Stage 3 of the Cape Epic saw lightning fast racing in the elite fields on Wednesday.
South African duo Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss (Faces Rola) saw their first stage win on Wednesday, bumping them into second place overall. The Faces Rola team completed the 101k stage in 4:50:35. Americans Haley Batten and Sofia Gomez Villafañe were with them at the finish line, 2,9 seconds behind in a sprint. Another South African team, Private Client Holdings, finished third on the day.
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Hayley Preen and Mari Rabie (Private Client Holdings) set the tempo early in the race and at one point built a two minute gap over their competitors. Eventually, Batten and Gomez Villafañe and Faces Rola bridged just ahead of the 60km mark, and all three teams rode together for the rest of the stage.
It was cat and mouse for the final 40k, with a win looking good for Private Client Holdings. Then, Lill attacked on the final climb and she and Strauss, along with Batten and Gomez Villafañe passed Private Client Holdings.
Lill and Strauss ultimately managed to get ahead of Batten and Villafane on the final singletrack.
In the men’s race, Germans Lukas Baum and Georg Egger (Speed Company Racing) stormed to their first win in just 3:48:23 . Blevins and Beers (Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized) followed 2:15 behind, and GC leaders Seewald and Stošek (Canyon Northwave MTB) finished third on the day, 3:28 off the front.
Baum and Egger moved to the front of the race before the 20km mark and never looked back. The blistering pace inspired some good chasing early in the day — notably by Maxime Marotte and Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz) — but as the race wore on, no teams were able to keep up and at one point the Germans had a two minute gap.
Later in the stage, only Blevins and Beers attempted to chase.
Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (SCOTT-SRAM) had a rough day, finishing nine minutes behind the stage winners.
- Andreas Seewald / Martin Stošek (Canyon Northwave MTB), 14:06:53
- Georg Egger / Lukas Baum (Speed Racing Company), at 4:42
- Christopher Blevins / Matt Beers (Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized), at 6:52
- Hans Becking / José Dias (BUFF-MEGAMO), at 9:05
- Nino Schurter / Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM), at 14:33
- Haley Batten / Sofia Gomez Villafañe (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized), 17:14:58
- Candice Lill / Mariske Strauss (Faces Rola), at 10:07
- Pauline Ferrand-Prévot / Robyn de Groot (BMC MTB Racing), at 12:19
- Ariane Lüthi / Amy Wakefield (Symbtech ZA), at 16:26
- Mari Rabie / Hayley Preen (Private Client Holdings), at 44:36