Cape Town - Swiss riders Fabian Giger and Martin Gujan (Novus OMX Pro) sprung
something of a surprise as they swept into the yellow zebra jersey in
Sunday’s Absa Cape Epic Prologue.
Most of the big guns kept their powder dry on a day that favoured cross
country specialists, but four-time winners Karl Platt and Christoph
Sauser were second and third with their team-mates.
Giger and Gujan were delighted with their performance: “I didn’t expect
it at all but I’m very happy to get the win,” said Giger. “We left quite
early (before the favourites for the stage) and had a good time out
there.” They finished in 46 minutes and 18 seconds, an exceptionally
quick time for the 20km Table Mountain course.
Many of the top riders described the course as being tough and without
any opportunities to rest. The course was generally quite dusty after a
long and dry Western Cape summer. Riders who went out late in the day,
such as the professionals, had the worst of the conditions after earlier
riders had dragged their brakes through sections of the course.
Team Bulls’s Platt (German) and Urs Huber (Swiss) were second, 18 seconds behind the Swiss pair.
“We didn’t start full gas,” said Platt. “We kept it steady and think it worked out.”
He said there had been one scary moment when he rode into a dust cloud
as he entered a steeply descending singletrack: “I went ‘whoa! where’s
the track?’, but then it was fine.”
Swiss Sauser and Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy (Investec Songo Specialized) finished third, five seconds behind Platt and Huber.
“It was hard for me,” said Sauser. “I struggled with the climbing.”
Defending champion Kristian Hynek of the Czech Republic and Austrian
Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) finished seventh overall, 51 seconds behind
But Hynek made the point later: “We didn’t want to take any big risks
because you can’t win it on the Prologue ... you can only lose it”.
The top South African finishers were sixth-placed Rourke Croeser and
Travis Walker, who will wear the Absa African special jersey on Stage 1.
Three seconds and two places behind them were Darren Lill and Waylon
Woolcock (RED-E Blend).
1. Novus OMX Pro; 46.18,3 23-1; Martin Gujan (Switzerland); 23-2 Fabian Giger (Switzerland)
2. Bulls; 46.36,7; 4-1 Karl Platt (Germany); 4-2 Urs Huber (Switzerland)
3. Investec-Songo-Specialized, 46.42,1; 2-1 Christoph Sauser (Switzerland); 2-2 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic)
4. Kargo Pro MTB, 46.49,0; 15-1 Emil Lindgren (Sweden); 15-2 Brendon Davids (South Africa)
5. Multivan Merida; 47.00,4; 6-1 Jose Hermida (Spain); 6-2 Rudi van Houts (Netherlands)
6. USN; 47.08,1; 11-1 Rourke Croeser (South Africa); 11-2 Travis Walker (South Africa)
7. Topeak Ergon; 47.10,1; 1-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic), 1-2 Alban Lakata (Austria)
8. RED-E Blend; 47.10,8; 36-1 Darren Lill (South Africa); 36-2 Waylon Woolcock (South Africa)
9. Topeak Ergon 2; 47.39,5; 8-1 Robert Mennen (Germany); 8-2 Jeremiah Bishop (USA)
10. Scott Factory Racing; 47.49,4; 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa); 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa)
1. RECM Specialized; 53.38,7; 50-1 Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland); 50-2 Annika Langvad (Denmark)
2. Ascendis Health 57.14,5 55-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 55-2 Robyn Lee de Groot (South Africa)
3. Meerendal Wheeler C’dale; 57.25,8; 54-1 Milena Landtwing (Switzerland) 54-2 Hielke Elferink (Netherlands)
4. Meerendal Wheeler; 58.24,0; 51-1 Esther Suss (Switzerland) 51-2 Alice Pirard (Belgium)
5. SasolRacing; 59.10,0; 56-1 Yolande de Villiers (South Africa) 56-2 Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)
6. Sellaronda Hero; 59.14,8; 52-1 Sally Bigham (England) 52-2 Christina Kollmann (Austria)
7. World Bicycle Relief; 1:00.17,7; 53-1 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja (Norway) 53-2 Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland)
8. Lovechock Specialized; 1:01.11,7; 57-1 Sanne van Paassen (Netherlands) 57-2 Jolien Janssen (Netherlands)
9. RBS; 1:01.14,6; 137-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 137-2 Jeannie Bomford (South Africa)
10. Novus OMX Pro; 1:01.36,4; 79-1 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 79-2 Cherie Vale (South Africa)