Cape Town - South African Philip Buys commandingly won his second stage of the
2014 Absa Cape Epic on Saturday with Swiss partner Nino Schurter (Team
Scott-Odlo) as the race for the overall winners' yellow zebra-striped
jersey was again touched by drama.
"Another stage ... another
flat ... another drama," said Czech Kristian Hynek, leading overall with
German Robert Mennen (Topeak-Ergon), after they had again benefited on
the day from the sportsmanship of fellow professionals.
Mennen and Hynek finished the 88km sixth stage in second place but more than 10 minutes aheads in the general classification.
disaster -an ever-present threat in the 2014 edition of the event -
they should win for the first time when the race finishes at Lourensford
Wine Estate in Somerset West on Sunday.
They were facing a serious setback Saturday when Hynek picked up a bad cut on his wheel only five kilometres from the start.
the second day running it was fellow professionals Markus Kaufmann and
Jochen Kaess (Centurion-Vaude) - out of the race for overall honours
after a bad day on Tuesday's stage two when they broke a frame - who
came to their rescue by stopping and swopping a wheel.
On Friday they had donated two wheels to Hynek when he "double-flatted".
rapid change of tyres Saturday meant Hynek and Mennen could chase and
ultimately catch up to their general classification competitors.
"This time it happened on a gravel section - the tyre was cut. We got great, great help from Centurion-Vaude," said Hynek.
Mennen said he had no idea how to thank fellow Germans Kaufmann and Kaess.
must actually apologise because we took away their chance of a stage
win," said Mennen. "We'll have to do something big for them."
and Schurter, the reigning cross country world champion, blitzed the
stage - which started and finished at Oak Valley, Elgin, and went
through many of the best single track sections in the Western Cape - in
3:34.51,2, finishing nearly six minutes ahead of the yellow
Buys said it was "just great" to be on the top
step of the podium for the second time in three days - they also won
stage four - and paid tribute to the explosive strength of Schurter.
"On the single tracks we work well together, but I suffer quite a lot on the climbs."
"It was a beautiful stage - a mountain bike stage," said Schurter.
are now lying fifth overall - but more than 20 minutes behind the
leaders after some troubled opening stages - and Schurter was hoping to
win the final stage Sunday and get on to the podium.
favourite and four-times winner Christoph Sauser of Switzerland and his
Czech partner Frantisek Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) were third
Saturday, giving up another 34 seconds to Hynek and Mennen. They remain
in second overall but are more than 10 minutes back with only Sunday's
68km stage to come - a gap that they are unlikely to bridge unless the
leading team runs into serious trouble.
Rabon said he had a bad day: "I had no power in my legs ... it just wasn't happening today."
said he and Rabon would attack from the start Sunday, but Hynek would
not be taking risks: "It would be beautiful to win (the stage into)
Lourensford, but there is no reason to take risks. The yellow jersey is
our priority," he said.
Team Bulls 2's Simon Stiebjahn and Tim Boehme, both Germans, are third overall, six minutes behind Sauser and Rabon.
Kleinhans of Switzerland and Annike Langvad of Denmark (RECM 2) seem
almost certain to be winners of the women's category after another
commanding performance Saturday. They finished in 4:12.44,0 - 10 minutes
ahead of their nearest rivals Esther Suss, also Swiss, and Sally Bigham
of England (Meerendal).
"Yesterday was a bit too much with the
heat, but the single track and all the shade today (Saturday) made me a
happy mountain biker again. I wish the final stage of the Epic was like
the final day of the Tour de France with handshakes and drinking
But seeing that it is not, we will do the same as
every day: riding as strong and fast as we can." Kleinhans and Langvad's
overall lead is now 26 minutes.
South Africa's Theresa Ralph and
Swede Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Company) are lying third but are
more than an hour back from the RECM 2 team.
Results from stage six of the Absa Cape Epic on Saturday:
1 Nino Schurter and Philip Buys (Scott-Odlo) 3:34.51,2; 2 Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon) 3:40.44,7; 3 Christoph Sauser and Frantisek Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) 3:41.20,5.
1 Mennen and Hynek 27:24.16,3; 2 Sauser and Rabon 27:34.39,8; 3 Tim Boehme and Simon Stiebjahn (Bulls 2) 27:40.57,9.
1 Ariane Kleinhans and Annike Langvad (RECM 2) 4:12.44,0; 2 Esther Suss and Sally Bigham (Meerendal) 4:22.56,3; 3 Jennie Stenerhag and Theresa Ralph (Cape Brewing Company) 4:38.03,5.
1 Kleinhans and Langvad 31:21.54,7; 2 Suss and Bigham 31:47.31,5; 3 Stenerhag and Ralph 33:31.29,1.