Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Start location: Oak Valley, Elgin
Finish location: HTS Drostdy, Worcester
Climbing: 2 300m
The day’s biggest climb, The Tierkop over the eastern flank of the Groenlandberg, started around the 7km mark. Then there was a lot of fast descending – with some washed out and rocky sections before the riders crossed the Van der Stel Pass road and were confronted by The Serpent, a nasty zigzag climb which could be seen ahead from across the valley and which rose more than 26% as it began. A further two short and tough climbs dropped riders onto the tar road that traversed the Theewaterskloof Dam. The route left the tar with a sharp rise, but eventually flattened out and followed the canal road past Villiersdorp, over a climb and into the sort of shrubbery typical of the Karoo. Soon the route crossed farmland and the award-winning Eagle’s Cliff Wine Estate, which was also the venue for Waterpoint 1. Riders enjoyed this section before the tough Arendskloof climb and rocky descent prior to a flattish 40km skirting the Brandvlei Dam into Worcester.
Stage 3 results
Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Investec Songo Specialized) were again imperious at the front of the field, powering away on the last 15km to register a 25 second win and extend their overall lead to more than seven minutes.
Immediately after Araine Kleinhans and Annika Langvad (RECM Specialized) crossed the finish line, they collapsed to the ground in exhaustion and elation. The one hour and 13 minute time penalty from Stage 2 had been wiped out by an incredible day in the saddle. They now go into Stage 4 with a nine minute overall lead over Jennie Stenerhag and Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health). Finishing second on the day were Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja and Kathrin Stirnemann (World Bicycle Relief).
The red Absa African jersey changed shoulders for the first time when Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock (RED-E Blend) finished ten minutes ahead of former leaders Rourke Croeser and Travis Walker (USN).
In the Mixed category, Peter Vesel and Ivonne Kraft (ETIS) won the stage by three minutes.
Exxaro MTB Academy teams
The race for the Exxaro jersey has swung convincingly towards Phillimon Sebona and Jan Montshioa (Exxaro/PwC 1) in the past two stages, after Sipho Madolo and Azukile Simayile (Investec Songo Specialized) dropped back sharply.
Sebona and Montshioa finished the stage in a time of 6:04.22,6. The second team in was Rilamulele Gadabeni and Tovhawani Mavundavhi (Exxaro/EOH) in 6:20.59,7. Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/RMB) finished third in 6:21.39,6.
Although the route was very rough and really sandy, all the Exxaro teams finished the stage. This is the first time in the four years of participation that all the teams are still in the race after Stage 3.