The German team of Hannes Genze and Jochen Käss (Multivan Merida Biking) beat the South African/Swiss team of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser (36ONE Songo Specialized) in a sprint finish by 2,8 seconds, securing their first stage win in the stage of the Absa Cape Epic.
Stage 3 was 125km, with 1900m of climbing between Saronsberg/Tulbagh and Worcester.
Stander and Sauser still lead overall by 6 minutes and 15 seconds, with three times winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (Bulls team) in fourth place overall and 8 minutes and 32 seconds behind the leaders.
With an overall time of 14 hours, 40 minutes and 29,3 seconds, the 36ONE Songo Specialized team will wear the yellow leader jersey for Stage 4 on Thursday.
In third place, with their first podium finish this year, were Bart Brentjens and Jeroen Boelen of Milka-Trek in 5:06.49,1 (overall 15:11.25,9) with the Bulls team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm in fourth (5:07.44,4; overall 14:42.46,0).
Nicolas Vermeulen and Kevin van Hoovels (team Versluys-Evenza) again finished in fifth place in 5:10.10,2 (overall 15:00.03,4)
Käss said it was a great day for them: “About 20km from the finish, we broke away from the Bulls team and carried on riding with Sauser and Stander. We’re extremely happy with our stage win. I trained differently to previous winters and it obviously worked. We’re in good shape. This stage win is excellent motivation for us to perhaps finish on the podium on Sunday (final stage) and perhaps we can even finish in second place overall.”
Stander said: “We’re happy with our overall result and weren’t fighting for stage win. We’re ahead of the Bulls overall. We stayed with the Multivan Merida Biking team and they broke away in the last 2 km. We let them know if you want to win a stage, you have to earn it. This stage was very hard – I’ve never experienced something so tough. It was 5 hours of pain and at one point I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. There were rocks everywhere and the first 50km felt like we’ll be riding all day. Eventually we hit the tar. I take my hat off to anyone who finishes this stage!”
Mannie Heymans and Adrien Niyonshuti (team Garmin adidas MTN) are the leaders in the African Jersey with an overall time of 15:34.00,8, followed by Paul Cordes and Charles Keey (MTN/Qhubeka) in 16:12.51,6.
In third place are Brandon Stewart and Shan Wilson (Toyota DCM) in 16:15.09,6.
In the Ladies Category yesterday’s leading team Eva Lechner and Nathalie Schneitter (team Colnago Arreghini Südtirol) received a time penalty of one hour. They were penalised for breaking rule 23.1 and 23.4 of the Absa Cape Epic. Riders are not allowed any outside assistance with regards to spares, equipment and nutrition.
Sally Bigham and Karien Van Jaarsveld (team USN) were in the Leader jersey out of Tulbagh this morning and proved their competence by also winning stage 3 in a time of 6:43.35,9 (overall 19:25.14,6). They were followed by Hanlie Booyens and Ischen Stopforth of Absa aBreast in 6:48.40,6 (overall 19:47.21,1) with their first podium finish, ahead of Naomi Hansen and Jodie Willett of adidas who finished third in 6:55.45,3 (overall 20:22.00,7). Lechner and Schneitter lead by 22 minutes and 6 seconds.
In the Master’s Category The Juwi team (Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts) won the stage for the fourth consecutive day in 5:35.20,0 (overall 16:05.34,2). They were again followed by Robert Sim and Doug Brown of the Robert Daniel team in 5:50.14,0 (overall 16:47.22,8) with the Nandos team of Adrian Enthoven and Gerrie Beukes again in third place in 5:55.00,2 (overall 17:12.19,3). The Juwi team lead by 41 minutes and 49 seconds.
In the Mixed category, the Wheeler – BIXS team, Bärti Bucher and Esther S?ss, again won the Mixed category in 6:13.10,8 (overall 17:29.20,4), again followed by Erik Kleinhans and Ariane Lüthi (of Contego Giant Sludge) in 6:17.48,2 (overall 18:07.35,2). The Swiss/German team of Klaus Steinkeller and Kerstin Brachtendorf (FIAT Rotwild) achieved their first podium finish in 6:36.29,0 (overall 19:01.32,7).
The Wheeler – Bixs team lead by 38 minutes and 15 seconds.