ABSA Cape Epic video courtesy of TDA Boulder
361 Songo Specialised lay down the challenge
Last years runners up, Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser made a commanding statement today recording the fastest time over the 27 km dry and sketchy Prologue Course at Tokai Forest, Cape Town. Starting strong, they continued to put time into their nearest rivals and had over 90 s by the top of the climb. With 11 km to go, and mainly downhill, the lead stretched further – despite a slight scare with Sauser overshooting a corner and heading the wrong way down some single track. The winning margin was 1 min 38 s back to the Mulitvan Merida team, but most significant was the almost 2 min gap put into defending champions Bulls in 3rd (Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm). With seven stages still to come, the race has hardly begun, but none the less, 2 mins is 2 mins and will have to be found from somewhere….
The rest of the racing was pretty tight, with 2nd – 7th all within a minute of each other. In 4th we see the 360 life all South African team of Kevin Evans and David George, very much keeping the South African dream alive, and its also great to see another Aftican team in Garmin-adidas 2 nicely inside the top ten (8th).
Our Aussie boys of Rockstar Racing (Shaun Lewis and Peter Hatton) had a solid day and sit in a very respectable 16th place (1:09.07) heading into tomorrow’s Stage 1, and whilst 6 and a half mins down on the leaders, the top ten sits tantalisingly close at 1 min 14! A good day for Mike and Will too, 33rd in 1:15.33.
Two Australian women’s teams in Top 10
Debutants, Team Colnago Arreghini Sudtriol, who I will now refer to as Team CAS (as frankly that’s far too long to write!) dominated the women’s prologue with a 6.5 min winning margin (1:20.37) ahead of British Marathon champion Sally Bigham and her South African partner Karien van Jaarsveld (USN). The exciting news for Australian fans though was that team Adidas (Naomi Hansen and Jodie Willet) had a cracker of a ride to come in 3rd (1:26.56) and within 20 s of USN. Let’s hope these girls have a real crack tomorrow and stick with the leaders.
Niki Fisher and Jenni King (Swell / Giant) also crack the top ten (8th) with a time of 1:31.27, but with only the top 5 ladies teams getting the call up into start group A, these girls could struggle to see the leaders all day.
What’s in store?
Tomorrow sees a relatively ‘short’ day at 89 km, but with 2 050 m of climbing we can be sure the race will be blown apart – can’t wait!!!