Stander-Sauser reign supreme
Burry Stander (Greg Beadle/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS)
Johannesburg - South African mountain biker Burry Stander and Swiss partner Christoph Sauser finished the third stage of this year's Cape Epic in pole position on Wednesday.
The winners of the first two days, Stander and Sauser reclaimed the first place with a sprint finish in a time of 5:31.04 after Tuesday's third-place finish.
They were closely followed by South Africans Kevin Evans and David George in a time of 5:31.07.
Stage three took riders from Robertson to Caledon - 147km with 2 900m of climbing - the longest stage in Cape Epic history.
Sauser said they did not mind whether it was the longest or shortest stage, as long as they won it.
"But we not only won the stage today, we took another big step in our overall lead," Sauser said.
"We expected some cat-and-mouse games for the finish so I just decided to attack and see what happens. I expected some real sprinting action, but was disappointed."
In third place were Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler in a time of 5:39.46 with Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme in fourth (5:39.48).
Kevin van Hoovels and Sebastien Carabin were in fifth place.
Stander and Sauser have stretched their overall lead by more than nine minutes as they have a 18 minutes and 35 seconds advantage over closest rivals Urs Huber and Konny Looser.
"I was relieved when Christoph went on the attack for the finish, because when it comes to sprinting, he's not really that good at it," said Stander.
"So I had only to beat one of the two 360Life riders for the stage win."
Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen are third overall while Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm are in fourth place. Evans and George move up two positions to seventh place overall.
The African Leader jersey went to Evans and George, with Adrien Nyontshuti and Jacques Janse van Rensburg moving into second position in this category.
In the women's category Sally Bigham and Esther Süss won their fourth consecutive stage in a time of 6:26.53.
Theresa Ralph and Nina Gässler crossed the line behind them in a time of 6:35.40 and were followed by Karien van Jaarsveld and Jane Nüssli (6:50.42).
Bigham and Süss have a 34 minutes and 47 seconds lead over Ralph and Gssler.
"I'm very happy we could finish in first place," said Süss.
"I had a really hard day today. It was a long race, starting off with a big group on what seemed like a road race."
Meanwhile, the masters category was again won by Robert Sim and Nico Pfitzenmaier in 6:01.16, followed by Bart Brentjens and Jan Weevers (6:08.42).
Adrian Enthoven and Delaney Impey finished in third place (6:16.15).
Sim and Pfitzenmaier lead Enthoven and Impey by 23 minutes and 43 seconds with Brentjens and Jan Weevers in third place overall.
In the mixed category Erik and Ariane Kleinhans won their third consecutive stage in 6:12.01 with Udo Boelts and Milena Landtwing in second place (6:31.28).
Russell de Jager and Andrea Huser finished in third place in 6:40.34 with Pieter Venter and Leana de Jager in fourth place (6:49.25).
Erik and Ariane Kleinhans lead Boelts and Landtwing by 29 minutes and 47 seconds.Christoph Sauser (Gary Perkin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS)