Two menacing climbs were the scenes of many sprints and battles, with flowing farm roads urging the tired legs to keep turning the cranks in anger to gain any possible time advantage from the stopwatch. And, this is exactly what took place on the route that started and ended at the picture-perfect Saronsberg Wine Estate.
Two win-hungry members of the Momsen Bikes Factory Team are competing in this the tenth edition of the ABSA Cape Epic: Nico Pfitzenmaier (for team Bridge) and Ann Harrison (for team Dawn Wing). Nico is partnered with Brazilian MTB ace Abraao Azevedo and Ann is teamed up with Marleen Lourens. Nico and Ann have been racing the all-new, full carbon, full suspension Momsen Bikes VIPA on this event, not only pushing what is essentially a prototype model to its limits for its final phase in its development cycle in what is shaping up to the be most grueling of ABSA Cape Epic editions in its history, but they are both aiming to collect trophies come Sunday 24 March at the Lourensford Wine Estate for this event’s Grand Finale.
At the start of Stage Three, Ann and team-mate Lourens had moved from sixth to fourth on the Ladies Category overall leader board, and after the 94km stage these ladies clocked in FIFTH and are edging closer to snatching third place in the overall Ladies Category classification, as they are now less than 5 minutes back in FOURTH position.
Nico and Azevedo started Stage Three in second place overall in the Telkom Business Masters’ Category and the route today saw an attack on each of the two climbs from these MTB masters. Snatching the Category lead early on in the 94km-long route, Nico and his VIPA machine increased their lead with every kilometer completed to claim his 23rd ABSA Cape Epic stage victory, giving him the SECOND most stage victories in this event’s illustrious history. This remarkable pace from Nico and Azevedo saw them leapfrog rivals Team Juwi (Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts) to claim the Telkom Business Masters jersey and the Category’s overall lead. Team Superior-Brentjens 2 (Bart Brentjens and Robert Sim) are 42 minutes adrift of the new leaders.
Stage Four is a 120km-long race from the Saronsberg Wine Estate in the Tulbagh Valley to Wellington with three major climbs and a total of 2300m vertical ascent. Daily highlights of the event are broadcast on SuperSport’s channels at 22h30.
OVERALL RESULTS AFTER STAGE 3
Telkom Business Masters Category:
01) Nico Pfitzenmaier/Abraao Azevedo (Bridge) - 16:34.33,0
04) Ann Harrison/Marleen Lourens (Dawn Wing) – 20:48.00,7 (+04.46,7 behind third position rivals)