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Absa Cape Epic
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2017 Absa Cape Epic in Pics - March 19-26
Images from the 2017 Absa Cape Epic taking place in the Western Cape countryside.
All the jersey winners on stage after the final stage of the Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage which wound to a grand finale at the Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.
Nino Schurter and partner Matthias Stirnemann claimed their maiden Absa Cape Epic crown after taking a seven-minute lead into the grande finale over a seven-minute gap over second-placed Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy. Nicola Rohrbach and Daniel Geismayr of Centurion Vaude finished third. “The plan was to come here in 2018 and win, but we are a year early!” said Schurter. “This is very special. To win the Olympics and then come to South Africa and win the Cape Epic, that is great," said Schurter.
A year after having heart surgery Jennie Stenerhag wept on Sunday as she and Esther Süss won the Absa Cape Epic Women’s category. “I can’t stop crying. I am so happy … it is just unbelievable,” said Swede Stenerhag. “I don’t know what date it is today, but I think it is four days until exactly a year after my heart operation.” Stenerhag pulled out of the race while lying second in 2016 and then had surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. "Since that day my biggest goal was to try and come back to win this race.”
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STAGE 6 - Nino Schurter and his Scott-Sram MTB Racing teammate Matthias Stirnemann were comfortable winners of the 103km Stage 6. They take a seven-minute lead into the final stage. “I don’t know what happened today, but it was much less suffering than yesterday! It was a good day on the bike,” said Stirnemann. “Every day I feel like I am getting stronger on the bike. I recovered well last night; that showed this morning when I could get my rhythm a lot quicker.”
Mariske Strauss and Annie Last of Team Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro won the sixth stage of the Absa Cape Epic and moved to second overall on the standings. Race leaders Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag of Meerendal CBC finished second and extended their overall lead.
STAGE 5 - Nino Schurter & Matthias Stirnemann of SCOTT-SRAM MTB raced to the stage win and overall lead after they beat Scott-SRAM Young Guns' Michiel Van der Heijden Andri Frischknecht in a sprint finish. Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy finished third on the stage. “It’s absolutely amazing to win the stage,” said Schurter. “On the first big climb of the day I noticed that Christoph was struggling; that’s when we decided to go for it. Both the SCOTT teams were feeling good, so it’s great that we have now taken two stages for the team.”
The leading women's teams of Sabine Spitz and Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) and Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag (Meerendal CBC) battled it out again on stage 5 before Suss crashed seven kilometres from the finish. Stenerhag had to stop to help her teammate but they couldn't do enough to eat into the lead of Spitz and De Groot. “I thought it was the end of our race. We had to stop there and try to tangle her out of her bike first of all, and then get going. She is a little bit sore on her chest," said Stenerhag. “We then had to go really hard and I put down everything I had to try and get back. We got back on with two kays to go and I am just really happy we came in together."
STAGE 4 - Race debutants Andri Frischknecht and Michiel Van der Heijden of the SCOTT-SRAM Young Guns team took the stage win ahead of Nino Schurter and partner Matthias Stirnemann of the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing team. Overall leaders Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini finished third.
Meerendal CBC's Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag extended their lead after winning the stage after taking advantage of second-placed Sabine Spitz and Robyn de Groot's misfortune. The Ascendis Health team were slowed by Spitz slicing the sidewall of her front tyre. “We had a really bad sidewall cut pretty much on the pressure point on the day,” said Spitz’s partner, South African Robyn de Groot. “It was just really bad luck and our day changed from a matter of trying to gain anything we could on the leaders, to rather trying to limit our losses."
STAGE 3 - Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Investec-Songo-Specialized team claimed a second consecutive stage win and ate into the lead of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini after a successful assult on the final climb. Nino Schurter and Matthias of Scott-Sram MTB RacingStirnemann finished second while Nicola Rohrbach and Daniel Geismayr of Centurion Vaude finished third.
The race for the Hansgrohe Women’s category title between teams Meerendal CBC and Ascendis Health continued to stay tight as they finished closely on the stage with Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz getting the win ahead of Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag in a sprint finish. These two teams have dominated the women’s race so far and between them have won all four of the stages. De Groot and Spitz lead by almost nine minutes but that can easily be made up.
STAGE 2 - Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser (Investec-Songo-Specialized) were first in a sprint over the line to claim their first stage win of the 2017 edition. The weather conditions experienced at this year’s event saw the organisers make a decision based on medical advice late on Monday night to shorten Stage 2 to 62km.
Jennie Stenerhag (pictured) and Esther Suss of Meerendal CBC claimed their second stage win in two days as they beat out their nearest rivals, Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz of Ascendis Health. They took an eight minutes and 58 seconds. Defending champion Ariane Lüthi and her new partner Adelheid Morath of Team Spur finished third.
STAGE 1 - Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini of the Cannondale Factory Racing XC team claimed their second stage win to take a nine-minute overall lead. “Our plan was to get to the front and stay there. That way we could control the pace,” Fumic said. “The plan worked very well for us today. It was hot out there, very hot, but we came out on top and are very pleased.”
Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag of Meerendal CBC sweated their way to a big stage win for a nie-minute lead over second-placed Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz. “We are now in the lead but so much can happen through the whole race. We must look after ourselves and not worry about the other riders and how they are riding,” said Suss.
PROLOGUE - Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing XC) powered through the 26km course to win the prologue. “We are very happy with the result,” he said Fumic. “Our plan was to put up a good time and that’s exactly what we did. Obviously the Prologue is a cross-country day and that really suits us."
© Gallo Images
Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz of Ascendis Health claimed the top step on the podium after the prologue. “We really enjoyed the route today," said De Groot. "It was so nice doing what we love doing today. The plan was to take it at is comes and it went perfectly so we had a very good Prologue today."
The Absa Cape Epic is a seven-stage race that makes is way througgh the Western Cape countryside, starting at the Meerendal Estate and winding through Hermanus, Greyton and Elgin before finishing at the beautiful Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.
© Gallo Images
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