Cape Town - When
Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag of Team Ascendis Health crossed the finish
line first in a time of 5:22.18,4 on Stage 1 of the Absa Cape Epic, the most
surprised people at Saronsberg Wine Estate were the two of them.
saw the helicopter, then we saw Ariane [Kleinhans] and thought maybe we can go
for a stage win,” said De Groot of their passing manoeuvre on the
Spur-Specialised pair of Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad.
until that dramatic moment, in the final 2km of Monday’s 108km stage, the South
African-Swedish pair of De Groot and Stenerhag feared for their Sasol Women’s
category leader’s jersey.
thought we had lost it,” said De Groot. “We didn’t expect to catch up to them
after we all split.”
1 was the first time in Absa Cape Epic history where the UCI-registered women’s
teams started in their own batch, taking off five minutes after the UCI men on
Monday morning. De Groot believes that it added an interesting element to the
racing among the women.
was very nice and gave us all a fair chance to leverage off the start. Once we
were caught by the men who started behind us we then rode tempo,” said De
Groot, the reigning South African Marathon champion.
and Kleinhans came home in second place, losing 39.9 seconds on the day, and
the pain was etched on the Swiss rider’s face.
was actually a very good day,” recalled Langvad, speaking for the pair while
Kleinhans struggled through the day’s exertions.
got away on the first climb when the Grand Masters caught up with us. Up until
that stage it was actually very slow. When the men caught us I think they
expected us to do the work but it didn’t really happen. We knew today would be
interesting with the new start and nobody had an idea how it would go.”
provided insight to where the the tide turned for her and her teammate – their
lead at one stage had grown to over four minutes.
was a little bit of a shame. Suddenly, in the last 20km Ariane started
struggling and her pace dropped. She said she was quite tired.”
now being 58 seconds behind overall, Langvad remained positive of Kleinhans
recovering sufficiently for Stage 2 and beyond…
we feel the pressure of being caught today, especially because we rode a very
strong race up until that point, but there is a long race ahead…”
podium today was rounded off by Sally Bigham and Adel Morath of Topeak Ergon,
who arrived home 5:50.4 behind the stage winners.
was very dusty today but there was nice singletrack. We knew it was going to be
hot today so we weren’t surprised by that,” said Bigham of today’s conditions.
Brit called the new women’s batch “better, for sure” adding that the racing
became a little different when the Grand Masters caught up with the UCI Women.
they came past, the women’s race opened up and from then on we were by