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After a hard-fought stage 3 victory, Sauser and Stander maintain their lead in the Absa Cape Epic

Written by: The Editors

The 73km third stage of the Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas took riders from Villiersdorp to Greyton, with 1,976 meters of climbing.

The Songo.info team of South African Burry Stander and Swiss rider Christoph Sauser continued their winning streak by again taking top honors.

Team Songo.info was closely followed by the Swiss Flickiger brothers, Lukas and Mathias (Trek World Cup Team), who managed to move up two positions from 11th to ninth. Bart Brentjens and Chris Jongewaard (Trek-Brentjens) finished in third, closely followed by the Bulls, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm.

2009 Absa Cape Epic
Standings after stage 3

Overall Men’s Team Top 3:
1. songo.info: Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) and Burry Stander (South Africa) in total time of 12:36:45
2. Bulls: Karl Platt (Germany) and Stefan Sahm (Germany) in 12:53:27.
3. Trek-Brentjens: Bart Brenthens (Netherlands) and Chris Jongewaard (Australia) in 12:57:57.
Overall Women’s Team Top 3:
1. Absa Ladies: Sharon Laws (England) and Hanlie Booyens (South Africao) in 17:21:44.
2. WSP – Jeep Girls: Robyn Adendorff (South Africa) and Sarah Van Heedren (South Africa) in 20:12:22.
3. TREAD Magazine Ladies: Nolene Saunders (South Africa) and Sarah Wielopolska (South Africa) in 20:38:21.
Top Mixed Team overall:
1. Adidas Big Tree: Nico Pfitzenmaier (South Africa) and Alison Sydor (Canada) in 14:38:09.
Top American (Any category, overall):
Tinker Juarez, teamed with South Africa’s Johnny Kritzinger, is in 16th overall and 15th among the men, in 14:32:09.

Said Mathias Flickiger: “The Absa Cape Epic didn’t start so well for us; we had a bit of bad luck the first couple of days, especially with punctured tires. We had one again today, just after we broke away from the rest of the riders — a ripped tire, which took longer to repair and cost us a bit of time. It took a lot of our energy to catch up again and we were really riding at our limit on the first big climb. The following flat section gave us the opportunity to recover a bit and we could keep up with the three leading teams — the Bulls, Trek-Brentjens and Songo.info.”

Brentjens and his teammate Chris Jongewaard took a wrong turn early on in the race after they had built up a lead of about 1 minute. “We were blinded by the sun and missed the route markers. Luckily we were saved by the TV helicopter crew; they indicated from the air that we had taken a wrong turn and needed to turn back,” Brentjens said.

According to Stander, stage 3’s shorter route was harder than stage 2’s longer route.

“The very first climb today was already hard for me. There was a lot of loose gravel and we had to walk in quite a few places along the route. These hiking sections with your bike on your back were always followed by very fast descents and you really had to stay focused. I found it exhausting, as you need energy to control your bike. We also had another flat and then needed to catch up with the leaders again.”

Booyens and Laws continue their streak

Hanlie Booyens and Sharon Laws finished in first place for the fourth day in a row and remain in the overall lead.

Nico Pfitzenmaier and Alison Sydor (Adidas Big Tree) again won the mixed for the fourth day in a row. Pfitzenmaier and Sydor have moved from 14th to 17th place overall and are leading their category by 39 minutes and 12 seconds.

American Tom Ritchey and teammate Rafiki Uwimana are in 112th place overall with a total time of 18:42.

Up Next:

Stage 4’s begins on the open roads with a steady climb followed by a tricky section on fast rocky tracks, testing the reactions early in the morning. After crossing the causeway, a winding trip up and over the hills along farm roads and jeep tracks will take the field back towards Greyton. The last 15km sees a few more sections that test the riders’ technical skills on the climbs as well as the descents. Most of the terrain makes for good riding but with some 20 percent slopes, the heart may be willing but the legs will scream blue murder. A small reward comes at the end though: some singletrack then a walk across the riverbed just outside town.

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