Cape Town - Switzerland's Christoph Sauser is 87km away from
becoming the first person to win the Absa Cape Epic five times after he and
partner Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic won Stage 6 in a sprint finish
into Wellington on Saturday.
For the first time in the seven days of the event Mother
Nature chose to smile on the weary competitors - some rain early in the day
dampened down the excessively dusty conditions of the past few days and added
some grip to the many trails which littered Stage 6's 71km day.
Earlier in the week riders had been confronted by rain and
mud, excessive heat, headwinds and an excess of dust after an exceptionally dry
But on Saturday Sauser and Kulhavy
(Investec-Songo-Specialized) tore through the course with only one team -
Topeak Ergon's Kristian Hynek and Alban Lakata - able to stay with them.
The day ended with a thrilling sprint but Hynek misjudged
his line through a corner just before the finish and the Sauser/Kulhavy
combination pipped them for their fifth stage win out of six.
The win was Sauser's 36th stage win in the Absa Cape Epic
since his first race in 2005. He said afterwards that "it was a very
exciting finish and today we didn't have to eat dust (thanks to the
He said the early part of the course had been tough but they
had enjoyed the nearly 30km of "lovely singletrack".
Czech Hynek and Austrian Lakata remain second overall, but
are ten minutes and 51 seconds back, a gap that they will not make up unless
Sauser and Kulhavy have a calamitous final stage on Sunday.
Early in the day South Africans Philip Buys and Matthys
Beukes (Scott Factory Racing) had tried to replicate their heroics of Stage 4
but could not get away from the two leading teams.
They did, however, finish third to ensure that a South
African team was on the podium for the third day in succession. In doing so
they also snatched back the Absa African special jersey - making it the fourth
day in a row the red jersey has changed hands.
It was a good day for South African teams, with five in the
top 10 finishers, but disastrous for two of the top teams: the Bulls's Karl
Platt (German) and Urs Huber (Swiss) came home more than 13 minutes back and
Multivan Merida's Jose Hermida (Spain) and Rudi van Houts (Netherlands) were
nearly 22 minutes off the pace.
They remain in third and fourth place respectively. Huber
was off colour and had no power in his legs and Hermida has apparently been
battling with a stomach bug.