Bresler Knipe (RSA) ||0:13:39 || |
|5 ||Cube NutSwerk 1 - Liwald Doornbos (Ned) & Mattijs Eversdijk (Ned) ||0:16:24 || |
Women stage 5
|1 ||RE:CM Davinci - Ariane Kleinhans (Swi) & Annika Langvad (Den) ||3:43:54 || |
|2 ||Klein Karoo Chicks - Yolande Speedy (RSA) & Yolande de Villiers ||0:12:12 || |
|3 ||Wheeler - BMC - Jane Neussli (GBr) & Esther Suss (Swi) ||0:13:52 || |
Mixed stage 5
|1 ||Cube NutSwerk MTB - Birgit Lavrijssen (Ned) & Marco Minnaard (Ned) ||3:41:16 || |
|2 ||Asrin Cycling 2 - Nizaam Esa (RSA) & Catherine Williamson (GBr) ||0:02:36 || |
|3 ||Asrin Cycling 3 - Jennie Stenerhag (Swe) & Craig Gerber ||0:17:27 || |
Veterans stage 5
|1 ||Klein Karoo Vets - Wynand Mulder (RSA) & Gerrie Beukes (RSA) ||3:34:32 || |
|2 ||Cannondale Blend Vets - Martin Epstein (RSA) & Stefano Madies (RSA) ||0:04:37 || |
|3 ||Cube NutSwerk 2 - Micha de Vries (Ned) & Rik Van Den Hanenberg (Ned) ||0:07:49 || |
Masters stage 5
|1 ||Wilde 3 - Izak Visagie (RSA) & Lieb Loots (RSA) ||3:50:46 || |
|2 ||Bridge Masters 1 - Con Malherbe (RSA) & Greg Anderson (RSA) ||0:00:36 || |
|3 ||Stone Hammer - Malcolm Dods (GBr) & Wizner Zbigniew (Swe) ||0:19:37 || |
Amateurs stage 5
|1 ||Contego Giant 2 - Sakkie Hannekom (RSA) & Hannes Hannekom (RSA) ||3:41:01 || |
|2 ||Kivida Schorriemorrie - Ninko Doornbos (Ned) & Coen HooGervorst (Ned) ||0:00:22 || |
|3 ||Scott Saffa Power - George Nel (RSA) & Franso Steyn (RSA) ||0:10:39 || |
Solo men stage 5
|1 ||Darren Lill (RSA) ||3:23:12 || |
|2 ||Craig Boyes (RSA) ||0:08:48 || |
|3 ||Adriaan Louw (RSA) ||0:15:37 || |
Solo women stage 5
|1 ||Bettina Uhlig (Ger) ||4:27:07 || |
|2 ||Theresa Horn (RSA) ||0:00:35 || |
|3 ||Thea-Mari van der Sandt (RSA) ||0:14:34 || |
Men general classification after stage 5
|1 ||RE:CM - Waylon Woolcock (RSA) & Erik Kleinhans (RSA) ||18:58:32 || |
|2 ||Scott Factory Racing - Philip Buys (RSA) & Matthys Beukes (RSA) ||0:10:40 || |
|3 ||FedGroup Itec - Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Konny Looser (Swi) ||0:18:15 || |
|4 ||Westvaal Bells Cycling - Nico Bell (RSA) & Gawie Combrinck (RSA) ||0:26:19 || |
|5 ||Asrin Cycling - James Reid (RSA) & Jens Scheurmans (BEL) ||0:44:16 || |
Women general classification after stage 5
|1 ||RE:CM Davinci - Ariane Kleinhans (Swi) & Annika Langvad (Den) ||21:49:18 || |
|2 ||Wheeler - BMC - Jane Neussli (GBr) & Esther Suss (Swi) ||1:20:29 || |
|3 ||Klein Karoo Chicks - Yolande Speedy (RSA) & Yolande de Villiers (RSA) ||1:55:50 || |
Mixed general classification after stage 5
|1 ||Cube NutSwerk MTB - Birgit Lavrijssen (Ned) & Marco Minnaard ||23:36:10 || |
|2 ||Asrin Cycling 3 - Jennie Stenerhag (Swe) & Craig Gerber ||0:05:04 || |
|3 ||Asrin Cycling 2 - Nizaam Esa (RSA) & Catherine Williamson (GBr) ||1:21:15 || |
Veterans general classification after stage 5
|1 ||Cube NutSwerk 2 - Micha de Vries (Ned) & Rik Van Den Hanenberg (Ned) ||21:44:11 || |
|2 ||Klein Karoo Vets - Wynand Mulder (RSA) & Gerrie Beukes (RSA) ||1:05:04 || |
|3 ||Cannondale Blend Vets - Martin Epstein (RSA) & Stefano Madies (RSA) ||1:33:41 || |
Masters general classification after stage 5
|1 ||Wilde 3 - Izak Visagie (RSA) & Lieb Loots (RSA) ||22:44:01 || |
|2 ||Stone Hammer - Malcolm Dodds (RSA) & Wizner Zbigniew (RSA) ||2:04:19 || |
|3 ||Brug Meesters - Charles Nienaber (RSA) & Ergee du Toit (RSA) ||2:31:20 || |
Amateurs general classification after stage 5
|1 ||Contego Giant 2 - Sakkie Hannekom (RSA) & Hannes Hannekom (RSA) ||22:12:17 || |
|2 ||Scott Saffa Power - George Nel (RSA) & Franso Steyn (RSA) ||0:27:41 || |
|3 ||Kivada Schorriemorrie - Ninko Doornbos (Ned) & Coen HooGervorst (Ned) ||2:05:00 || |
Solo men general classification after stage 5
|1 ||Adriaan Louw (RSA) ||20:35:52 || |
|2 ||Craig Boyes (RSA) ||0:42:34 || |
|3 ||Tomas Kozak (Cze) ||1:23:03 || |
Solo women general classification after stage 5
|1 ||Bettina Uhlig (Ger) ||25:52:36 || |
|2 ||Dalene van der Leek (RSA) ||1:07:32 || |
|3 ||Aileen Anderson (RSA) ||1:09:32 || |