The Sport for Good pairing have improved day-by-day this week as they have been getting used to the rigours of the Absa Cape Epic. They celebrated enthusiastically when they crossed the line first on the 93km transition stage from Wellington to Stellenbosch – billed as this year’s Queen stage for it’s 2500m of climbing.

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Team Sport for Good's Yana Belomoina and Sabine Spitz on their way to victory during stage 5 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Wellington to Boschendal in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 18th March 2016. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

“We were supposed to win yesterday on the ‘cross-country’ stage but coming first on the queen stage is pretty good,” said an elated Spitz, riding her first Absa Cape Epic.

The 44-year-old revealed that the decisive moment for Sport for Good came in the final 10km of the stage.

“I must say that Annika is riding amazingly well. She’s so strong, especially on the flat where Ariane sometimes struggles. We were together with them all the way until we got to a sandy section where Annika had to wait. That was the moment we got a gap.”

Riders awoke to mild conditions in Wellington, with predicted rain only falling for a short while and helping Spitz and her 23-year-old partner’s cause.

“We hoped that it wouldn’t rain the whole day but in the end was only for an hour or so. That made the surface much better for riding as the dust settled and it was compact. It allowed us to ride consistently.”

Belomoina came across the line smiling from ear to ear, a clear sign that the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Under-23 champion is finding her feet on the trails of the Western Cape.

“I’m feeling very strong,” she said. “I think I’m getting better and better and I’m very happy to win a stage at the Cape Epic.”

Meanwhile, a relaxed looking Langvad did not seem too concerned about finishing second. Moments after crossing the line, 1.59,7 behind the Sport for Good pair, she said it had been a “perfect day … it only got hot towards the end after being quite cool”.

The Dane and Kleinhans both punched the air as they finished, with the former admitting that they were surprised how well they handled the day’s climbing.

“With all the climbing we didn’t think we would be superior because our competitors are very good climbers. So we were actually surprised; we paced ourselves very well and got a good result out of it in the end.”

Kleinhans was not willing to let her thoughts turn to the grand finale at Meerendal yet.

“To win a third title in a row would be an absolute dream, but I don’t really want to talk about it apart from saying we will give it our all to achieve it.”

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The top 3 ladies teams lead by Team Spur Specialized's Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad during stage 5 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Wellington to Boschendal in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 18th March 2016. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Langvad was thankful that they’ve built up a big enough lead that they won’t have to panic if anything goes wrong during tomorrow’s 69km stage in and around Stellenbosch or Sunday’s return to Meerendal.

“With two days to go the lead we have gives us a very nice feeling. We appreciate every second so to add another minute today is perfect. It means that if we get a puncture or anything we can take our time fixing it.”

If for some reason Spur-Specialized do encounter trouble, Topeak Ergon’s Sally Bigham and Adel Morath are time-wise best-placed to take advantage but came home third for the second day in a row.

“We’ll have to see how the remaining days go and take each one as it comes,” said Bigham, the 2012 and 2013 Absa Cape Epic winner.

“Today was a good mixture of trails and we really enjoyed it when all three teams were riding together. It shows that the separate starts are working well and makes it much more interesting for me as an athlete… previously the women’s race wasn’t fair enough. It has been a step forward for the race, made it more exciting for the riders and more interesting for spectators as we’ve seen with different winners this week.”

2016 Stage 5 Women


Stage Results

1. Sport for Good 54-2 Yana Belomoina (Ukraine) 54-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 4:51.06,5
2. Spur-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland) 4:53.06,2 +1.59,7
3. Topeak Ergon 53-1 Sally Bigham (England) 53-2 Adel Morath (Germany) 4:54.01,7 +2.55,2

Overall Results

1. Spur-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland) 25:40.02,4
2. Topeak Ergon 53-1 Sally Bigham (England) 53-2 Adel Morath (Germany) 25:53.47,4 +13.45,0
3. Sport for Good 54-2 Yana Belomoina (Ukraine) 54-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 25:58.40,4 +18.38,0
4. Meerendal Wheeler 52-1 Esther Suss (Switzerland) 52-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 26:49.24,8 +1:09.22,4
5. Galileo Risk 55-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 55-2 Yolandi du Toit (South Africa) 28:09.06,6 +2:29.04,2
6. Energade Racing 202-1 Dalene van der Leek (South Africa) 202-2 Sharon Laws (England) 28:19.59,5 +2:39.57,1
7. Meerendal Rocky EBE 56-1 Hielke Elferink (Netherlands) 56-2 Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) 28:20.41,3 +2:40.38,9
8. Asrin Cycling 71-1 Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia) 71-2 Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spain) 28:39.29,0 +2:59.26,6
9. Liv - MTB Pro 59-1 Muriel Bouhet (France) 59-2 Merce Pacios Pujado (Spain) 31:46.49,5 +6:06.47,1
10. Speed Structures 68-1 Marleen Lourens (South Africa) 68-2 Nicky Giliomee (South Africa) 33:34.00,5 +7:53.58,1