Böhme, who finished third overall at the 2012 Grape Escape, said it was a good start for the first day. “The route was challenging but had a good balance between steep climbs and nice flats.” Böhme’s teammate Urs Huber said he had a great day out. “It’s my first Nashua Grape Escape and I really enjoyed the steep climbs and nice technical sections. It’s great training for the Cape Epic next month.”

Huber narrowly edged past fourth-place Christoph Sauser after a wrong turn near the end of the route undid the defending champion’s lead. Second-placed Darren Lill, riding for Team Cannondale Blend, said Sauser and Böhme were about 12 seconds ahead until just before the finish line. “After the first two climbs of the day, a group of about seven riders broke away. At the final few climbs a couple of us got dropped and Christoph and Tim left us behind, but somehow Christoph took a wrong turn, allowing me and Urs to catch up. Tomorrow is going to be very competitive!”

Ariane Kleinhans was the first female rider to cross the finish line, comfortably ahead of second-place Catherine Williamson, while Olympian Candice Neethling took third place.

Hundreds of mountain bikers lined up at the starting line at Riebeek Kasteel Primary to take on the 78km to the DJ de Villiers Stadium in Wellington. Riders enjoyed a cool overcast morning after some much-needed rain fell during the night, providing respite from the usually hot Boland summer weather.

David Bellairs, Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, says this year’s event has again attracted some of the top names in the local and international scene. “With the fantastic support of our new sponsor Nashua, we have created an improved experience for riders this year. The Race Village with its tented camp is proving popular, and we expect an even bigger field for tomorrow’s Stage 2 when the riders who chose the two-day option joins us.”

Stage 1 – Race Results

Men 1st: Tim Böhme (Team Bulls) (3:03:10)

Men 2nd: Darren Lill (Team Cannondale Blend) (3:03:21)

Men 3rd: Urs Huber (Team Bulls) (3:03:22)

Men 4th: Christoph Sauser (Team Songo-Specialized) (3:03:22)

Men 5th: Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) (3:04:12)

Ladies 1st: Ariane Kleinhans (Team RE:CM) (3:30:08)

Ladies 2nd: Catherine Williamson (Team bizhub-fcf) (3:33:24)

Ladies 3rd: Candice Neethling (Team BMC-SA) (3:37: 03)

Ladies 4th: Cherise Stander (Team USN) (3:46:22)

Ladies 5th: Hanlie Booyens (Team Pragma Ladies) (3:56:09)