1. Home » MTB » Stander First South African to Win Cape Epic

Stander First South African to Win Cape Epic

Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander of team 36One Songo-Specialized celebrate the overall win. Photo by Karin Schermbrucker/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS


The 2011 Absa Cape Epic saw 1,206 participants starting and 1,064 riders finishing on Sunday. And of the 90 percent who finished, a South African was for the first time a part of the winning two-person team.

17. Men: Jason Sager, Benjamin Sonntag
34. Men: Chuck Gibson, Gregory Gibson
6/43. Masters: Alec Petro, Kevin Hines
8/171. Women: Selene Yeager, Cheryl Sornson
132/214. Men: Alberto Santiago, Marcos Rosado
79/266. Masters: Henry Fagan, South Africa; Mike Vomund USA
21/287. Mixed: Phil Kelly, Gina Virzi-kelly
175/295. Men: Nelson Snyder, Brien Crothers
15/306. Women: Anka Martin USA, Tracy Moseley, England
123/423. Masters: Andy Ording, Todd Winget
Individual Finishers (Lost Teammate)
* Thomas Dooley
*Harlan Blake
*John Loehner
* William Prentice
* Carl Brooks

The 36ONE Songo Specialized team of South African Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of Switzerlan walked away with top honors as overall winners. With a 10 minute 51 second lead time at the start the final stage, Stander and Sauser finished the 707km Cape Epic in an overall time of 28:44.44.

“To be the first South African to win this race is on par to winning the World Championships,” Stander, the 2008 U23 world XC champ, said. “The Absa Cape Epic takes more work because for eight days you have to be perfect instead of only one day.”

Sauser, the 2007 Marathon world champ and XC champion in 2008, also ranked the win high on his list.

“This race is definitely up there with the world championships,” he said. “I can’t describe the feeling of winning in words, but I know the exhaustion will hit us tomorrow.”

In second place in an overall time of 28:51.52 were the German team of Hannes Genze and Jochen Käss (Multivan Merida Biking), with the Bulls, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, in third place overall in 29:05.53. Platt and Sahm won the Absa Cape Epic in 2007, 2009 and 2010, and Platt won in the inaugural year (2004) with Mannie Heymans. Platt is the most successful participant in the history of the race having won four times with eleven stage wins.

Men’s Category

Lukas and Mathias Fluckiger celebrate the stage win during the final stage (stage 7 ) of the 2011 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Ron Gaunt/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Lukas and Mathias Flückiger of the Trek World Racing team won the final stage on Sunday in 2:33.18 with Genze and Käss (Multivan Merida Biking) in second place (2:35.37). They were followed by José Hermida and Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida Biking 3) in 2:39.06. Stander and Sauser took a slower pace once they reached the final  200 metres in order to enjoy the welcome of the crowds, finishing in fifth place in 2:39.19.
Lukas Flückiger he was completely exhausted on Saturday’s stage, “but luckily I recovered well” to wein the finale.

“The Absa Cape Epic is amazing and I’m very happy that it’s over,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling to win this stage.”
Karl Platt of the 2010 winning Bulls team finished in third place overall with his teammate Stefan Sahm.

“Sometimes if you know that you can ride faster and your team partner doesn’t have the legs, you need to fight your own mind,” Platt said. “You can’t change it and Stefan also had to accept it. It was a huge learning curve for me – not to get angry and to stay relaxed.

“Our partnership was tested and we made it – through the good times and bad. It’s a tough life lesson, but it stays with you forever. Our friendship is more important than a victory.”

African Leader Jersey

Mannie Heymans and Adrien Niyonshuti (team Garmin adidas MTN) won the African Jersey in an overall time of 30:29.36,5, followed by Brandon Stewart and Shan Wilson (Toyota DCM) in 31:33.52,7. Paul Cordes and Charles Keey (MTN/Qhubeka) finished in third position in 32:01.11,9. Heymans and Niyonshuti finished in 9th position overall.

Women’s Category

Sally Bigham and Karien Van Jaarsveld (team USN) finished in third place Sunday (3:30.37,5) and are the overall winners of the Ladies category in 37:44.09.0. In second place overall are Eva Lechner and Nathalie Schneitter (team Colnago Arreghini Südtirol) in a time of 39:18.02,7. They also won the final stage of this year’s Absa Cape Epic in 3:29.04,7. In third place overall was the Absa aBreast team of Hanlie Booyens and Ischen Stopforth in 39:24.09,6.

“This is my first Absa Cape Epic and winning it is so special,” van Jaarsveld said.

Her UK teammate Bigham said the final stage was about staying safe to win the overall.

“We didn’t want to take risks at all. I’m really happy with the win and enjoyed it a thousand times more than racing in the Mixed,” Bigham said. “The Ladies category is definitely the way to go for me. We supported each other and made an excellent team. In this race your relationship with partner is so important. This was so special – words can’t describe it.”

Nathalie Schneitter said she and Eva Lechner wanted to win the final stage, “as we reckoned it’s the best one to win.”

All in all we won six of the eight stages, so I think we’ve proved that we’re the fastest in this category,” Schneitter said.

Master’s Category

The Juwi team (Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts) secured their seventh stage win Sunday in 2:58.10,2 and won the Masters category in 31:31.26,1. They were followed by Robert Sim and Doug Brown of the Robert Daniel team in 3:00.20,9 (2nd overall Masters, 32:30.16,7), with the Toyota Cyclelab team of Gary Marescia and Bruce Diesel in third place in 3:05.26,2 and fourth overall  33:58.02,2. In third place overall (Masters) were Adrian Enthoven and Gerrie Beukes (team Nandos) in 33:32.34,5.

Mixed Category

Mentioning yesterday it would be the best wedding present ever, Erik Kleinhans and Ariane Lüthi (of Contego Giant Sludge) finally had their first stage win by finishing first in the Mixed category in 3:04.42,2 and second overall in 34:52.27,7. The Wheeler – BIXS team, Bärti Bucher and Esther Sϋss, having won 7 stages of this year’s event, finished in second place in 3:05.41,1 and first overall in 33:53.12,5. In third place overall were Ivonne Kraft and Peter Vesel (Raedisch Race) with a time of 37:04.39,7. They finished fourth place today (3:11.28,5).
” I’m glad to be done,” said Esther Süss. “It’s the hardest Absa Cape Epic ever. I’ll be back next year to win the final stage.”

Related Articles