For a 3rd time in a row at this years Epic the Songo-Specialized by DCM riders Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander crossed the line in first place. They completed the tough 27km course in a time of 1:05,15,0 and are now 7 minutes and 6 seconds behind the leaders, having closed the gap for the last three days. They were followed by another South African Kevin Evans and his Austrian partner Alban Lakata (Team MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon) in a time of 1:06.25 with the German Bulls Team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm in third place in a time of 1:06.29.
The Bulls Team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm are still in the overall lead (18:10.50,2).Team MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon remain in second position overall (18:17.04,9), while Songo-Specialized by DCM are in third position overall (18:17.56,3). The Flückiger brothers of Trek World Racing, Mathias and Lukas, remain in fourth place overall (18:36.50,2) with Bart Brentjens and Jelmer Pietersma of Trek-Brentjens in fifth place overall (18:37.06,9).
Max Knox and Brandon Stewart of DCM Chrome finished in tenth place today (1:10.46,8) and successfully defended the African Leader jersey. They remain in the eleventh place overall (18:58.18,4).
Says Christoph Sauser of Songo-Specialized by DCM: “We knew it’s going to be hard to do a time trial in the middle of a stage race. Luckily, I recovered well from yesterday. Burry felt even better, but he was so excited about this onehour stage, that I could already feel it this morning. We were going very fast today and I knew we were in the lead. Today was quite dusty behind Burry and I was kind of riding blind going into the downhills. I’m probably slightly better at the downhills so I can take more risks. It was ideal that I was behind him, although normally it’s better if the weaker one follows in the downhill and can catch up right away in the uphill.” Sauser believes racing at the Absa Cape Epic starts from the very first day on. “Tomorrow you can have a big mechanical and the race is over. We’ll still go for every stage win and ride as if there’s no tomorrow.”
Karl Platt of the overall leading Bulls Team jokingly said that if the course was longer, perhaps they could have caught up with Sauser and Stander. “We’re like family and joking with each other all the time. We’re all such fierce sportsmen and always show respect when someone’s faster. Today was a fun course. The downhill was very fast and I really like that. I was also feeling very strong – a bit nervous at the start as we had a long wait before we could take off and that makes you think too much. But once we took off my whole body just wanted to go. Now our time begins – our legs recover well and our bodies are in the rhythm of the race. Tomorrow is a long stage but we’ll be going at full blast from now on. The race starts now – and it’s still open.”
Kevin Evans of Team MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon, finished in second place today. “With the time trials you give your everything, so the other guys are obviously stronger. We came second to two World Champions and don’t feel too bad. It was a good race.” Lakata adds: “I suffered a bit today as my legs are still sore, but Kevin is feeling strong. Perhaps he could’ve gone for victory today, but you have to stay together and today was just not my day. We still have three days to go and hopefully tomorrow we’ll do better.”
Tim Böhme of the second Bulls team in the race finished in fifth place today (1:07.28,2). “I really enjoyed today as it gave us the opportunity to show that we could also ride fast. We could race at our own pace and go at full speed. We didn’t need to fix bikes for our team mates. Although the trial ride is not without pain and suffering, we had fun – it was nice! With the one minute interval between the start of riders, we could also see what was going on ahead of us. It was more difficult to see the riders behind you.”
José Hermida of Multivan Merida, again finished in fourth place today (1:06.35,1) and remains in tenth position overall. “Today’s course was cross-country, which I really enjoyed – in fact, I think everyone enjoyed it. I could find myself again and we just needed to find good places to push hard. After the first 6km we took off. The course was challenging and we had fun. I don’t really care about a podium finish, the fun we had was the podium.”
Images courtesy sportzpics.net