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Stander, Sauser lead

The South African/Swiss combination of Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser continued to call the shots at The Absa Cape Epic cycle race on Monday.

After winning the prologue in Tokai on Sunday, the victory was their second on the trot. Riding for 36ONE Songo Specialized) the combination covered the 89 kilometre stage around Tulbagh in a time of 3hr 52min 13 sec they now have an overall time 4:54.54.6).

They were followed by Urs Huber and Konny Looser of the St├Âckli Pro team in 3:53.15 (overall time 4:58.17) with the Bulls 2 team Tim B├Âhme and Thomas Dietsch in third place in 3:54.25 (overall time 4:59.49).

In fourth place was the Bulls team of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (3:56.02; overall time 5:00.38) with Hannes Genze and Jochen Käss of Multivan Merida Biking in fifth place (3:56.02; overall time 5:00.25).

Last year’s winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm are now in fifth position overall, with Sauser and Stander leading them by 5min 43sec.

The big news of the day was that one of the favourite contenders for this year’s title, Kevin Evans (of team 360LIFE), unfortunately had to withdraw after breaking his collar bone.

Said Stander ÔÇ£We rode well today, had good legs and felt comfortable. It wasn’t a day for tactics, just really tough up and down, up and down. Our full suspension bikes definitely worked ÔÇô we could see the other guys were all over the place. We rode at our pace, but had problems with a chain and also a flat near the end, but went full force after that again.

“I’m really sorry about what happened to Kevin. The course was hard and one could lose this race on the downhills as well as your career. We took it steady and luckily didn’t have any big problems.ÔÇØ Team mate Sauser added: ÔÇ£I had a crash early on in the race in one of the downhill sections. One needed to be conservative in the downhills today. I prefer to go full out and not ride on my brakes too much, but you need to bear the next day in mind. I’m also feeling very sorry for Kevin ÔÇô it’s the worst thing that can happen to you. This is the most important race of the year and for this to happen on the second day is really bad luck.ÔÇØ

Eva Lechner and Nathalie Schneitter (team Colnago Arreghini S├╝dtirol) also won the women’s category for the second day in a row in a time of 5:11.16 (overall time 6:31.36), ahead of Sally Bigham and Karien Van Jaarsveld (team USN) in a time of 5:13.11 (overall 6:39.49). Hanlie Booyens and Ischen Stopforth of team Absa aBreast finished in third place in 5:19.13 (6:46.48). Lechner and Schneitter lead by 8 minutes and 12 seconds.

Schneitter said: ÔÇ£I had to work really hard today. I had cramps in my legs. I guess everyone has a bad day and today was mine. I even crashed in a sandy corner — my own fault ÔÇô- because I wasn’t concentrating. We tried to drink a lot from the beginning as we’re not accustomed to this heat.ÔÇØ

Tuesday’s second stage stays in Tulbagh but at 104km in length is 15km further than Monday’s stage and with a daunting 2,300m of climbing. And with temperatures in the valley set to climb to 37 deg Celcius this will not be a day for the faint-hearted.


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