Greece’s Ilias and Portuguese teammate Ferreira (Dolomiti Superbike) became the fourth team to claim a stage win at the 2016 Absa Cape Epic after boldly gambling on an early break.
By 45km and the day’s second water point the duo, in their debut race, had a 40 second lead. In spite of riding ahead of a chasing pack for most of the 72km course Ilias and Ferreira managed to stretch that lead to one minute and 20 seconds by the finish at Boschendal Wine Estate, claiming Stage 6 in a time of 3:16.01,0.
Second over the line were Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing), with overall race leaders Karl Platt and Urs Huber (Bulls) wrapping up the podium places for the stage. Four-time winner Platt and partner Huber now sit comfortably in first place overall, 15-minutes ahead of nearest rivals Centurion Vaude by Meerendal 2, who battled home in eighth place on the day after reportedly battling with mechanicals.
Dolomiti Superbike’s win proved to be a popular one in the Absa Cape Epic winners’ lounge, with Fumic, Avancini, Platt and Huber all warmly congratulating the triumphant pair. All week long the debutants have raced hard, often pulling the lead bunch before either suffering mechanicals or dropping off the pace as the finish line approached.
An emotional Ferreira took a moment to absorb the victory, sitting with his head in his hands before exclaiming: “So good, so good. This feels so good. We’ve been trying to win a stage all week. We’ve gone out hard all week, worked hard at the front, but dropped off… until today. I’m super tired now, but super happy. To win a stage at the biggest mountain bike race in the world is incredible.”
According to Ilias, the race stage strategy only kicked in after 10 minutes of riding. “Yesterday Tiago wasn’t feeling his best, but today we were both feeling good, so we decided to give it a go. We went off and just kept pushing.”
Cross-country specialist Fumic was pushing hard behind Ilias and Ferreira on a day that suited his style, but said at the finish that he just couldn’t catch the pair. “I saw Dolomiti just ahead of me, and I thought now I’ll catch them. But I came around a corner and they were gone. They raced really well today.”
After toiling in Tulbagh, riders have been enjoying the trail networks of Wellington and Stellenbosch. “Today was really nice,” said Ilias. “Today was really good. It helps that we won the stage too. It’s fantastic.”
For the overall leaders at the Cape Epic it was a case of “keep it simple”. The Team Bulls outfit have controlled the race from start to finish and can almost taste victory. Barring disaster, Platt should notch up his fifth win on Sunday and Huber his first.
Platt said he could sense that the lead pack was feeling the strain of seven days of hard riding, with the pace down at the start of stage. “Everyone has pushed hard all week, but today it felt like nobody wanted to push,” said Platt. “Urs and I just wanted to get from A to B without doing anything silly. In the end, it was a great day of riding. It was a ‘lekker’ route.”
The first South African rider home on Stage 6 was Topeak Ergon Racing 2’s Erik Kleinhans, riding alongside Jeremiah Bishop this year. They finished fourth behind Platt and Huber. The top South African team was once again USN Purefit, Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock finishing seventh on the stage.
“I probably felt my best of the entire race today,” said Woolcock. “Darren was still feeling ill, but he pushed through like he always does. In the end it was another successful day, and actually really cool in parts. I know the trails well here, so it was really nice to ride in my own ‘backyard’.” With a 23-minute lead over the second-placed Africa challengers, Lill and Woolcock will almost certainly get their hands on the red Absa African special jersey at Meerendal tomorrow.
German Spitz and Ukranian Belomoina may well be in the market for shares in Boschendal after winning consecutive Absa Cape Epic stages at the Stellenbosch wine estate.
Today 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 72km 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.”
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.”
Splitting those two teams today was the Spur-Specialized pairing of Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans.
“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,” said Langvad. “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.”
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.”
Kleinhans and Langvad can now focus on Sunday’s Grand Finale, with their 15.43 advantage over Spitz and Belomoina meaning 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.”
In the Masters category leaders Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands and Brazilian Abraao Azevedo (CST Superior Brentjens) again dominated, winning their fifth stage in a row and extending their lead to 45 minutes. Second-placed Adrian Enthoven and Nic White (Whit Inc) finished fourth on the day but hung on to second overall.
Absa Shake&Bake’s Carel Vosloo and Tobie van Heerden had a good day, finishing second and are now fourth in the category behind Australian pair Damien Jones and Brad Clarke (Hampton Cycles).
In the Grand Masters category it was back to business as usual for overall leaders Robert Sim and Udo Boelts (Robert Daniel) as they won the stage and extended their lead over Barti Bucher and Heinz Zoerweg (Meerendal BIXS KTM) to more than 30 minutes. South Africans Andrew Mclean and Doug Brown remain in third place but are more than an hour behind Sim and Boelts.
