ccs-62657-0-14438700-1458391798.jpg
Sabine Spitz and Yana Belomoina during stage 6 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Boschendal in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 19th March 2016. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

On Saturday, the Sport for Good pairing crossed the line first in a time of 3:53.32,7 to not only beat Spur-Specialized over the 69km course, but also move ahead of Topeak Ergon for second place in the Sasol Women’s category.

“It was amazing… we didn't expect to come here and get two stage wins,” said a beaming Spitz. “We had lots of fun around Stellenbosch. After last night’s rain, the conditions were a little bit muddy but it reminded me of the forests back home in Germany.”

Belomoina, for her part, couldn’t believe how their fortunes had turned around this week.

“When I finished the first and second stage I didn’t think it would be possible to get any wins. Those stages were so hard for me, but I’ve been getting better and better and today was fantastic – it was the best course of the week with very nice downhills. We’re very happy that we’re in second place on the general classification and tomorrow we’ll try to stay there.”

Going into Stage 6, Spitz and Belomoina trailed Topeak Ergon by five minutes and seven seconds, so were surprised that they were able to overhaul that margin during a short stage.

“We were all together at Water Point 1 but at Water Point 3 we heard that we were almost seven minutes ahead… to hear that was great,” revealed Spitz. “Tomorrow we’ll have to hang on and if Topeak make a move we’ll stay on their heels.”

ccs-62657-0-50544100-1458392001.jpg
Sally Bigham and Adel Morath during stage 6 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Boschendal in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 19th March 2016. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Topeak Ergon’s Adel Morath revealed that it was Sport for Good’s relentless pace that saw them drop off today.

“It was a very nice stage, actually my favourite one. From the beginning Sabine and Yana were riding very fast, and I was struggling to keep up. We had to accept that they were too strong for us today and ride safely. It’s disappointing to lose second place, but there’s still one more stage left…”

Splitting those two teams today was the Spur-Specialized pairing of Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans. The Dane again looked the stronger of the two on the course, parts of which she found time to admire while chasing Sport for Good.

“It was a very good stage with lots of nice trails. We were really treated well today, especially the bermed area which was quite dark and and the pine needles on the ground made it quite beautiful. It was good to not lose any time, even though it’s now Sport for Good in second place. They have been very consistent but are now comfortable with the terrain.”

ccs-62657-0-00991600-1458391894.jpg
Sally Bigham & Adel Morath of Topeak Ergon, Annika Langvad & Ariane Kleinhans of Spur-Specialized, Sabine Spitz & Yana Belomoina of Sport for Good during stage 6 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Boschendal in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 19th March 2016. Photo by Gary Perkin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Kleinhans revealed that she was on the rivet today.

“On paper it was a shorter stage but it was a not a holiday, it was tough. As we get to the last few stages you have less power in the legs so I was definitely pushed to the limits today… especially when Sabine and Yana rode away from us. They climbed very well and were technically very smooth through the muddy sections.”

Kleinhans and Langvad can now focus on Sunday’s Grand Finale, with their 15.43 advantage over Spitz and Belomoina meaning that only a disaster can stop them claiming their third straight title at Meerendal.

“We’ve entered the closing phase of the race and we definitely want to win it,” said Langvad. “There’s been pressure on us because to live up to our previous results, but our competitors have been quite strong. That said, we go into the final stage with lots of confidence because we have a good gap, which shows we have been the strongest team this week. Now we just have to get to the finish line.”