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Another day of dominance for Sauser/Kulhavy in Cape Epic stage 3

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Christoph Sauser of Investec-Songo-Specialized celebrates with the HTS Drostdy school Learners after winning stage 3 with partner Jaroslav Kulhavy

Christoph Sauser of Investec-Songo-Specialized celebrates with the HTS Drostdy school Learners after winning stage 3 with partner Jaroslav Kulhavy
(Image credit: Shaun Roy/Cape Epic/Sportzpics)
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Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans drilled it past the 18th placed men's team

Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans drilled it past the 18th placed men's team
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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Jeremiah Bishop leads the chase group

Jeremiah Bishop leads the chase group
(Image credit: Nick Muzik / Sportzpics)
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Riders on the wind-swept plains

Riders on the wind-swept plains
(Image credit: Nick Muzik / Sportzpics)
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Karl Platt (Bulls) shattered after stage 3

Karl Platt (Bulls) shattered after stage 3
(Image credit: Shaun Roy/Cape Epic/Sportzpics)
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Christophe Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy still in the lead

Christophe Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy still in the lead
(Image credit: Shaun Roy/Cape Epic/Sportzpics)
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Christophe Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy win stage 3

Christophe Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy win stage 3
(Image credit: Shaun Roy/Cape Epic/Sportzpics)
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Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans regained the lead on stage 3

Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans regained the lead on stage 3
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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Alice Pirard (L) Sally Bigham (R) during stage 3 of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race

Alice Pirard (L) Sally Bigham (R) during stage 3 of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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imeon Niederer (front) and Florian Bolt (2nd) lead a bunch during stage 3

imeon Niederer (front) and Florian Bolt (2nd) lead a bunch during stage 3
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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Ariane Kleinhans (R) and Annika Langvad (L) during stage 3

Ariane Kleinhans (R) and Annika Langvad (L) during stage 3
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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Riders above the clouds on stage 3

Riders above the clouds on stage 3
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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Riders head out from Oak Valley on stage 3

Riders head out from Oak Valley on stage 3
(Image credit: Sam Clark / Cape Epic / Sportzpics)
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The race leaders fix a flat

The race leaders fix a flat
(Image credit: Nick Muzik / Sportzpics)

Christophe Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Investec-Songo-Specialized) won their third stage in a row of the 2015 Cape Epic, and although they only added 26 seconds to their lead over the defending champions Kristian Hynek and Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) their 7:22 lead in the standings will be unassailable if the pair keep riding the way they have.

Deep sand and baking heat were the two biggest obstacles in the 128km stage from Elgin Valley to Worcester. Kulhavy suffered a slow lead halfway through the stage, but lost little time. He and Sauser waited until the final 15km to ride away from the field. powering away on the last 15km to register a 25 second win and extend their overall lead to more than seven minutes.

Hynek said the stage was a “really tough one … I thought a transition might be easier." He and his partner took solace in the fact that they kept the leaders to less than half a minute, and still see an opportunity to turn their race around. “Today was really close and it’s still an open race,” Hynek said. “We’re fighting, we’re really strong and we’re good climbers.”

Four time winner Karl Platt of Germany and Switzerland’s Urs Huber dropped from second to fourth Platt punctured badly a couple of kilometres from Water Point 3 and ended up riding on his rim to the tech zone.

“I think we lost about three-and-a-half minutes there,” said Platt. They also lost contact with the front group and by the end were nearly seven minutes back from Sauser.

Multivan Merida’s Jose Hermida of Spain and Rudi van Houts of the Netherlands also moved past the Bulls into the top three in spite of the former suffering from stomach problems.

A notable performance yesterday was that of Topeak Ergon support team Robert Mennen (Germany) and Jeremiah Bishop (USA), who finished third overall. The American said later that they had helped Lakata get back to the front group when he dropped back and “we rode our hearts out”.

Langvad and Kleinhans overcome hour-penalty

In the women's race, it was Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans who put on the show of the day, overcoming the devastation of a penalty on the prior day that added nearly an hour and a quarter to their overall time. Starting the day fourth overall, they hammered to the front, riding with one of the main elite men's groups to a top 20 in the entire field for the stage and pulling on the race's leader's jersey once more.

“We were very motivated when we started this morning,” Langvad said. “We needed to put ourselves onto another level, and we did that.”

The pair now lead by more than nine minutes over Jennie Stenerhag and Robyn de Groot of Team Ascendis.

