South Africa's yellow jersey wearers, Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (Scott Factory Racing) claimed a second consecutive stage win when they outsprinted a small lead group on stage 3 of the Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race on Wednesday.
Second place went to the German Team Bulls pair of Tim Bohme and Simon Stiebjahn with South Africans Lourens Luus and Adriaan Louw (Fairview Elite) filling the final podium spot. Buys and Beukes retain their general classification lead of 3 minutes 26 seconds over Team Bulls.
In the women's race, the Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co. pair of Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag claimed their fourth successive stage victory, also in a sprint finish, against Asrin Cycling's Catherine Williamson and Alice Pirard and maintained their overall 13-minute lead.
After Tuesday's gruelling stage, which culminated with a mountaintop finish at the summit of the iconic Swartberg Pass; and with Thursday's brutal stage 4 looming, the riders appeared to consolidate somewhat on Wednesday's stage 3 over 107km from Prince Albert to De Rust.
In the men's race, a pack of five teams reached the final 20km in the lead group - Scott Factory Racing, Team Bulls, EAI Cycling, Fairview RECM (Lourens Luus and Adriaan Louw) and Asrin Cycling's (James Reid and Herman Persteiner). Unfortunately for Asrin Cycling, Persteiner encountered a mechanical with his chain, which eliminated them from the final dash.
The remaining quartet shared the workload into a strong headwind, but rode a tactical approach to the finish, which included two 90-degree turns and a slightly uphill finishing straight.
"We predicted this morning the stage might finish in a sprint so were ready for it. We've discussed our sprinting tactics quite a bit, but didn't have to implement them today as Simon (Stiebjahn) made the first move and we were forced to react. Matthys went after him and I watched Tim (Bohme). Simon faded a bit and that allowed both Matthys and I to go across the line ahead of them," said Buys.
"We accepted with about 10km to go that it would come down to a sprint," said De Groot. "Catherine and Alice rode really well today and we knew that we'd have to be tactically smart to beat them. Fortunately we got our timing right and were able to win. We still have a 13-minute lead, but it's not big enough to allow us to relax, especially with tomorrow's big stage."
Thursday's stage 4 is likely to be the most decisive of the 2014 Cape Pioneer Trek. With 2690m of ascent in 109km, it promises to make or break podium ambitions. It could also prove the toughest test for many of the amateurs, who are aiming to just complete the event.
The stage starts with a 25km steady drag before taking riders through the dry, rocky Kammanassie Mountains and over to the forested coastal belt area of George. The contrasts on this stage are remarkable and could well contribute to a general classification shake-up.
"It will be a tough stage tomorrow. But Matthys and I will not be riding defensively. We're keen to push the technical sections hard, but will stay as safe as possible," said Buys.
In the other team racing categories, South Africans Brian Lennox and Hannes Hanekom (Klein Karoo Giants) were the top Amateurs, moving into the GC lead in the process. South Africans Kobus and Fienie Barnard (Klein Karoo Mixed), won the sprint for the stage, but are still second on GC to Germans Max Friedrich and Jana Mischance (Firebike Tomotion by Blacktusk).
Heinz Zorweg and Bartie Bucher of Team Meerendal Wheeler 2 claimed a fourth consecutive stage win and further extended their category lead; while South Africans Johan Labuschagne and Gerrie Beukes (Klein Karoo Veterans) secured a second successive stage win and moved to within less than a minute off Veteran category leaders Fanie Venter and Wayne McDuling (Pynfabriek) in the overall.
In the solo men's division, Travis Walker won the stage in his category and moved into the General Classification lead, while Christine Janse van Rensburg, claimed another stage and extended her overall lead in the solo women's race.