In the Mixed category Trek Israel CCC’s Idit Shub and Gal Tsachor notched up a stage win but are 49 minutes behind leading French team Jean-Francois Bossler and Fanny Bourdon (Open-Kappius Components) in the overall race.
Jan Montshioa and Thokozani Mahlangu (Exxaro/RMB) notched up an impressive stage win in the race for the Exxaro special jersey, but Rilamulele Gadabeni and Tovhowani Mavundadavhi (Exxaro/Tronox) still have a lead of one hour and 10 minutes over Anele Mtalana and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/EOH).
2016 Stage 6 Men
1. Dolomiti Superbike 11-1 Periklis Ilias (Greece) 11-2 Tiago Jorge Ferreira Oliveira (Portugal) 3:16.01,0
2. Cannondale Factory Racing 14-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 14-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 3:17.20,7 +1.19,7
3. Bulls 3-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 3-2 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 3:19.23,9 +3.22,9
1. Bulls 3-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 3-2 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 24:57.10,1
2. Centurion Vaude by Meerendal 2 17-1 Nicola Rohrbach (Switzerland) 17-2 Matthias Pfrommer (Germany) 25:12.30,1 +15.20,0
3. Trek-Selle San Marco A 13-1 Samuele Porro (Italy) 13-2 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 25:20.29,7 +23.19,6
4. Cannondale Factory Racing 14-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 14-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 25:25.34,1 +28.24,0
5. Dolomiti Superbike 11-1 Periklis Ilias (Greece) 11-2 Tiago Jorge Ferreira Oliveira (Portugal) 25:34.25,6 +37.15,5
6. USN Purefit 7-1 Darren Lill (South Africa) 7-2 Waylon Woolcock (South Africa) 25:46.42,5 +49.32,4
7. Bulls 2 10-1 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 10-2 Tim Boehme (Germany) 25:46.42,5 +49.32,4
8. Trek-Selle San Marco B 18-1 Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Spain) 18-2 Fabian Rabensteiner (Italy) 25:53.29,5 +56.19,4
9. Centurion Vaude by Meerendal 4-1 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 4-2 Hermann Pernsteiner (Austria) 26:02.10,1 +1:05.00,0
10. Topeak Ergon Racing 2 16-1 Jeremiah Bishop (United States of America) 16-2 Erik Kleinhans (South Africa) 26:03.15,4 +1:06.05,3
2016 Stage 6 Women
1. Sport for Good 54-2 Yana Belomoina (Ukraine) 54-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 3:53.32,7
2. Spur-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland) 3:56.27,1 +2.54,4
3. Topeak Ergon 53-1 Sally Bigham (England) 53-2 Adel Morath (Germany) 4:02.20,7 +8.48,0
1. Spur-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland) 29:36.29,5
2. Sport for Good 54-2 Yana Belomoina (Ukraine) 54-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 29:52.13,1 +15.43,6
3. Topeak Ergon 53-1 Sally Bigham (England) 53-2 Adel Morath (Germany) 29:56.08,1 +19.38,6
4. Meerendal Wheeler 52-1 Esther Suss (Switzerland) 52-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 31:00.45,2 +1:24.15,7
5. Galileo Risk 55-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 55-2 Yolandi du Toit (South Africa) 32:27.07,6 +2:50.38,1
6. Energade Racing 202-1 Dalene van der Leek (South Africa) 202-2 Sharon Laws (England) 32:43.37,9 +3:07.08,4
7. Meerendal Rocky EBE 56-1 Hielke Elferink (Netherlands) 56-2 Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) 32:47.37,2 +3:11.07,7
8. Asrin Cycling 71-1 Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia) 71-2 Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spain) 33:00.02,9 +3:23.33,4
