Cape Town - A thrilling sprint finish to the fourth day of the TransCape MTB Encounter saw South Africans
HB Kruger and Stuart Marais narrowly edge out Norwegian rivals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd for stage honours.
At the end of the 106km leg from Riversdale to Swellendam just two seconds separated the leading teams
in a desperate dash for the line, which saw the ASG-Ellsworth outfit take their fourth stage victory.
Engelsgjerd, riding for Team Happysalmon, was in fact the first rider home in 4:09:58, but was followed
across the line a second later by Kruger and Marais.
team-mate, Eirik Fiskvik, was a further two seconds off the pace, giving the European outfit a time of 4:10:01.
Kruger and Marais maintained their overall lead, stretching it to 11 minutes after Antonin Marecaille
and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) fell off the pace slightly to come home third, seven minutes behind the front-runners.
outcome means the Norwegians have moved into second place in the general
classification, overtaking the French-German combination of Marecaille
Fiskvik, who said racing the TransCape was a dream come true, acknowledged that the South Africans remained
the strong favourites to win the race.
to get away from us at about the 70km mark where there was an uphill," he said.
"But then, with
about 10km to go, they were having technical problems due to the muddy conditions and we caught up with them.
them to the finish and the aim was to try to beat them in the final
sprint. Thomas crossed the line first, but unfortunately I just fell off
a bit and they were able to get in-between us."
The Norwegian added that they were delighted to move into second spot in the general classification, but
admitted they would have a tough time making up the gap on Kruger and Marais.
"They are definitely
the strongest team, but we are very happy with being second overall at this stage," he said.
"This is a long
race so we just want to keep things as stable as possible. We now have second place and it’s impossible to say
what will happen."
He added that they would strive to avoid any risks in the remaining three stages.
will go out
to do as best we can and see what happens. Legs can get tired and one of
you can have a bad day, so you never know how things will turn out."
Coming from a European winter, Fiskvik said they were happy with their conditioning.
had not raced since October, we are feeling good for the rest of the race."
In the mixed category, Britain's
Catherine Williamson and Kristof de Neys of Belgium continued to set the
pace. The LawPack outfit came home in 4:49:06, increasing their
commanding lead in the overall standings.
The fourth edition of the 614km race finishes at La Couronne Wine
Estate in Franschhoek on Saturday.
99km leg, known as the Rivers Stage, will take cyclists from Swellendam
to Greyton, with much of the riding being done alongside the Breede and
Results- Stage four
UCI Elite men
1 HB Kruger, Stuart Marais (ASG-Ellsworth) 4:09:59
2 Eirik Fiskvik, Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon) 4:10:01
3 Antonin Marecaille, Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) 4:17:47
4 Hanco Kachelhoffer, Pieter
Usher, Yuki Ikeda (Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack) 4:57:50
UCI Elite women
Muller and Mari du Toit (Oakley4) 5:45:49
1 Arthur McDuling, Fanie Venter (Business Print Oldies) 4:39:55
Fourie, Francois Ebersohn (Linde & Viljoen Melkmanne) 4:49:06
Aymes, Waz Squires (NUK Orthodontic) 4:50:27
Poole, Eben Espach (PEG) 4:53:34
van der Linde & Albertus Jooste (Lebombo Bananas) 5:10:52
Treherne, Vivienne Turvey (Team T and T) 6:03:03
Williamson, Kristof de Neys (LawPack) 4:49:06
Weir, Nicolle Weir (Weirdos) 5:55:56
Terblanche, Hildegarde Cronje (VictoryHill) 5:58:36
Albertyn, Catherine Albertyn (BigD & The Hammer) 6:21:48
Geldenhuis, Wolf Stinnes (Woolies Trance) 6:23:40
1 Udo Mueller 4:39:56
2 Conway Oliver 4:47:43
5 Roland Mueller 4:52:56
1 Jeanie de Villiers 5:24:46
2 Aryna Edwards 5:46:56
3 Jessica Knight 6:43:24
4 Nicola Harris 7:04:48
General classification UCI Elite men
1 HB Kruger, Stuart Marais (ASG Ellsworth) 13:57:48
2 Eirik Fiskvik, Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon) 14:08:21
3 Antonin Marecaille, Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) 14:14:37
4 Hanco Kachelhoffer, Pieter
Usher and Yuki Ikeda (Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack) 15:36:14
UCI Elite women
Muller and Mari du Toit (Oakley4) 19:09:58
1 Arthur McDuling, Fanie Venter (Business Print Oldies) 15:28:14
Fourie, Francois Ebersohn (Linde & Viljoen Melkmanne) 15:42:09
Poole, Eben Espach (PEG) 15:48:09
Aymes, Waz Squires (NUK Orthodontic) 16:05:43
5 Richard de Villiers, Holden Marshall
(Team STF) 17:04:53
Treherne, Vivienne Turvey (Team T and T) 20:16:30
Williamson, Kristof de Neys (LawPack) 15:53:53
Geldenhuis, Wolf Stinnes (Woolies Trance) 19:40:32
Weir, Nicolle Weir (Weirdos) 20:00:29
Terblanche, Hildegarde Cronje (VictoryHill) 20:28:39
Albertyn, Catherine Albertyn (BigD & The Hammer) 21:29:22
3 Conway Oliver 15:29:58
4 Massimo Mancini 15:37:44
5 Ryan Loots 16:07:51
1 Jeanie de Villiers 18:03:10
2 Aryna Edwards 20:33:14
3 Wilna Marais 21:59:19
4 Jessica Knight 22:54:54
5 Nicola Harris 24:47:35