Cape Town - Employing a strategy to attack early in the stage, HB Kruger and Stuart Marais rolled on to another win
on the sixth day of the TransCape MTB Encounter on Friday.
After studying the profile of the 74km route from Greyton to Houwhoek, the ASG-Ellsworth outfit struck
about 8km into the stage, attacking on the first single-track climb up Bakenskop.
With their plan reaping dividends, they were able to consolidate their overall lead after Thursday's
leg from Swellendam to Greyton was neutralised following confusion over the route.
Crossing the line today in 2:44:31, the Paarl-based Kruger and Marais, from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal, head
the general classification with a time of 16:42:20.
Going into Saturday's
final stage, the South Africans enjoy a buffer of almost 22 minutes over
Norwegian professionals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team
Happysalmon), who were second across the line on Friday, 11 minutes behind
Third place on the podium today went to Japan's
Yuki Ikeda and South African partner Grant Usher, riding for Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack.
However, the French-German team of Antonin Marecaille and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) remain
Kruger said they were delighted with another stage win, especially as their plan to open a gap proved
"We decided our
strategy would be to test our rivals early on and we hammered it up the first climb," he said.
"We knew it was
a steep and rocky climb, which is quite technical and gives you a chance to put up a bit of a gap.
"After that we
just rolled through the rest of the stage steadily and the gap grew quite significantly," he said
"So we were happy
with that and our plan to consolidate our position in the general classification."
With a sizeable lead, Kruger said their focus tomorrow would be to avoid any final-day mishaps.
"We will take
it steadily, try to make sure we do not get any mechanicals and keep the bikes in one piece all the way to the finish line," he said.
win would be nice, but our main goal is to keep the GC and make sure we win the race."
He added that the neutralisation of yesterday’s
stage had made it a bit easier to push hard on Friday.
are feeling strong still and obviously yesterday was a bit easier and helped with the recovery," said Kruger.
"I must admit
we still did 110km and spent about five hours in the saddle, but as we were not racing it did help to save the legs a bit."
In the well-contested men's
solo category, German rider Udo Mueller won his fifth stage in a row to
maintain his place at the top of the overall standings.
today in 2:56:52 for an overall time of 18:04:49.
He is followed in the general classification by Roland Mueller and Conway Oliver.
British rider Catherine Williamson is set to claim a second consecutive mixed category title after she
and Belgian partner Kristof de Neys (LawPack) finished today’s stage in 3:15:06.
Their overall time is 19:08:59 and only a major mishap on the final day can prevent them from winning
The fourth edition of the 614km race finishes at La Couronne Wine
Estate in Franschhoek on Saturday.
The final stage from Houwhoek covers 73km with 1 850m of vertical ascent.
Results - Stage six:
UCI Elite men
1 HB Kruger, Stuart Marais (ASG-Ellsworth) 2:44:31
2 Eirik Fiskvik, Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon) 2:55:52
Usher, Yuki Ikeda (Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack) 3:00:51
4 Hanco Kachelhoffer, Pieter Seyffert (Ellsworth-ASG) 3:00:58
5 Antonin Marecaille, Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) 3:36:04
UCI Elite women
Muller and Mari du Toit (Oakley4) 3:53:53
1 Arthur McDuling, Fanie Venter (Business Print Oldies) 3:07:35
Fourie, Francois Ebersohn (Linde & Viljoen Melkmanne) 3:08:45
Poole, Eben Espach (PEG) 3:08:48
Johnston, Cameron MacNair (STANLIB Wellness) 2:23:16
5 Richard de Villiers, Holden Marshall(Team STF) 3:29:18
Treherne, Vivienne Turvey (Team T and T) 4:27:35
Williamson, Kristof de Neys (LawPack) 3:15:06
Weir, Nicolle Weir (Weirdos) 4:04:19
Terblanche, Hildegarde Cronje (VictoryHill) 4:38:16
Albertyn, Catherine Albertyn (BigD & The Hammer) 4:42:35
Geldenhuis, Wolf Stinnes (Woolies Trance) 4:49:41
1 Udo Mueller 2:56:52
2 Roland Mueller 3:00:23
4 Roque Fernandez 3:15:06
1 Jeanie de Villiers 3:47:21
2 Aryna Edwards 4:16:07
3 Jessica Knight 4:36:06
General classification UCI Elite men
1 HB Kruger, Stuart Marais (ASG Ellsworth) 16:42:20
2 Eirik Fiskvik, Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon) 17:04:13
3 Antonin Marecaille, Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) 17:50:41
4 Hanco Kachelhoffer, Pieter Seyffert (Ellsworth-ASG) 18:03:47
Usher and Yuki Ikeda (Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack) 18:37:05
UCI Elite women
Muller and Mari du Toit (Oakley4) 23:03:51
1 Arthur McDuling, Fanie Venter (Business Print Oldies) 18:35:49
Fourie, Francois Ebersohn (Linde & Viljoen Melkmanne) 18:50:55
Poole, Eben Espach (PEG) 18:56:57
Aymes, Waz Squires (NUK Orthodontic) 20:17:46
5 Richard de Villiers, Holden Marshall
(Team STF) 20:34:11
Treherne, Vivienne Turvey (Team T and T) 24:44:05
Williamson, Kristof de Neys (LawPack) 19:08:59
Weir, Nicolle Weir (Weirdos) 24:04:48
Geldenhuis, Wolf Stinnes (Woolies Trance) 24:30:13
Terblanche, Hildegarde Cronje (VictoryHill) 25:06:55
Albertyn, Catherine Albertyn (BigD & The Hammer) 26:11:57
3 Conway Oliver 18:49:31
4 Massimo Mancini 18:51:30
5 Jose Frazao 19:32:55
1 Jeanie de Villiers 21:50:31
2 Aryna Edwards 24:49:21
3 Wilna Marais 27:01:00