9. Liv - MTB Pro 59-1 Muriel Bouhet (France) 59-2 Merce Pacios Pujado (Spain) 36:27.07,4 +6:50.37,9
10. Speed Structures 68-1 Marleen Lourens (South Africa) 68-2 Nicky Giliomee (South Africa) 38:41.54,0 +9:05.24,5
2016 Stage 6 Masters
1. CST Superior Brentjens 60-1 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 60-2 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 3:40.44,7
2. Absa Shake & Bake 432-1 Tobie van Heerden (South Africa) 432-2 Carel Vosloo (South Africa) 3:49.56,3 +9.11,6
3. Hampton Cycles Australia 302-1 Damien Jones (Australia) 302-2 Brad Clarke (Australia) 3:52.10,3 +11.25,6
1. CST Superior Brentjens 60-1 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 60-2 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 27:50.23,5
2. White Inc 61-1 Adrian Enthoven (South Africa) 61-2 Nic White (South Africa) 28:38.03,8 +47.40,3
3. Hampton Cycles Australia 302-1 Damien Jones (Australia) 302-2 Brad Clarke (Australia) 28:57.59,0 +1:07.35,5
4. Absa Shake & Bake 432-1 Tobie van Heerden (South Africa) 432-2 Carel Vosloo (South Africa) 29:50.29,6 +2:00.06,1
5. Van de Haterd Mtb 173-1 John van de Wouw (Netherlands) 173-2 Maikel Govaarts (Netherlands) 30:01.25,8 +2:11.02,3
6. Barclays/Oakhaven 402-1 Michael Creedon (Ireland) 402-2 Andrew Cairns (South Africa) 30:41.32,9 +2:51.09,4
7. Sasol Mitas 250-1 Johan Labuschagne (South Africa) 250-2 Gerrie Beukes (South Africa) 30:59.51,7 +3:09.28,2
8. Klein-Aus Vista MTB 559-1 Piet Swiegers (Namibia) 559-2 Atle Hansen (Sweden) 31:20.44,0 +3:30.20,5
9. Momsen Bikes UK 578-1 Scott Cornish (England) 578-2 Stuart Spies (South Africa) 31:51.32,0 +4:01.08,5
10. Pure Event Gear / Midas 406-1 Pierre Griffioen (South Africa) 406-2 Igna de Villiers (South Africa) 31:59.06,6 +4:08.43,1
2016 Stage 6 Grand Masters
1. Robert Daniel 67-1 Robert Sim (South Africa) 67-2 Udo Boelts (Germany) 3:43.35,1
2. Meerendal BIXS KTM 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Heinz Zoerweg (Austria) 3:46.53,6 +3.18,5
3. Cycle Lab 66-1 Andrew Mclean (South Africa) 66-2 Doug Brown (South Africa) 4:06.51,7 +23.16,6
1. Robert Daniel 67-1 Robert Sim (South Africa) 67-2 Udo Boelts (Germany) 28:01.31,8
2. Meerendal BIXS KTM 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Heinz Zoerweg (Austria) 28:32.47,5 +31.15,7
3. Cycle Lab 66-1 Andrew Mclean (South Africa) 66-2 Doug Brown (South Africa) 29:11.52,0 +1:10.20,2
4. UTi Masters 92-1 Greg Anderson (South Africa) 92-2 Deon Kruger (South Africa) 31:22.36,7 +3:21.04,9
5. Santos Rohloff 344-1 Marcus Richter (Germany) 344-2 Ralf Kropp (Germany) 33:00.21,5 +4:58.49,7
6. Mont & Puc 125-1 Graham Monteith (South Africa) 125-2 Rory Attridge (South Africa) 34:31.56,9 +6:30.25,1
7. Azura Retreats 185-1 Martijn Mellaart (Netherlands) 185-2 Guy Jennings (South Africa) 34:38.36,6 +6:37.04,8
8. Old Bullets 429-1 Abbey de Groot (South Africa) 429-2 Ettienne Soekoe (South Africa) 34:50.34,2 +6:49.02,4
9. Pitstop1Sport24hrs 90-1 Waleed Baker (South Africa) 90-2 Charles Nienaber (South Africa) 34:53.50,2 +6:52.18,4
10. Bestmed LandRover Sandton 88-1 Rory Mapstone (South Africa) 88-2 Wayne McDuling (South Africa) 35:24.16,8 +7:22.45,0
2016 Stage 6 Mixed
1. Trek Israel CCC 73-1 Idit Shub (Israel) 73-2 Gal Tsachor (Israel) 4:09.50,6
2. Open - Kappius Components 72-1 Jean-Francois Bossler (France) 72-2 Fanny Bourdon (France) 4:11.41,5 +1.50,9
3. Topbike Racing 258-1 Katja Cauwenbergh (Belgium) 258-2 Ken Van den Bulke (Belgium) 4:17.27,2 +7.36,6
1. Open - Kappius Components 72-1 Jean-Francois Bossler (France) 72-2 Fanny Bourdon (France) 31:52.19,2
2. Trek Israel CCC 73-1 Idit Shub (Israel) 73-2 Gal Tsachor (Israel) 32:41.43,3 +49.24,1
