After the rains and mud of Robertson on Stage 2, climbing back on the bike today was tender. Mechanics were up all night repairing bikes,
It was the longest day today at 134km, but without lots of climbing – a paltry 1800m. A day like this is a transition day, one enjoyed by the roadies and rouleurs. It would have been a good day for Jeff and I on good legs! But as I’m still weak from yesterday, it came down to a day for more heroics from Jeff, pushing and pulling until my legs arrived a bit in the last 40k, and they could take over themselves.
If yesterday was a day of rain and then mud, today was a day of wind! Lots of it. It reminded me of Stage 4 in 2012, riding with Mike when his knee was knackered. The route followed district dirt roads to the next town, and then the next…
It was very remote stage in general. Through a private game reserve at one point, then a river crossing later on, with a rope and a guy in a wetsuit, to help rides across. The water up to mid thigh – and that was for me! Poor little Jeff was quite a lot deeper in, being hung closer to the ground. Not known for single track, the course then entertained us with fun sandy single track, delivering us to Greyton, a pretty old wine town.
It’s a shorter day tomorrow, ‘only’ 88k. Hopefully with another night of rest I can have something in the legs for the big one on Friday.
The Front of the Race
Christoph Sauser and František Raboň of Meerendal Songo Specialized took first place in a three-team sprint finish in the Men’s category of Stage 3 of the Absa Cape Epic. They finished in an impressive time of 4:53.34,7 and were closely followed by Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess (Centurion-Vaude) in 4:53.34,9. In third place were Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon Racing) in 4:53.36,4.
Team Topeak-Ergon Racing’s Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek now lead this category by 9 minutes 27 seconds (overall 14:56.41,8). Sauser and Raboň (Meerendal Songo Specialized) have managed to move up from sixth to third place overall in 15:06.23,0. The Bulls team of Karl Platt and Urs Huber are in second place overall in 15:06.08,4 with the Bulls 2 team of Tim Boehme and Simon Stiebjahn in fourth place overall (15:09.08,6).
Swiss/Danish duo Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad (RECM 2) won today’s stage for the second day in a row in a time of 5:34.06,7 (ranking second overall in the Women’s category 17:26.41,8). They were followed by the Meerendal team, Esther Süss and Sally Bigham in 5:36.37,7, who still lead the category overall (17:15.19,3). In third place were Milena Landtwing and Hielke Elferink of Meerendal Wheeler in 5:52.43,6 (fourth overall 18:37,50,3). Suss and Bigham still lead this category by 11 minutes and 22,5 seconds.