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South Africans come to fore in The Cape Epic

Team GT Africa won stage two of The Cape Epic mountain-bike race in South Africa on Sunday, as the South African duo of Jacques Rossouw and Shan Wilson outsprinted Team Focus-Rocky Mountain (Mannie Heymans of Namibia and Karl Platt of Germany) and overall leaders Team Fiat Rotwild (Andi Strobel of Germany and Silvio Wieltschnig of Austria). The 123km stage, which began in Saaslveld/George, crossed the famous Montague pass and the arid, extremely hot Klein Karoo desert before winding up at Calitzdorp Spa. U23 World Cup champion Liam Killeen of Great Britain pushed the big ring on Montague

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By Velonews Interactive

Team GT Africa won stage two of The Cape Epic mountain-bike race in South Africa on Sunday, as the South African duo of Jacques Rossouw and Shan Wilson outsprinted Team Focus-Rocky Mountain (Mannie Heymans of Namibia and Karl Platt of Germany) and overall leaders Team Fiat Rotwild (Andi Strobel of Germany and Silvio Wieltschnig of Austria).

The 123km stage, which began in Saaslveld/George, crossed the famous Montague pass and the arid, extremely hot Klein Karoo desert before winding up at Calitzdorp Spa.

U23 World Cup champion Liam Killeen of Great Britain pushed the big ring on Montague pass and forced the leading teams to step it up a notch to keep pace with him. But Killeen’s partner on Team 23 Degrees, world-champion downhiller Greg Minnaar (RSA), couldn’t keep up, and the twosome collected a time penalty as a result; the rules insist that team members stay together throughout the race.

Once the field was dispatched, the leaders took it easy, chatting, stopping together at all watering points to drink and lube their chains, and then taking off again in a group. Tipped by a marshal that the field was closing in, they eventually put the hammer down once more, increasing their speed to more than 40 km/h for the last 45 minutes of the race and setting up the final dash to the line. Rossouw and Wilson opened the sprint in the final 100 meters and won from the front by just 5 one-hundredths of a second.

The eight-stage race, which began Saturday on the Garden Route in Knysna, will end March 6 at the Spier Wine Estate, just outside Cape Town. For more on the race and complete results, see www.cape-epic.com.