The Swiss pairing of Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) once again left no doubt that they have the strongest legs at the Absa Cape Epic when they picked up their third win in three days on Tuesday.
After their tactical masterclass in Monday’s long Stage 1, the Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing pairing used raw power to generate the decisive stage-winning break on the 90km ride from Hermanus to Oak Valley on Tuesday.
Schurter and Forster launched a brutal attack up a steep climb 10km from the finish on Stage 2 and then powered away to a 30-second lead over the KROSS-SPUR team of Sergio Guiterrez and Ondřej Cink with Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) a second further back.
Schurter and Forster now hold a four minute and four second lead over the Cannondale pair with Trek Selle San Marco’s Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro moving up to third, eight minutes behind the leaders.
The big losers of the day were former World Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy and Commonwealth Champion Sam Gaze (Investec-songo-Specialized). After starting the day in third position, Gaze felt the after-effects of his big crash on Stage 1 and they finished nearly 30 minutes off the pace to slide down to 19th overall.
In the Women’s category Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) won the stage and extended their lead by another two minutes, despite their plans to use the day as a recovery ride.
They are now just under eight minutes clear of Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) with Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin) a distant 18 minutes behind the leaders.
In other racing categories, the only change to the leaders was in the fiercely competitive Exxaro Jersey race where Exxaro Pepto Sport’s Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana became the third jersey-wearers in three days. They won the stage by nearly six minutes to move four minutes ahead of Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree).
The husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR Werner) added another 12 minutes to their lead in the Virgin Active Mixed category, although the MMR Mixed team of former road riding world champion Oscar Freire Gomez and his partner Natalia Fischer Egusquiza moved up to third overall by finishing the stage in second place. Team Miller Paneling (David Miller and Shayna Poweless) slipped down to third after they finished the stage third.
Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) won the stage in the Absa African Women’s Special Jersey race but overall are still 38 minutes behind Sam Sanders and Amy Mcdougall (dormakaba Ladies). In the equivalent Absa African Men’s Special Jersey race, Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (SpecializedFoundationNAD) finished seventh overall for the day and now lie sixth overall on GC, leading the race for red by 17 minutes over Imbuko Giant’s Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens.
Spanish joker Jose Hermida and his compatriot Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) extended their lead in the Dimension Data Masters category and now lead Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii (IBS Capital Allies) by 16 minutes, while Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens (CST Sandd Bafang) did the same in the Grand Masters and are almost 20 minutes clear of Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal).
Tomorrow’s Stage 3 is a 107km out-and-back loop from Oak Valley and takes in the famed Groenlandberg climb and its treacherous descent.