Grape Escape roundup

Stage 2:

The Team Songo-Specialized duo of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser extended their lead on the second day of the Columbia Grape Escape, finishing ahead of a resurgent Team Bulls duo of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm. Solo rider Ralph Näf led the race comfortably, finishing almost a full minute ahead of the nearest rider, stage 1 solo winner Max Knox.

Hanlie Booyens and Jane Seggie of Team Cape Argus Ladies further increased their lead over the rest of the team ladies field, finishing well ahead of the Team Bizhub-fcf duo of Yolandi du Toit and Nicci Grobler.

Stander said after the race that the stage 2 route had some of the best single tracks he’s ever ridden. “The first part of today’s route was quite similar to yesterday, but the last 30kms was incredible, with some steep technical climbs that led into cool winding downhill sections into the finish.”

Second-place finishers Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm said they had a much better race today. “We fell behind a bit yesterday and had to work really hard to catch up. Despite some mechanical issues at the first part of today’s route, we recovered really well and we feel we have some good momentum going for us ahead of tomorrow’s final stage,” said Sahm. The German duo was full of praise for the tracks in the area, saying it reminded them a lot of the tracks back home in Germany. “We’ve been riding around the Wellington area all week and absolutely love it. You hardly notice that the trails are built – they feel so natural, following the contours of the beautiful landscape perfectly.”

Riders lined up at the start at Boland Agricultural High School at 7am this morning in ideal racing conditions, although the clear skies and windless conditions hinted at the high temperatures expected during the day.

David Bellairs, Marketing and Sponsorship Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, says he is encouraged by the great feedback from riders. “This year’s redesigned route is proving to be a big hit with the professional riders. With tomorrow’s final stage ending at Boschendal, and with most of the top guys also taking part in Sunday’s ultra-distance Cape Argus Pick n Pay Mountain Bike Challenge, we are hoping that the incredibly hot, dry weather subsides a little to allow the riders to fully enjoy the beautiful route.”

Stage 2 – Race Results

Team Men 1st: Burry Stander / Christoph Sauser (Team Songo-Specialized) (02:36:34)

Team Men 2nd: Karl Platt / Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls) (02:38:06)

Team Men 3rd: Tim Böhme / Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) (02:42:31)

Team Ladies 1st: Hanlie Booyens / Jane Seggie(Cape Argus Ladies) (03:18:42)

Team Ladies 2nd: Yolandi du Toit / Nicci Grobler (Team Bizhub-fcf) (03:20:06)

Team Ladies 3rd: Nicola Walker / Jennie Stenerhag (Thule/Diadora) (03:27:52)

Team Mixed 1st: Erik Kleinhans / Ariane Kleinhans (Team Contego 28E) (03:08:33)

Solo Men 1st: Ralph Näf (02:34:50)

Solo Men 2nd: Max Knox (02:35:31)

Solo Men 3rd: Jacques Rossouw (02:38:30)

Overall Standings

Team Men 1st: Burry Stander / Christoph Sauser (Team Songo- Specialized) (05:19:02)

Team Men 2nd: David George / Kevin Evans (Nedbank Team 360Life) (05:21:15)

Team Men 3rd: Tim Böhme / Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) (05:21:53)

Team Ladies 1st: Hanlie Booyens / Jane Seggie(Cape Argus Ladies) (06:35:50)

Team Ladies 2nd: Yolandi du Toit / Nicci Grobler (Team Bizhub-fcf) (06:45:50)

Team Ladies 3rd: Nicola Walker / Jennie Stenerhag (Thule/Diadora) (06:57:35)

Team Mixed 1st: Erik Kleinhans / Ariane Kleinhans (Team Contego 28E) (06:14:17)

Solo Men 1st: Ralph Näf (05:17:33)

Solo Men 2nd: Max Knox (05:18:02)

Solo Men 3rd: Jacques Rossouw (05:21:39)

Stage 3:

After dominating the men’s team field on all three days of the 2012 Columbia Grape Escape, the Team Songo-Specialized duo of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser claimed a resounding victory today. Second place went to the Team Bulls duo of Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt, while the other Team Bulls duo of Tim Böhme and Thomas Dietsch took third.

Stander said they thoroughly enjoyed the route and had a great time competing against a strong field of riders at this year’s event. “We rarely get the chance to train together so this has been a great opportunity to prepare for the Absa Cape Epic later in the month.”

The equally-dominant female duo of Hanlie Booyens and Jane Seggie, riding for Team Cape Argus Ladies, comfortably won the team ladies category, almost ten minutes ahead of second-placed duo Yolandi du Toit and Nicci Grobler of Team Bizhub-fcf.

Husband-and-wife duo Erik and Ariane Kleinhans maintained a commanding lead in the mixed team category all the way to today’s finish, while Swiss mountain bike prodigy Ralph Näf staved off stiff competition from Jacques Rossouw and Shan Wilson to claim victory in the solo men’s category.

Riders left Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate at 7am this morning in beautifully cool, misty weather that provided welcome relief from the previous day’s intense heat. The third stage route was the toughest of the race, with more than 2000m of vertical ascent and technical fynbos single tracks that only relented 5kms from the finish line.

A visibly pleased David Bellairs, Marketing and Sponsorship Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, said the event exceeded their expectations. “We are extremely happy with how the event turned out over all three days. With a fantastic route, world-class single tracks, a star-studded rider line-up and a great atmosphere at the start and finish areas, we believe that the Columbia Grape Escape is fast establishing itself as a must-do event for any serious mountain bike rider.”

He added that many of the top riders that took part in the Columbia Grape Escape will tackle the newly-introduced 65km route at tomorrow’s Cape Argus Pick n Pay Mountain Bike Challenge. “There are a few pros – such as the Caveman Conrad Stoltz – that did not compete in the Grape Escape but are expected at tomorrow’s race. It should be a great competition!”

Pieter Strobos, Managing Director of Columbia Sportswear, said he had a great time taking part in the race. “The route is expertly put together and great fun to ride, and the event was superbly organised. Even though the race was very challenging, I can’t help but wish it wasn’t over already!”

Overall Race Results

Team Men 1st: Burry Stander / Christoph Sauser (Team Songo- Specialized) (08:14:45)

Team Men 2nd: Stefan Sahm / Karl Platt (Team Bulls) (08:18:56)

Team Men 3rd: Tim Böhme / Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) (08:25:09)

Team Ladies 1st: Hanlie Booyens / Jane Seggie(Cape Argus Ladies) (10:22:44)

Team Ladies 2nd: Yolandi du Toit / Nicci Grobler (Team Bizhub-fcf) (10:40:53)

Team Ladies 3rd: Nicola Walker / Jennie Stenerhag (Thule/Diadora) (10:56:33)

Team Mixed 1st: Erik Kleinhans / Ariane Kleinhans (Team Contego 28E) (10:02:21)

Solo Men 1st: Ralph Näf (08:13:17)

Solo Men 2nd: Jacques Rossouw (08:19:22)

Solo Men 3rd: Shan Wilson (08:30:06)