Men stage 3
|1||Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) - Scott Factory Racing||3:54:35|| |
|2||Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) / Tim Bohme (Ger) - Team Bulls|| || |
|3||Adriaan Louw (RSA) / Lourens Luus (RSA) - Fairview Elite||0:00:02|| |
|4||Johann Rabie (RSA) / Gawie Combrinck (RSA) - EAI South Africa||0:00:04|| |
|5||James Reid (RSA) / Herman Persteiner (Aut) - Asrin Cycling||0:02:03|| |
Women stage 3
|1||Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) / Robyn de Groot (RSA) - Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co||4:33:03|| |
|2||Catherine Williamson (GBr) / Alice Pirard (Bel) Asrin Cycling 2||0:00:07|| |
|3||Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Esther Suss (Swi) - Meerendal Wheeler 1||0:07:57|| |
Amateur stage 3
|1||Brian Lennox (RSA) / Hannes Hanekom (RSA) - Klein Karoo Giants||4:19:47|| |
|2||Jaco Ferreira (RSA) / Alexander Lamberts (RSA) - Columbia Europcar Bridge||0:12:48|| |
|3||James Tennent (RSA) / David Garrett (RSA) - Giant 2||0:10:55|| |
Veteran men stage 3
|1||Johan Labuschagne (RSA) / Gerrie Beukes (RSA) Klein Karoo Veterans||4:19:57|| |
|2||Fanie Venter (RSA) / Wayne McDuling (RSA) - Pynfabriek||0:13:16|| |
|3||Noel Droomer (RSA) / John Swanepoel (RSA) - Cornerstone Cycles||0:18:04|| |
Master men stage 3
|1||Heinz Zorweg (Aut) / Barti Bucher (Swi) - Meerendal Wheeler 2||4:19:05|| |
|2||Waleed Baker (RSA) / Glen Haw (RSA) - Pitstop||0:31:47|| |
|3||Izak Visagie (RSA) / Lieb Loots (RSA) - Wilde||0:35:55|| |
Mixed stage 3
|1||Kobus Barnard (RSA) / Fienie Barnard (RSA) - Klein Karoo Mixed||4:36:01|| |
|2||Max Friedrich (Ger) / Jana Zieschank (Ger) - Firebike Tomotion by Blacktusk||0:00:02|| |
|3||Igna de Viliers (RSA) / Daleen Van der Leek (RSA) LGE Midas Bells Cycling||0:08:36|| |
Solo men stage 3
|1||Travis Walker (RSA)||4:02:30|| |
|2||Renay Groustra (RSA)||0:00:02|| |
|3||Ken van den Bulke (Ned)||0:00:50|| |
Solo women stage 3
|1||Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA)||4:55:30|| |
|2||Katja Cauwenbergh (Bel)||0:21:36|| |
|3||Nina Hind (RSA)||0:38:44|| |
Men general classification after stage 3
|1||Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) - Scott Factory Racing||12:12:56|| |
|2||Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) / Tim Bohme (Ger) - Team Bulls||0:03:27|| |
|3||Ismael Venture (ESP) / Ramon Sagues (RSA) - ESMTB.com||0:19:33|| |
|4||Waylon Woolcock (RSA) / Darren Lill (RSA) - Cannondale Blend||0:21:53|| |
|5||Michiel van Aelbroeck (Ned) / Robby de Bock (Ned) WMTB.Be - Feenstra||0:23:00|| |
Women general classification after stage 3
|1||Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) / Robyn de Groot (RSA) - Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co||14:02:49|| |
|2||Catherine Williamson (GBr) / Alice Pirard (Bel) - Asrin Cycling||0:13:47|| |
|3||Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Esther Suss (Swi) - Meerendal Wheeler 1||0:40:45|| |
Amateur general classification after stage 3
|1||Brian Lennox (RSA) / Hannes Hannekom (RSA) - Klein Karoo Giants||13:43:44|| |
|2||Mattias Winkler (Swi) / Francois Naf (Swi) Meerendal Wheeler||0:14:55|| |
|3||Jaco Ferreira (RSA) / Alexander Lamberts (RSA) - Columbia Europcar Bridge||0:19:22|| |
Veteran men general classification after stage 3
|1||Fanie Venter (RSA) / Wayne McDuling (RSA) - Pynfabriek||9:32:38|| |
|2||Johan Labuschagne (RSA) / Gerrie Beukes (RSA) Klein Karoo Veterans||0:14:01|| |
|3||Marne Dirks (RSA) / Pierre Griffioen (RSA) - Bridge Torq Zone Vets||0:25:58|| |
Master men general classification after stage 3
|1||Heinz Zorweg (Aut) / Barti Bucher (Swi) - Meerendal Wheeler 2||8:52:48|| |
|2||Izak Visagie (RSA) / Lieb Loots (RSA) - Wilde 3||1:03:46|| |
|3||Waleed Baker (RSA) / Glen Haw (RSA) - Pitstop||1:38:08|| |
Mixed general classification after stage 3
|1||Max Friedrich (Ger) / Jana Zieschank (Ger) - Firebike Tomotion by Blacktusk||14:09:59|| |
|2||Kobus Barnard (RSA) / Fienie Barnard (RSA) - Klein Karoo Mixed||0:10:52|| |
|3||Igna de Viliers (RSA) / Daleen Van der Leek (RSA) LGE Midas Bells Cycling||0:40:47|| |
Solo men general classification after stage 3
|1||Travis Walker (RSA)||12:43:02|| |
|2||Alan Gordon (RSA)||0:02:08|| |
|3||Ken van den Bulke (Bel)||0:05:22|| |
Solo women general classification after stage 3
|1||Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA)||15:14:12|| |
|2||Katja Cauwenbergh (Bel)||1:28:02|| |
|3||Nina Hind (RSA)||2:39:45|| |
|1||Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) - Scott Factory Racing||33|| pts|
|2||Simon Stiebjahn (Ger) / Tim Bohme (Ger) - Team Bulls||30|| |
|3||Ismael Venture (ESP) / Ramon Sagues (RSA) - ESMTB.com||16|| |
|4||Johann Rabie (RSA) / Gawie Combrinck (RSA) - EAI South Africa||16|| |
|1||Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) / Robyn de Groot (RSA) - Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co||35|| pts|
|2||Catherine Williamson (GBr) / Alice Pirard (Bel) - Asrin Cycling||29|| |
|3||Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Esther Suss (Swi) - Meerendal Wheeler 1||27|| |