Absa Cape Epic title held by Stander and Sauser
South Africa’s Burry Stander and his Swiss partner Christoph Sauser won the seventh and final stage to clinch their second successive victory in the Absa Cape Epic mountainbike race on Sunday.
Stander and Sauser dominated the last stage, a 64km leg which ended at Lourensford Wine Estate in the Western Cape, to cross the line in an overall time of 31 hours, 46 minutes, 50 seconds (31:46.50) after eight days of racing.
The all-South African duo of Kevin Evans and David George finished second in 32:14.12, with the German-Swiss team of Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler taking third place overall in 32:17.57.
Evans and George won the African leader jersey, while Siphosenkosi Madolo and Azukile Simayile secured the Development jersey.
“We worked hard for this stage and the overall [title],” Stander said.
“We will never say no to the opportunity of winning a stage ... Twenty seven minutes is big, but not only thanks to us. Our whole team and our equipment played a role ... We learnt our lessons in previous years — The Cape Epic is a story. Everyday is a chapter and that makes it so amazing.”
Evans was delighted after he and George scooped the best ever finish by an all-South African team.
“It’s been a fantastic finish and so special to top off the rollercoaster ride in this way,” Evans said.
“We were prepared and ready with great support and structure, so it was fantastic ... Our second spot is testament to the great support and our guts ... This year was very tough because of all the mechanical troubles, but we’re very happy.”
Sally Bigham and Esther Suss continued their dominance of the women’s race, winning the final stage to cross the line in an overall time of 38:34.11.
Theresa Ralph and Nina Gassler were second in 39:23.38, with Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nussli taking third place in 40:09.15.
“I’m so happy that this is the finish because it was a hard week,” Suss said.
“I had a flat with only one kilometre to go, so I’m just happy to be here safely ... It was a wonderful experience with Sally ... We had a good week and we’re a strong combination.”
Bart Brentjens and Jan Weevers won the Masters’ category in an overall time of 35:35.58, while Erik and Ariane Kleinhans secured the Mixed division in 37:33.23.—Sapa