Cape Town - Christoph Sauser and Frantisek Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) have
won a sprint finish on Wednesday to take stage three of the Absa Cape
Epic as the yellow leaders' jersey changed hands for the fourth time in
On Thursday morning, German youngster Robert Mennen
and his Czech teammate Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon) will start in
yellow with a nine-and-a-half-minute buffer over Karl Platt and Urs
Four-time winner Platt, from Germany, began stage
three in the yellow top on Wednesday but suffered from a painful knee --
the consequence of crash on Tuesday's stage two -- and he and his Swiss
teammate Urs Huber could eventually not resist repeated attacks from
the other leading teams on the 134km stage from Robertson to Greyton.
They finished nearly 11 minutes back in sixth but are still second overall.
Sauser, also a four-time winner, and Czech Rabon are third overall
after winning the stage in 4:53:36.4. Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess
(Centurion-Vaude) finished a split-second behind Sauser and Rabon, but
their disastrous stage two -- when Kaufmann broke the frame of his bike
while they were wearing yellow -- meant the Germans are out of
contention for the overall win.
"Finally we had a good day at the Cape Epic! No problems at all," said Rabon.
"Now I can say I enjoyed a stage at the Epic. After all the bad luck and chasing the whole time, we could do some racing today."
said: "It feels almost the same as last year. Third day, and it comes
finally together for us. I am a positive guy but I never thought we
would be second overall after today.
"I thought the Bulls would
still be in the lead. When I saw Karl dropping out of the back of the
lead group, I went to the front and said to the guys we must go for it
Mennen and Hynek finished third in the sprint and their
steady performances over four days -- including a prologue -- in which
other top teams have all either battled with mechanical problems,
illness or crashes have given them what might be a telling lead.
was hungry for a victory today. That much was obvious. We just made
sure we stayed with the front teams because we had the overall lead in
mind," said Hynek. "We all worked well together and it was a long, but
Mennen added: "It's a long way to go until Lourensford
(where the Epic finishes on Sunday), but it has always been a goal of
mine to wear the yellow at the Cape Epic."
The team in yellow
after the prologue on Sunday, Spaniard Jose Hermida and Dutchman Rudi
van Houts (Multivan Merida), lost the jersey when the former suffered an
allergic reaction to something in his breakfast before Monday's stage
Asked if the yellow jersey was cursed in this year's Epic, Mennen said he was a "little bit afraid".
"I'm not sure if there's a little bit of bad luck, but hopefully we can keep it on our shoulders a bit longer."
three signalled the end to the hopes of two other top teams. German
Hannes Genze -- riding with Swiss Konny Looser (Meerendal Centurion
Wheeler) -- broke and badly gashed his forearm in a heavy crash midway
through the stage and could not continue.
South African Waylon
Woolcock did not get to the start after succumbing to illness overnight,
leaving partner Darren Lill (Cannondale Blend) to continue on his own
but out of the race.
Original women's favourites Swiss Ariane
Kleinhans and Dane Annike Langvad (RECM 2) won the category by
two-and-a-half minutes in 5:34:06.7, but will be disappointed in their
performance. They were hoping to make up more time on the overall
leaders but ended up riding on their own in windy, blustery conditions
and appeared to weaken towards the end.
They are now 11 minutes
behind leaders Esther Suss, also Swiss, and England's Sally Bigham
(Meerendal) in the race for overall honours. Kleinhans and Langvad were
plagued by punctures and technical problems on stage one and lost 24
South Africa's Theresa Ralph and her Swedish teammate
Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Company) remain third but are now 51
minutes behind the leaders.
Thursday stage four is an 88km loop starting and finishing in Greyton.
Results from Stage 3 of the Cape Epic:
1 Christoph Sauser and Frantisek Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) 4:53:34.7; 2 Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess 4:53:34.9; 3 Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon) 4:53:36.4.
1 Mennen and Kristian 14:56:41.8; 2 Karl Platt and Urs Huber (Bulls) 15:06:08.4; 3 Sauser and Rabon 15:06:23.0.
1 Ariane Kleinhans and Annike Langvad (RECM 2) 5:34:06.7; 2 Esther Suss and Sally Bigham (Meerendal) 5:36:37.7; 3 Milena Landtwing and Hielke Elferink (Meerendal Wheeler) 5:52:43.6.
1 Suss and Bigham 17:15:19.3; 2 Kleinhans and Langvad 17:26:41.8. 3 Jennie Stenerhag and Theresa Ralph (Cape Brewing Company) 18:06:42.4.