Cape Town - Swiss
mountain bike racing legend, Christoph Sauser, didn’t only mark his
return from retirement at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge on Saturday, he won the gruelling 121km race after the
most incredible comeback following a mechanical delay early on.
Investec-Songo-Specialized rider clocked a winning time of 4 hours 50
minutes 9 seconds to capture his third title in what is widely
considered to be South Africa’s premier one-day race.
beat Attakwas novice and former Cape Epic winner, Kristian Hynek (Topeak
Ergon), into second place in late dash for the line, with defending
champion, Karl Platt (Team Bulls) rolling home a minute-and-a-half later
in third place.
cut his rear tyre badly at the 27km mark and lost the lead group while
repairing it. He was over five minutes behind the lead group at the 30km
mark, but was committed to limiting the damage as best he could,
pedalling powerfully up the steep climbs and aero-tucking on every fast
descent. He didn’t only limit the damage though, he undid it, steadily
moving through the field and eventually catching leaders Hynek and Platt
with 22km remaining.
A clearly spent Platt capitulated on the
final long climb where Sauser made the catch and resigned himself to
riding for third place, leaving Hynek and Sauser to wage a two-way
battle for the title.
Sauser’s knowledge of the course, which has a
tricky, fast descent to the finish straight, was in his favour, but in
doubt was how much he had left after his phenomenal effort to close a
more than five-minute gap.
felt very good from the start. But unfortunately I double-flatted and
it took four or five minutes to fix it because I ran out of CO2 Bombs
and had to pump it. I decided not to change wheels when I got to the
tech zone. The spare wheels I had there were quite heavy and I felt too
risky for a one-day race, so I just kept going, with the small bit of
hope of catching up to fight for the podium,” explained Sauser
“And yep, the guys came closer and
closer until I could see them. That was motivating. The finish suits me
because it’s technical. It helped that I know the finish. The sprint for
the finish is always the most exciting part of the five hours of
racing,” smiled the champion.
“Christoph had an impressive ride today.
He knew the finish which was a big advantage for him at the end. I’m
happy with my second place though. It was a great race and great
preparation for the Cape Epic,” said Hynek.
Kleinhans (Topeak Ergon), riding solo for most of the second half of
the race, kept his pace steady to finish fourth and the first South
African, with HB Kruger (Telkom BCX) rounding out the top five.
The 121km race from Chandelier Game
Lodge, Oudtshoorn to Pine Creek Resort, Groot Brak includes 2 900 metres
of vertical ascent. For the first time this year it holds International
Cycling Union status, which allows top finishers to earn UCI rankings
Attakwas Extreme Challenge1. Christoph Sauser (SUI) Investec-Songo-Specialized 04:50:09
2. Kristian Hynek (CZE) Topeak Ergon 04:50:113. Karl Platt (GER) Team Bulls 04:51:474. Erik Kleinhans (RSA) Topeak Ergon 05:05:495. HB Kruger (RSA) Telkom BCX 05:07:086. Dominic Calitz (RSA) 05:16:117. Justin Tuck (RSA) 05:16:268. Ben Melt Swanepoel (RSA) Garmin 05:19:219. Dylan Rebello (RSA) 05:20:2510. Waylon Woolcock (RSA) Telkom BCX 05:20:28
For full results and other race information, visit www.atta.co.za