Switzerland’s Christoph Sauser and his South African team-mate Burry Stander’s (Songo-Specialized by DCM) winning streak continued as they finished first again, in the fifth stage time trial ride of this year’s Absa Cape Epic cycle race on Thursday.
They completed the tough 27km course in semi-desert vegetation in Worcester, in a time of 1hr 05min 15sec and are now seven minutes and six seconds behind the leaders, having closed the gap for the last three days.
They were followed by another South African, Kevin Evans and his Austrian partner Alban Lakata (Team MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon) in a time of 1:06.25 with the German Bulls 1 Team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm in third place in a time of 1:06.29. The Bulls Team are still in the overall lead (18:10.50,2)
Max Knox and Brandon Stewart of DCM Chrome finished in 10th place on Thursday┬á (1:10.46) and successfully defended the African Leader jersey. They remain in 11th place overall (18:58.18).
Said Sauser: ÔÇ£We knew it’s going to be hard to do a time trial in the middle of a stage race. Luckily, I recovered well from yesterday. Burry felt even better, but he was so excited about this one hour stage, that I could already feel it this morning. We were going very fast today and I knew we were in the lead.
“Today was quite dusty behind Burry and I was kind of riding blind going into the downhills. I’m probably slightly better at the downhills so can take more risks. It was ideal that I was behind him, although normally it’s better if the weaker one follows in the downhill and can catch up right away in the uphill.ÔÇØ
Kristine and Anna-Sofie Noergaard (team Rothaus-CUBE) won the women’s category for the third day in a row, finishing in a time of 1:28.57. They remain in first position overall (22:55.53).
They were again followed by Hannele Steyn-Kotze and Ivonne Kraft (team Sludge Ladies) in a time of 1:29.24, who are placed second overall (23:05.03). In third place were Giuliana Vitali and Tamara Horn (team bike2help.ch ÔÇô Big Tree) who finished in a time of 1:33.17, placing them in third position overall (24:58.16,2). Julia Skea and Carla Rowley of Team RBS Biogen finished fifth in a time of 1:44.53,7 (fourth overall ÔÇô 25:30.38,6).
Kristina Noergaard said: ÔÇ£We cycled with our heads on today and were actually prepared to give up two minutes to the Sludge Ladies. We’re much better with the longer stages and were quite surprised to hear that we finished before them. Today was one of the most beautiful stages of the race and very enjoyable. We had a lot of fun.ÔÇØ
Friday’s sixth stage is a 123km slog and involves 2 240m of climbing, especially towards the end. It’s possibly the hardest day of the Epic which ends at Lourensford Estate on Sunday.