After two days of riding well within himself, as he nursed Madolo through his darkest hours on the bike, Sauser had energy to burn too and the pair blazed through the 73km route in a time of 3 hours 29 minutes and 20 seconds. Their time on the day was good enough for 21st place on the day and moves them up a massive ten general classification places to 53rd overall.
Racing to 21st place on the day despite still not being able to eat on the bike and vomiting up a gel when he tried just proves the level of conditioning Madolo brought into the race. It’s a pity then that he’s been unable to showcase his talents to their full extent, but that is also a big part of stage racing and he’s learning more through adversity in this Epic than he has in the previous four when things went well.
The songo.info team are immensely proud of their young star and many of his fellow Cape Epic riders can take heed of his example. In a race where serious injuries have curtailed the aspirations of race favourites there have also been riders pulling out stating a lack of motivation after losing a partner. Madolo meanwhile is doing himself and his sponsors proud by battling through adversity, despite the fact that his racing aspirations were dashed by one terrible day.
Madolo’s lesson today was the one centimetre rule. Sauser has always advocated teammates riding close on each other’s wheels, not only for the advantage of drafting on the flats, but also because it offers an opportunity for a mental break. Following the leader’s wheel allows the trailing rider to simply pedal and follow without having to make line choices which can lead to mental fatigue on technical trails. Staying close also limits the chances of an opposition rider squeezing between teammates and thereby neutralising the opportunity to attack.
Tomorrow Madolo and Sauser will hope for another strong day as the race moves from Wellington to Boschendal, outside Stellenbosch. Stage 5 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic will feature the biggest altitude gain of the week at 2 500 meters, marking it as the race’s Queen Stage. You can follow their progress on Stage 4, by making use of the Cape Epic’s live tracking system, or on Twitter by following @songoinfo and @CapeEpic.