3. Giant Obwalden 209-1 Hans Fluck (Switzerland) 209-2 Anita Bucher (Switzerland) 32:57.20,1 +1:05.00,9
4. Topbike Racing 258-1 Katja Cauwenbergh (Belgium) 258-2 Ken Van den Bulke (Belgium) 33:36.15,0 +1:43.55,8
5. USN Spike and Sparky 113-1 Sanet Coetzee (South Africa) 113-2 Dana Coetzee (South Africa) 34:12.26,3 +2:20.07,1
6. Scott Mix 608-1 Nadia Visser (South Africa) 608-2 Rikus Visser (South Africa) 34:46.34,6 +2:54.15,4
7. Meerendal Rocky Mountain 124-1 Sabina Compassi (Switzerland) 124-2 Paul Buhler (Switzerland) 35:15.49,9 +3:23.30,7
8. Bicycle Service Company 187-1 Monica Glover (South Africa) 187-2 Danny-lee Fowler (South Africa) 35:20.02,6 +3:27.43,4
9. BPFteam.com 74-1 Alexis Barnes (Australia) 74-2 Gareth Barnes (Australia) 35:24.53,4 +3:32.34,2
10. Globeflight 41-1 Henning Blaauw (South Africa) 41-2 Louise Ferreira (South Africa) 35:27.58,2 +3:35.39,0
2016 Stage 6 Absa African
1. USN Purefit 7-1 Darren Lill (South Africa) 7-2 Waylon Woolcock (South Africa) 3:23.55,3
2. NAD Pro MTB 8-1 Gawie Combrinck (South Africa) 8-2 Nico Bell (South Africa) 3:25.40,6 +1.45,3
3. Kargo Pro 23-1 Andrew Warr (South Africa) 23-2 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 3:26.23,4 +2.28,1
1. USN Purefit 7-1 Darren Lill (South Africa) 7-2 Waylon Woolcock (South Africa) 25:46.42,5
2. NAD Pro MTB 8-1 Gawie Combrinck (South Africa) 8-2 Nico Bell (South Africa) 26:09.55,3 +23.12,8
3. Rwanda 21-1 Nathan Byukusenge (Rwanda) 21-2 Thinus Redelinghuys (South Africa) 27:51.05,4 +2:04.22,9
4. Imbuko-Freewheel Cycology 25-1 Christopher Wolhuter (South Africa) 25-2 Craig Boyes (South Africa) 27:57.32,3 +2:10.49,8
5. GoPro 30-1 Oliver Munnik (South Africa) 30-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 28:05.11,3 +2:18.28,8
6. Kargo Pro 23-1 Andrew Warr (South Africa) 23-2 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 28:18.58,9 +2:32.16,4
7. William Simpson A 33-1 Michael Posthumus (South Africa) 33-2 Derrin Smith (South Africa) 28:21.09,3 +2:34.26,8
8. Britehouse Biogen 24-1 Carl Pasio (South Africa) 24-2 Charles Keey (South Africa) 28:34.17,3 +2:47.34,8
9. White Inc 61-1 Adrian Enthoven (South Africa) 61-2 Nic White (South Africa) 28:38.03,8 +2:51.21,3
10. NFB - Spine & Sport 32-1 Craig Uria (South Africa) 32-2 Andrew Duvenage (South Africa) 28:48.48,2 +3:02.05,7
2016 Stage 6 Exxaro
1. Exxaro/RMB 81-1 Jan Montshioa (South Africa) 81-2 Thokozani Mahlangu (South Africa) 3:57.15,6
2. Exxaro/Tronox 82-1 Rilamulele Gadabeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tovhowani Mavundadavhi (South Africa) 4:07.14,6 +9.59,0
3. Exxaro/EOH 592-1 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 592-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 4:08.53,2 +11.37,6
1. Exxaro/Tronox 82-1 Rilamulele Gadabeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tovhowani Mavundadavhi (South Africa) 31:23.08,8
2. Exxaro/EOH 592-1 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 592-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 32:35.48,4 +1:12.39,6
3. Exxaro/RMB 81-1 Jan Montshioa (South Africa) 81-2 Thokozani Mahlangu (South Africa) 32:46.19,6 +1:23.10,8
4. DMA - Kargo 423-1 Clement Mabula (South Africa) 423-2 William Mokgopo (South Africa) 33:02.24,2 +1:39.15,4
5. Exxaro/Datacentrix 283-1 Sabelo Mncwabe (South Africa) 283-2 Masala Khumbudzo (South Africa) 34:42.02,8 +3:18.54,0
6. CPUT / PPS 499-1 Seraj Abrahams (South Africa) 499-2 Mthetheleli Boya (South Africa) 37:23.58,9 +6:00.50,1
7. Exxaro/PwC 2 632-1 Johnny Tauyatswala (South Africa) 632-2 Rozalia Kubwana (South Africa) 40:44.32,6 +9:21.23,8