The Absa Cape Epic stage race wrapped up Saturday with the Bulls team — comprising the German riders Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm — capturing the final stage while the overall title goes to the Cannondale Vredestein duo of Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang and Belgium’s Roel Paulissen.
With a nine-minute time advantage built up of over the last couple of stages, the Cannondale Vredestein team solidified their position by finishing in the lead bunch. The Bulls team secured second place overall.
The final stage was relatively short by Cape Epic standards — it was less than half the length of the race’s longest stage — but stage 8 was among the hilliest.
Paulissen said that with a nearly 10-minute lead going into the final stage, his team was prepared to ride at a relaxed pace. However Brandon Stewart of the USN/Adidas team attached in the first 20 kilometers.
“Once he shot off to attack, our race instincts kicked in and we immediately stayed with him,” Paulissen said.
The five leading teams stayed together for most of the day, but the USN/Adidas team was unable to contest the sprint when Steward jammed his chain one kilometer from the finish.
“After that I was out of the sprint and I am really sad about it. We felt so good today that I believe we could have stepped on the podium in the last stage,” Steward said.
Alison Sydor and Pia Sundstedt win the women’s category
The Rocky Mountain team of Finland’s Pia Sundstedt and Canada’s Alison Sydor won their sixth stage Saturday and wrapped up their overall win. The two hugged as they crossed the finish timing mat, but their handlebars tangled and they crashed, briefly interrupting their celebration.
“I can truly say that the Absa Cape Epic is the toughest sporting event I’ve ever done in my life,” Sydor said after the race. “Everything about this race is extraordinary — the scenery, the organization, the people. It is long ride, but it is a great ride and I can’t imagine a more fantastic way to explore this beautiful country,” she said.
Second on the stage and overall was the Trek VW team of American Susan Haywood and New Zealand’s Jennifer Smith.
Out of 1198 riders who started the race nine days earlier, 968 finished. After 966km, 435 teams finished together, while 98 riders finished without teammates.
Men’s stage 8 results:
1. Bulls – Karl Platt (GER) & Stefan Sahm (GER), 2:42:21
2. Alb-Gold Mountainbike – Hannes Genze (GER) & Jochen Kaess (GER), 2:42:25
3. Cannondale Vredestein – Roel Paulissen (BEL) & Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), 2:42:26
4. MTN Energade (1) – Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA), 2:42:29
5. USN/adidas – Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Max Knox (RSA), 2:43:18
Men’s GC, final:
1. Cannondale Vredestein – Roel Paulissen (BEL) & Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), 36:01:45
2. Bulls – Karl Platt (GER) & Stefan Sahm (GER), 36:10:49
3. MTN Energade (1) – Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA), 36:18:34
4. Alb-Gold Mountainbike – Hannes Genze (GER) & Jochen Kaess (GER), 36:28:35
5. Full-Dynamix Rsm – Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) & Massimo Debertolis (ITA), 36:53:01
6. Dolphin-Trek – Bart Brentjens (NED) & Alban Lakata (AUT), 37:02:11
7. USN/adidas – Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Max Knox (RSA), 37:13:45
8. Etto Hoydahl (3) – Martin Bratland (NOR) & Kristian Torgersen (NOR), 38:31:53
9. Etto Hoydahl (2) – Rune Hoydahl (NOR) & Ola Kjoren (NOR), 38:49:37
10. MTN Energade (2) – Mannie Heymans (NAM) & Melt Swanepoel (RSA), 39:14:01
Women’s stage 8 results:
1. Rocky Mountain – Pia Sundstedt (FIN) & Alison Sydor (CAN), 3:23:45
2. Trek/VW Wsd – Susan Haywood (USA) & Jennifer Smith (NZL), 3:28:16
3. Absa Ladies – Erica Green (RSA) & Hanlie Booyens (RSA), 3:35:53
Women’s GC, final:
1. Rocky Mountain – Pia Sundstedt (FIN) & Alison Sydor (CAN), 43:05:51
2. Trek/VW Wsd – Susan Haywood (USA) & Jennifer Smith (NZL), 44:41:33
3. Scott Contessa – Jane Seggie (RSA) & Ischen Stopforth (RSA), 48:08:03