Stage three took riders from Robertson to Caledon – 147km with 2 900m of climbing. The Men’s category of Stage 3 of this year’s Absa Cape Epic was won in a sprint finish by Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized, Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser. They were closely followed by South Africans Kevin Evans and David George of 360Life.
The Men’s category of Stage 2 of this year’s Absa Cape Epic was won in a sprint finish by the Bulls 1 team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm. They were closely followed by Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler of Multivan Merida Biking, with winners of the previous two days Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of Team 36ONE-Songo-Specialized in third place.
As the race’s history tells us, stage one is always a rude awakening for the riders. Combining the length, the climbing, the severity of the trail surfaces and the speed of fresh-legged hares at the front of the field – all was a shock to the system, even for the best prepared. Three major climbs loomed ahead of the athletes.
The South African/Swiss team of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser (team 36ONE Songo Specialized) will wear the sough-after Yellow Zebra Jersey made by Craft, with Kevin Evans and David George wearing the Red Absa African leader jersey. Esther Süss and Sally Bigham (Wheels4Life) will be leading the Ladies in Orange, with Robert Sim and Nico Pfitzenmaier of Robert Daniel Momsen wearing the Telkom Masters Blue jersey.
The widely anticipated Elite Men’s cross country race of the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg delivered all the action, drama and excitement as expected with world number two Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower MTB Racing Team) of Switzerland edging out local hero Burry Stander (Specialized Racing) to claim the spoils in the season opener at Cascades MTB Park.
The world’s best mountain bikers spent a scorching hot day getting to grips with the cross country and downhill courses on the first official training day for the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg that starts today (Friday).
Local downhill star Andrew Neethling posted the second fastest run in the afternoon time straining session, four seconds quicker than world champ Danny Hart, with the day’s fastest time being laid down by Frenchman Cedric Garcia, while the fastest woman on the day was Sabrina Jonnier (FRA).
The cross-country course for the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg hosted its first competition at the weekend, the Momentum Health XCO Internationals, and afterwards the general consensus was that it’s a step up on the 2011 course.
“The guys have found it to be a better course than last year, with more overtaking, shorter climbs, and more technical challenges,” said course designer Nick Floros.
This weekend sees the opening round of the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg presented by Shimano, from 16th to 18th March at Cascades MTB Park.
With riders earning UCI points in the three Momentum Health XCO Internationals, held in KwaZulu-Natal preceding the World Cup, our local SA riders are starting to climb the rankings and move South Africa closer to final qualification for the 2012 London Olympics.