Start: Oak Valley Wine Estate, Elgin
Finish: Oak Valley Wine Estate, Elgin
Total climb: 1 800m
Riders still in the race have definitely earned the rewards of Stage 6. Although there was 1 800m of climbing, riders mostly remembered the amazing singletrack descents that were dotted along the route. The first section was a cruise through vineyards, apple orchards and fynbos. Just before waterpoint 1 at Houw Hoek Inn, riders enjoyed their first sampling oft he great singletrack to come. After a steady climb on forestry roads, the next highlight awaited – a fast, gradually descending dual track dropping deep into the Elgin Valley. The climb out was soon rewarded with the sweeping purpose-built mountain bike tracks of Lebanon. And just when riders thought it can’t get any better, the trails at Paul Cluver awaited, smooth and perfectly carved, with spectacular bridges. There was still climbing to be done to get back to Oak Valley, but that too was instantly rewarded with some final exhilarating trails, ensuring that riders finish with broad grins on their faces after what has unanimously been voted by the trial ride teams as the most fun stage of 2014.
South African Philip Buys commandingly won his second stage of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic with Swiss partner Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) as the race for the overall winners’ yellow jersey was again touched by drama.
Kristian Hynek and Robert Mennen (Topeak-Ergon) again benefitted on the day from the sportsmanship of fellow professionals. They finished the stage in second place but more than 10 minutes ahead in the general classification. They were facing a serious setback when Hynek picked up a bad cut on his wheel only 5km from the start. For the second day running it was fellow professionals Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess (Centurion-Vaude) who came to their rescue by stopping and swopping a wheel. On Friday they donated two wheels to Hynek when he “double-flatted”. Mennen said that he had no idea how to thank fellow Germans Kaufmann and Kaess.
Sauser and Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) were third, giving up another 34 seconds to Hynek and Mennen. Sauser said he and Rabon would attack from the start on Sunday.
Team Bulls 2, Simon Stiebjahn and Tim Boehme are third overall and six minutes behind Sauser and Rabon.
Ariane Kleinhans and Annike Langvad (RECM 2) seem almost certain to be winners of the women’s category after another commanding performance. They finished 10 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals Esther Suss and Sally Bigham (Meerendal). Their overall lead is now 26 minutes. South Africa’s Theresa Ralph and Swede Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Company) are lying third but are more than an hour back from the RECM team.
Exxaro jersey and team results
Sipho Madolo and Azukile Simayile (Meerendal Songo Specialized) won today’s stage with approximately five minutes. They finished the stage in 13th place overall and still wears the green Exxaro leaders jersey.
Phillimon Sebona and Jan Montsioa (Exxaro/PwC 1) finished in 17th place overall. They tried as hard as they can to catch the leaders but unfortunately was the second stronger team of the day.
Both these teams rode extremely well today, competing with a lot of pro riders. Two development teams in the top 20 had risen the bar in development cycling! All eyes will be on these two teams for tomorrow’s final stage, as well as all upcoming races.
Luthando Fayati and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/Deutsche Bank 1) also picked up the pace over the past two days and finished just outside the top 50. They supported the Academy team to position them in the top 20.
Rozalia Kubwana and Shalotte Mojela (Exxaro/PwC 2) finished today with smiles, knowing that tomorrow is the last day. If all goes well, they will be the second development ladies team to finish the Absa Cape Epic. Rozalia received medical attention for her left knee. Luckily the injury was not serious.
Thomas Sokhalengane (Exxaro/EOH) had a fall on the first 5km, but managed to pull through the day – though with a badly bruised arm.
All other teams are also safely in and will ride the welcoming final stage to Lourensford.
Comments from some team members:
Rozalia Kubwana (Exxaro/PWC 2): “Today was really much easier than any of the others. The climbs were not too bad either, they were long but not very steep. I just have a terrible pain in my left knee and went to the medical tent for advise. I received anti-inflammatory medication and will strap my knee before the start tomorrow. There is no way I’m giving up now! We are also excited that tomorrow will be the last day in the saddle. I am really looking forward to not putting on cycling kit, taking a nice shower, a soft bed and sleeping in for a change.”
Nare Manamela (Exxaro/Tronox 1): “Today was tough for me because I was cold. It got better later on. Luckily my ribs aloso didn’t hinder me after the crush on Stage 3. I am tired after a week of racing and am looking forward to finish.”
Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/Deutsche Bank 1): ” The start was hard, my legs were really tired. I found today’s stage harder than yesterday because of fatigue. This is my first Epic and I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t expect this. You only realise how hard it is when you’re in it. But I would like to do more Epics in future.”
Emmanuel Ratlebjana (Exxaro/Deutsche Bank 2): “We did good today, but the week is starting to take its toll on our energy. We want to finish now and will try to push it tomorrow to get into a top 100 position overall.
|Rilamulele and Tovhawani at waterpoint 2||Jan at water point 3||Luke going through waterpoint 2|