Absa Cape Epic – Final – Sauser and Kulhavy kings of the mountains



José Hermida and Rudi van Houts of Multivan Merida won the final stage of this year’s Absa Cape Epic in 2:22.20,2 in a sprint finish with South Africans Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes of SCOTT Factory Racing in 2:22.21,3. Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel of Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing finished in third place in 2:26.03,6. The Swiss-Czech duo, Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy of team Burry Stander – SONGO finished in fourth place in 2:27.18,9. They dominated this week’s Absa Cape Epic by winning four of the eight-day challenges and proved they are kings of the mountains.

Says Kulhavy of Burry Stander – SONGO: “I had a crash in the last 5km’s. I’m very happy with our victory. It’s perfect for us and Burry’s family. I learnt a lot from Christoph – he is very experienced and this is his second home. It was an amazing week for me.” Adds Sauser: “This year the competition was the toughest. I’ve never won the Absa Cape Epic off the lead. It’s unbelievable! From Stage 4 we never looked back. You can’t look back at the Epic and just take it day by day. We rode for more than 30 hours and with every pedal stroke you had to push. It’s the whole three months that lead up to the event that is important. The pressure is immense as there’s not really a back-up team. We had a few moments at the end, but what counts is getting here. We also had a lot of support from Burry’s family and his fans – that definitely gave us wings too.”

Karl Platt of the Bulls comments: “It was an exciting race. It would’ve been cool if the Yellow Zebra leader jersey changed hands every day. We were hoping for a win but in the end we did everything we could. Today we had no bullets left. We’re happy with second place. It was a great performance for the Bulls as we have two teams on the podium.”

José Hermida of Multivan Merida jokingly says: “Today was a really hard stage, but we both wanted that big bottle of champagne. That’s what motivated us to win this stage.” Van Houts adds: “It was a hard day but we’re very happy to finish the Absa Cape Epic on a high.”

Jaroslav Kulharvy(Czech Republic) of Burry Stander-Songo and Christoph Sauser(Switzerland) of Burry Stander-Songo take the overall win during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2013 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Stellenbosch to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, South Africa on the 24 March 2013 Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

Absa African Jersey

The Absa African Leader jersey was won by Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes of SCOTT Factory Racing in an overall time of 30:47.43,2. Says Matthys Beukes of SCOTT Factory Racing: “It was very hard today and I rode beyond what I thought I was capable of. We’re delighted with our podium finish and very grateful. We did much better than we expected to do.” Adds his teammate Philip Buys: “My legs were surprisingly good today. I struggled at the start but soon got used to the pain. We were leading with the Mervida team for most of the way.”

Exxaro Jersey

Prince Maseko and Phillimon Sebona of Exxaro PwC Academy 1 won the Exxaro jersey in an overall time of 37:08.33,7. Says Prince: “I’m very happy. It’s like a dream come true. We experienced a lot riding with the professionals. Today I rode with Sauser for part of the way which was fantastic. I’m really happy.” Sebona adds: “I’m so happy to be at the finish after 8 days of fighting. I’d like to thank my partner for pushing me and I hope Exxaro will be proud of us this year. You don’t remember the suffering and the pain. It’s all temporary, but the happiness if there forever. I’d like to thank Exxaro for everything.”

Ladies Category

Yolande Speedy and Catherine Williamson (Energas) won the category in an overall time of 38:58.51,9. In second place overall were the Pragma Volcan Ladies Hanlie Booyens and Ischen Stopforth in 40:32.56,3, with C-Bear’s Sara Mertens and Laura Turpijn in third place in 41:11.13,5. C-bear won today’s stage in 3:18.57,9.

Yolande Speedy of Energas says: “It was better than I thought and we played it safe knowing we had the lead. We kept it steady on the climbs and I was very careful on the downhills. We’re very happy that we made it and we had amazing support. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. It’s amazing to take away this win. It’s such a prestigious event.” Says Williamson: “I won’t forget this week in a hurry and it’s a very special win knowing what we’ve been through. We’ve really had the true Epic experience. We just tried to keep humoring Yolande today. I was acting like a marshal. I needed one of those stop-start signs today. We made a lot of friends and they were helping us frequently. This is the biggest victory yet. I won’t forget this one at all. It’s brilliant; it’s massive.”

Says Turpijn of C-Bear: “Three times second and two times first. We knew Yolande unfortunately had to take it easy, but we decided to go for another stage win.” Adds Mertens: “We really wanted it. It’s great! Before it was living the dream but now it’s playing the game with Laura.”

Telkom Business Master’s Category

The Telkom Business Masters category was won by Nico Pftizenmaier and Abraao Azevedo of the Bridge team in an overall time of 32:27.38,4. Bart Brentjens and Robert Sim (Superior-Brentjens 2), won Stage 7 and finished in second place overall in 33:28.57,5. In third place overall were South Africans Neil Bradford and Tim Osrin of HCL/Harvest Foundation 1 in 34:04.22,0.

Pfitzenmaier of team Bridge says: “It feels amazing to win. We had a good race. We took it day by day and became stronger and stronger. It really feels like crossing the finish line of the Tour de France. Today’s stage was tough with a lot of climbing, but the rewards were the magnicifent views. You get into a rhythm and routine, but I’m glad it’s over.”

Grand Masters

Bärti Bucher and Heinz Zoerweg of Songo.info won the Grand Masters in a time of 35:01.16,3. They won all 7 stages as well as the Prologue in this year’s race. In second place overall were Paul Furbank and Chris Brand of Genesis Capital in 37:31.29,6 with Izak Visagie and Peter Stopforth of Cape Style Wines in third place overall in 38:34.00,9.

Says Bärti Bucher of Songo.info: “This is what we worked for – an overall victory at the 10th Absa Cape Epic. It was a great experience once again and I just want to thank my partner Heinz for making the week so great. He was really strong and I enjoyed riding with him. Another Cape Epic that I wont forget.”

Mixed Category

The RE:CM team of Erik and Ariane Kleinhans won their category in a time of 34:59.54,4. In second place were Australians Peta Mullens and Jarrod Moroni of Target TREK-Moronis Bikes in 37:18.49,4 with Exxaro Cycle Lab 1’s Johan Labuschagne and Yolandé de Villiers in third place in 37:27.29,8. Erik and Ariane Kleinhans (RE:CM) won today’s stage in 2:54.44,8.

Says Erik Kleinhans: “It was a fantastic experience and our biggest goal of the year. We’re very glad to be here without any issues. We tried to keep it consistent and we had a safe race. We know how to win these races and were very prepared for this. We’re extremely happy. Ariane was a bit nervous and we made some small mistakes today. Over the last 20km when we came over the big climb, we knew we’d be safe. It’s a fantastic feeling; it’s amazing.” Adds Ariane Kleinhans: “It’s a huge relief. It’s such a long, long way with so many challenges. We had such amazing support from our team RE:CM. It feels really nice and I’m so happy.”

Follow the riders on the live site at www.cape-epic.com, the mobi site (m.cape-epic.com, on Twitter (#absacapeepic), Facebook (www.facebook.com/capeepic) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/absacapeepic).

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