The result of Kleinhans and Langvad was the best performance for a women's team in the history of the Cape Epic. “It was tough and flat, and nowhere near as entertaining as Stage 3. Some sections were so sandy that it felt like we would never get anywhere,” Kleinhans said. “It was a mentally tough day for us too, especially after the time penalty. It was our intention to claw back as much time as possible, though we didn’t expect to do it in one day. We didn’t want to risk anything, though we were motivated to do well.”

Six-time cross country world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja and her partner Kathrin Stirnemann of Team World Bicycle Relief finshed second on the day, though it did little to improve their position in the overall.

“We’re very happy to be up in second place for the stage,” said Dahle Flesja. “This is where the racing is and for the first time in the Cape Epic we felt like we were in the race. It was a long, sandy day and some places it felt like we weren’t moving at all.”

Stirnemann has been struggling with illness all week, but it looks like the pair are cranking up the pace. “We didn’t push too hard today, but we got into it eventually,” said Dahle Flesja.
“I’m just happy to be at this event and to be part of it at last. It’s so cool and we are having a lot of fun. I think my job now will be to go and tell everyone else about the Cape Epic.”

Thursday’s Stage 4 is a 111km loop, starting and finishing in Worcester, and during which riders will gain a total of 2 000 vertical metres. It also promises to be a rugged affair.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christoph Sauser (Swi) / Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Investec-Songo-Specialized5:01:17
2Kristian Hynek (Cze) / Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon0:00:26
3Robert Mennen (Ger) / Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Topeak Ergon 20:02:12
4Jose Hermida (Spa) / Rudi van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida0:03:21
5Karl Platt (Ger) / Urs Huber (Swi) Bulls0:06:48
6Darren Lill (RSA) / Waylon Woolcock (RSA) RED-E Blend0:11:03
7Martin Gujan (Swi) / Fabian Giger (Swi) Novus OMX Pro0:13:30
8Jochen Kaess (Ger) / Daniel Geismayr (Aut) Meerendal Centurion Vaude0:13:34
9Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) Scott Factory Racing0:18:06
10Stefan Sahm (Ger) / Timo Cooper (RSA) JAG Foundation0:19:11
11Gawie Combrinck (RSA) / Johann Rabie (RSA) EAI South Africa0:19:18
12Lars Granberg (Nor) / Soren Nissen (Den) iHUS0:19:40
13Rourke Croeser (RSA) / Travis Walker (RSA) USN #10:21:13
14Jan Jobanek (Cze) / Filip Adel (Cze) Mitas Superior0:31:17
15Michiel van Aelbroeck (Bel) / Robby De Bock (Bel) Meerendal Rocky Mountain0:40:09
16Gert Heyns (RSA) / Arno Du Toit (RSA) Scott Factory Racing 20:42:41
17Craig Boyes (RSA) / Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) Asrin0:42:44
18Simeon Niederer (Swi) / Florian Bolt (Swi) Sherpa Tensing - Pedalerie0:46:38
19Nic Lamond (RSA) / Carl Pasio (RSA) RSAWEB Biogen0:46:40
20Kevin Evans (RSA) / Max Knox (RSA) Biogen-Volcan0:46:54
21Rick Reimann (Swi) / Louis Wolf (Ger) CUBE Factory Racing0:46:58
22Andrew Grobler (RSA) / Ben Melt Swanepoel (RSA) Gear Dunkeld Cycles0:50:29
23Oliver Munnik (RSA) / Charles Keey (RSA) Novus Pinners0:50:31
24Paul Theron (RSA) / Jaco Ferreira (RSA) Mica-SlenderWonder0:52:07
25Shaun Lewis (Aus) / Andrew Blair (Aus) Enduro Mag/Specialized0:57:04

