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Cape Epic: Schurter and Forster finally have their day while Ferrand-Prévot and de Groot rally to win stage

Some shuffle in the women's GC, but Gomez Villafañe and Batten maintain their lead while Andreas Seewald and Martin Stošek sit atop the men's overall after two stages.

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Despite a third day with a puncture, Nino Schurter and his teammate Lars Forster finally ended a Cape Epic stage the way they wanted to: in first place.

Related: Who to watch at this year’s Cape Epic

The Scott-SRAM Swiss duo was in control for most of the 123km stage. Although Christopher Blevins sprinted to the front of a reduced bunch at the finish, his teammate Matt Beers couldn’t meet him there, and Schurter and Forster crossed together. Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance from Beers, who suffered mightily from stomach illness during Tuesday’s stage.

Blevins and Beers (Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized) jumped from seventh to third in the overall rankings after today’s second-place finish. 

The yellow jersey wearers Andreas Seewald and Martin Stošek (Canyon Northwave MTB) finished fourth on the day, 10 seconds behind the leaders, and kept their general classification lead. They will start stage 3 with an almost five-minute gap ahead of second-place Hans Becking and José Dias of BUFF-MEGAMO. Schurter and Forster moved into fifth place overall. 

The women’s race saw a similar rebound after health issues plagued Pauline Ferrand-Prévot during stage 1. On Wednesday, she was feeling remarkably better and she and teammate Robyn de Groot raced conservatively during the early kilometers of the race, as Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss (Faces Rola) set the pace with Sofia Gomez Villafañe and Haley Batten (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized).

At 85km, Ferrand-Prévot went hard up Jacques’ Climb, and de Groot followed. The other top five teams, including Ariane Lüthi and Amy Wakefield (Symbtech ZA), couldn’t hang with the Frenchwoman and South African on the climb.

The podium for the stage ended with Ferrand-Prévot and de Groot on the top step, Batten and Gomez Villafañe in second, and Lüthi and Wakefield in third. Batten and Gomez Villafañe maintain their GC lead, with Ferrand-Prévot and de Groot 6:26 back.

With three days of racing done, only one thing is clear: the Cape Epic is still anyone’s race. Wednesday’s stage 3 is a 101km track with a first-half characterized by intense climbing and descending on doubletrack roads and a second-half of rocky singletrack.

Cape Epic elite women’s overall results after stage 2

  1. Haley Batten / Sofia Gomez Villafañe (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized), 12:24:19
  2. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot / Robyn de Groot (BMC MTB Racing), at 6:26
  3. Ariane Lüthi / Amy Wakefield (Symbtech ZA),  at 6:47
  4. Candice Lill / Mariske Strauss (Faces Rola), at 10:10

Cape Epic elite men’s overall results after stage 2

  1. Andreas Seewald / Martin Stošek (Canyon Northwave MTB), 10:14:51
  2. Hans Becking / José Dias (BUFF-MEGAMO), at 4:55
  3. Christopher Blevins / Matt Beers (Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized), at 8:04
  4. Georg Egger / Lukas Baum (Speed Racing Company), at 8:10