Cape Town - Karl Platt and Urs Huber, racing as the premier Bulls team, extended their lead in the Cape Epic mountain bike race when they won the 94km third stage on Wednesday.
Platt and Huber held off defending champion Christoph Sauser and Olympic gold-medallist Jaroslav Kulhavy (Burry Stander Songo) by 46 seconds.
The Songo team, plagued by misfortune since winning the prologue on Sunday and desperately needing to halt a growing deficit, handed their rivals the stage win when they took a wrong turn just 2km from the finish. The error cancelled out the two-minute lead they had built up riding the Tulbach valley.
The Bulls team extended their overall advantage to eight minutes, 49 seconds overall and showed no signs of letting up, while Sauser and Kulhavy, who had burnt a lot of energy chasing the race in the past two days were beginning to wilt.
On the first stage on Monday, a cracked rim slowed up Sauser and on Tuesday, Kulhavy snapped a chain.
The second Bulls team, Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme, were lying third overall, after completing the stage a full five minutes behind the leaders.
Stage 4 on Thursday is a 120km leg with climbs of 2 300m from Tulbach to Wellington.
Results and overall standings after the 94km third stage of the Cape Epic mountain bike race at Saronsberg estate in Tulbach on Wednesday:
Men: K Platt & U Huber (Bulls 1) 3:35:17, 2 C Sauser & J Kulhavy (Burry Stander Songo) +46, 3 T Dietsch & T Boehme (Bulls 2) +5:53, 4 D Lill & C Keey (Cannondale Blend) +7:57, 5 M Knox & Y Kohei (Burry Stander Songo 2) +8-56.3, 6 M Fontana & M Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) +9:32, 7 S Sahm & S Stiebjahn (Bulls 3) +11:39, 8 M Kaufmann & T Stoll (Dietrich) +11:56, 9 H Becking & J Novak (Superior Brentjens) +12:03, 10 P Buys & M Beukes (Scott Factory) +12:05
Overall: 1 K Platt & U Huber 14:58:25, 2 C Sauser & J Kulhavy +8:49;, 3 T Dietsch & T Boehme +12:16, 4 J Hermida & R van Houts (Multivan Merida) +24:46, 5 D Lill & C Keey +29:36, 6 M Fontana & M Fumic +38:39, 7 M Kaufmann & T Stoll +43:38, 8 P Buys & M Beukes +45:40, 9 H Becking & J Novak +56:02, 10 S Sahm & S Stiebjahn (Bulls 3) +57:09
Women: 1 Y Speedy & C Williamson (Energas) 4:58:36, 2 S Mertens & L Turpijn (C-Bear) +25:30, 3 H Booyens & I Stopforth (Pragma Volcan Ladies) +30:38, 4 A Harrison & M Lourens (Dawn Wing) +34:14, 5 K Kelly & E Greene (www.rrsport.co.nz) +38:12
Overall: Y Speedy & C Williamson 19:00:07, 2 H Booyens & I Stopforth +1:06:45, 3 K Kelly & E Greene +1:43:07, 4 A Harrison & M