Men GC after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christoph Sauser (Swi) / Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Investec-Songo-Specialized14:42:30
2Kristian Hynek (Cze) / Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon0:07:22
3Jose Hermida (Spa) / Rudi van Houts (Ned) Multivan Merida0:10:52
4Karl Platt (Ger) / Urs Huber (Swi) Bulls0:13:33
5Martin Gujan (Swi) / Fabian Giger (Swi) Novus OMX Pro0:34:10
6Jochen Kaess (Ger) / Daniel Geismayr (Aut) Meerendal Centurion Vaude0:42:14
7Darren Lill (RSA) / Waylon Woolcock (RSA) RED-E Blend0:44:53
8Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) Scott Factory Racing0:51:21
9Rourke Croeser (RSA) / Travis Walker (RSA) USN #10:52:56
10Gawie Combrinck (RSA) / Johann Rabie (RSA) EAI South Africa0:56:17
11Lars Granberg (Nor) / Soren Nissen (Den) iHUS1:01:16
12Jan Jobanek (Cze) / Filip Adel (Cze) Mitas Superior1:15:39
13Stefan Sahm (Ger) / Timo Cooper (RSA) JAG Foundation1:20:40
14Gert Heyns (RSA) / Arno Du Toit (RSA) Scott Factory Racing 21:39:51
15Kevin Evans (RSA) / Max Knox (RSA) Biogen-Volcan1:42:02
16Michiel van Aelbroeck (Bel) / Robby De Bock (Bel) Meerendal Rocky Mountain1:55:13
17Robert Mennen (Ger) / Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Topeak Ergon 22:02:39
18Dariusz Miroslaw (Pol) / Andrzej Kaiser (Pol) Specialized Martombike2:02:57
19Craig Boyes (RSA) / Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) Asrin2:08:06
20Shaun Lewis (Aus) / Andrew Blair (Aus) Enduro Mag/Specialized2:10:39
21Oliver Munnik (RSA) / Charles Keey (RSA) Novus Pinners2:18:08
22Nic Lamond (RSA) / Carl Pasio (RSA) RSAWEB Biogen2:28:03
23Erik Kleinhans (RSA) / Nico Bell (RSA) RECM2:35:55
24Michael Posthumus (RSA) / Derrin Smith (RSA) William Simpson A2:38:24
25Matthew Brittain (RSA) / Andrew Stockwell (RSA) NuPower Solar 12:47:57

Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ariane Kleinhans (Swi) / Annika Langvad (Den) RECM Specialized5:46:21
2Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Nor) / Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) World Bicycle Relief0:29:30
3Esther Suss (Swi) / Alice Pirard (Bel) Meerendal Wheeler0:29:42
4Yolande de Villiers (RSA) / Janka Keseg Stevkova (Svk) SasolRacing0:34:49
5Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Jeannie Bomford (RSA) RBS0:36:04
6Jennie Stenerhag (Swe) / Robyn Lee de Groot (RSA) Ascendis Health0:36:25
7Milena Landtwing (Swi) / Hielke Elferink (Ned) Meerendal Wheeler C'dale0:46:29
8Mariske Strauss (RSA) / Cherie Vale (RSA) Novus OMX Pro1:19:20
9Leana de Jager (RSA) / Yolandi du Toit (RSA) SasolRacing 21:21:41
10Kathrin Muller (Ger) / Maud Golsteyn (Ned) Skinfit1:35:47
11Sanne van Paassen (Ned) / Jolien Janssen (Ned) Lovechock Specialized1:36:34
12Ann Harrison (RSA) / Marleen Lourens (RSA) Dawn Wing/Momsen1:40:47
13Genevieve Weber (RSA) / Wanda Tattersall (Nam) Central Family Practice2:08:20

Women GC after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ariane Kleinhans (Swi) / Annika Langvad (Den) RECM Specialized18:03:11
2Jennie Stenerhag (Swe) / Robyn Lee de Groot (RSA) Ascendis Health0:09:19
3Esther Suss (Swi) / Alice Pirard (Bel) Meerendal Wheeler0:14:20
4Yolande de Villiers (RSA) / Janka Keseg Stevkova (Svk) SasolRacing0:41:23
5Milena Landtwing (Swi) / Hielke Elferink (Ned) Meerendal Wheeler C'dale0:47:14
6Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Nor) / Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) World Bicycle Relief0:48:17
7Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Jeannie Bomford (RSA) RBS0:49:07
8Mariske Strauss (RSA) / Cherie Vale (RSA) Novus OMX Pro2:02:49
9Leana de Jager (RSA) / Yolandi du Toit (RSA) SasolRacing 22:18:01
10Sanne van Paassen (Ned) / Jolien Janssen (Ned) Lovechock Specialized2:53:12
11Ann Harrison (RSA) / Marleen Lourens (RSA) Dawn Wing/Momsen3:34:31
12Kathrin Muller (Ger) / Maud Golsteyn (Ned) Skinfit4:06:33
13Genevieve Weber (RSA) / Wanda Tattersall (Nam) Central Family Practice5:12:23

 

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