Haywood, Smith score in women’s division
By Fred Dreier
The Dolphin-Trek squad of Alban Lakata and Bart Brentjens took the fourth stage of the Absa Cape Epic, winning the 121km journey from Riversdale to Swellendam in 4:28:38. The duo finished 23 seconds ahead of MTN Energade and race leaders Cannondale-Vredestein.
Taking the women’s victory was the Trek-Volkswagen squad of Susan Haywood and Jenny Smith, which crossed the line, just one second ahead race leaders Alison Sydor and Pia Sundstedt (Rocky Mountain). Sydor and Sundstedt, who enjoy a substantial lead in the women’s competition, did not contest the finish line sprint, allowing the Trek-Volkswagen team to cross first. It was the second stage win for Trek-Volkswagen, which also won the March 28 prologue.
Dolphin-Trek came into the day in fifth place in the men’s GC, half an hour down on race leaders Cannondale-Vredestein. Brentjens, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist, and Lakata, a marathon specialist, attacked the lead group of elite riders 25 kilometers into the stage, on the final pitch of the day’s first climb. The pair gained 45 seconds on the descent, and moved away from a main field that seemed appeared content to let the two get away.
“We of course discuss every evening what we should do the next day, but you actually have to wait and see how you feel during the first couple of kilometers and whether your legs are strong enough,” Brentjens said. “The pace of this year’s Absa Cape Epic is very fast and attacking takes a lot of energy – not only to create the gap, but to maintain it. That is why you have to think carefully on whether you should actually do it.”
The two eventually gained a five-minute advantage. Jakob Fuglsang and Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein) chased alongside the MTN Energade team of David George and Kevin Evans to shut Dolphin’s gap down to 30 seconds by the stage finish.
The stage sent riders spinning across rolling hills through western South Africa’s dairy land, away from the arid desert riders spun through on stages 3 and 4. The day featured two major climbs, including a 15 percent ascent just 12km from the finish.
The day saw the abandonment of the women’s Dolphin-Trek squad of Fabienne Heinzmann and Katrin Schwing, who began the day in second on GC. Heinzmann, who finished second in 2007, crashed and injured her neck on the second stage, and called it quits after the pain did not subside.
The elimination of the Dolphin-Trek squad bumped the Trek-Volkswagen team into second place in the women’s division. The two rode alongside Sydor and Sundstedt for the entire stage. The Rocky Mountain duo even waited for the Trek squad near the end of the stage when Smith suffered a mechanical.
“They gave the stage win to us, which was such a classy thing to do and a huge compliment,” Smith said. “It was a true sign of their strength and confidence that they did this.”
Absa Cape Epic Stage 4
1. Dolphin-Trek (Bart Brentjens, Alban Lakata), 4:28:38
2. MTN Energade 1 (Kevin Evans, David George), 4:29:00
3. Cannondale-Vredestein (Roel Paulissen, Jakob Fuglsang), 4:29:01
4. Full Dynamix (Fredrik Kessiakoff, Massimo Debertolis), 4:29:58
5. Bulls (Stefan Sahm, Karl Platt), 4:31:33
1. Trek-Volkswagen (Susan Haywood, Jennifer Smith), 5:26:35
2. Rocky Mountain (Pia Sundstedt, Alison Sydor), 5:26:36
3. Scott Contessa (Jane Seggie, Ischen Stopforth), 5:51:08
4. Absa Ladies (Erica Green, Hanlie Booyens), 6:06:54
5. Dolphin-Trek (Fabienne Heinzmann, Katrin Schwing), 6:20:55
1. Dolphin – Bart Brentjens (NED) & Alban Lakata (AUT) – 4:28:38
2. MTN Energade (1) – Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA) – 4:29:00
3. Cannondale Vredestein – Roel Paulissen (BEL) & Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – 4:29:01
4. Full–Dynamix Rsm – Fredrik Kessiakoff (SUI) & Massimo Debertolis (ITA) – 4:29:58
5. Bulls – Karl Platt (GER) & Stefan Sahm (GER) – 4:31:33
1. Trek/Vw Wsd – Susan Haywood (USA) & Jennifer Smith (NZL) – 5:26:35.8
2. Rocky Mountain – Pia Sundstedt (FIN) & Alison Sydor (CAN) – 5:26:36.4
3. Scott Contessa – Jane Seggie (RSA) & Ischen Stopforth (RSA) – 5:51:08
4. Absa Ladies – Erica Green (RSA) & Hanlie Booyens (RSA) – 6:06:54
5. Dolphin-Trek Mtb Racing – Fabienne Heinzmann (SUI) & Katrin Schwing (GER) – 6:20:55
1. Adidas William Simpson – Shan Wilson (RSA) & Walter Platzgummer (ITA) – 5:07:26
2. Absa Masters – Doug Brown (RSA) & Barti Bucher (SUI) – 5:09:51
3. Pragma Masters – M.C. Franken (RSA) & Peter Buggle (IRE) – 5:16:37
4. Jeff Art Signs / Giant – Bryan Strauss (RSA) & Andre Viljoen (RSA) – 5:22:35
5. Oracla – Claudio Pellegrini (ITA) & Orazio Cacaccio (ITA) – 5:29:38
1. Joybike Guided by Vmt and Maloja – Ivonne Kraft (GER) & Nico Pfitzenmaier (GER) – 5:31:43
2. Cyclelab Toyota – Johan Labuschagne (RSA) & Yolande de Villiers (RSA) – 5:36:20
3. Absa Mixed – Kobus Barnard (RSA) & Fienie Barnard (RSA) – 5:38:33
4. X.O Felt Swiss – Adrian Burri (SUI) & Franziska Roethlin (SUI) – 6:01:26
5. Unicef Austria (1) – Anita Waiss (AUT) & Andreas Muhlbacher (AUT) – 6:03:26
1. Cannondale Vredestein – Roel Paulissen (BEL) & Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – 19:12:51
2. Bulls – Karl Platt (GER) & Stefan Sahm (GER) – 19:31:10
3. Alb-Gold Mountainbike – Hannes Genze (GER) & Jochen Kaess (GER) – 19:31:47
4. MTN Energade (1) – Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA) – 19:38:19
5. Dolphin – Bart Brentjens (NED) & Alban Lakata (AUT) – 19:39:53
6. Full–Dynamix Rsm – Fredrik Kessiakoff (SUI) & Massimo Debertolis (ITA) – 19:45:15
7. Usn – Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Max Knox (RSA) – 20:12:11
8. MTN Energade (2) – Mannie Heymans (NAM) & Melt Swanepoel (RSA) – 20:16:37
9. Etto Hoydahl (3) – Martin Bratland (NOR) & Kristian Torgersen (NOR) – 20:45:46
10. Etto Hoydahl (2) Rune Hoydahl (NOR) & Ola Kjoren (NOR) – 20:51:49
1. Rocky Mountain – Pia Sundstedt (FIN) & Alison Sydor (CAN) – 22:58:06
2. Trek/Vw Wsd – Susan Haywood (USA) & Jennifer Smith (NZL) – 23:56:15
3. Dolphin-Trek Mtb Racing – Fabienne Heinzmann (SUI) & Katrin Schwing (GER) – 24:50:06
4. Absa Ladies – Erica Green (RSA) & Hanlie Booyens (RSA) – 24:52:04
5. Scott Contessa – Jane Seggie (RSA) & Ischen Stopforth (RSA) – 25:03:42