Absa Cape Epic 2018 - Stage 3 - #EpicEnergadeMoments

Absa Cape Epic 2018 - Stage 3 - #EpicEnergadeMoments

mtb Video
Published 22 March 2018


Stage 3’s transition from Robertson to Worcester might be the longest stage of this year’s race but with just 1800m of ascent spread over 122km, it is also the flattest. Ideal conditions then for the turbodiesel-powered weapons like Jaroslav Kulhavy (Investec Songo Specialized) and the marathon maestros, Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek (Canyon Topeak). Despite yesterday’s gruelling puncture-induced efforts – in which Howard Grotts took tremendous strain chasing back the leaders – it was Investec Songo Specialized who piled on the pressure by driving the pace.
The breakaway was firmly established at the 29km marker where Investec Songo Specialized gained the virtual lead with a 2.24,4 advantage over the yellow jersey group. The strategy of forcing an early split had paid off and, with Kulhavy and Lakata among the firepower, the average speed at the head of the race reached a staggering 28km/h. Further back Cannondale Factory Racing found themselves surrounded by Buff Scott MTB, Trek Selle San Marco 1, Centurion Vaude, BULLS 2 and KMC EKOÏ SRSuntour.
Like yesterday, Investec Songo Specialized’s efforts were thwarted by a series of costly punctures that gave Canyon Topeak the lead. As he showed yesterday, when it comes to chasing, Jarsoslav Kulhavy knows only one speed – full gas. With Grotts in tow the two reduced the gap in a matter of minutes and moved through the Land Rover Technical Terrain together with Canyon Topeak. Despite finishing just over a minute behind Canyon Topeak, Kulhavy and Grotts were able to steal the yellow jersey away from Cannondale Factory Racing. Grotts, who will become the first American to wear yellow at the Absa Cape Epic, had the following to say about how things played out.
The Investec Songo Specialized team kept their unbeaten record intact in the Women’s category by claiming win number four on the longest stage of the Absa Cape Epic on Wednesday. Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney were able to power away from their rivals who could do nothing to stop their seemingly unshakable surge to the 2018 title on the 122km haul from Robertson to Worcester – and not even a crash into some other riders near the end, which brought both the leaders down, could stop their progress.
While the three-time Women’s category champion and her novice partner were once again handling everything their rivals, the route and even other slower competitors could throw at them, the good news is that the races for second position on each stage are producing some excitement in what would otherwise be something of a procession.

Stage Results

1. Canyon Topeak 7-1 Alban Lakata (AUT) 7-2 Kristian Hynek (CZE) 4:17.14,1
2. InvestecSongoSpecialized 2-1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) 2-2 Howard Grotts (USA) 4:18.25,4 +1.11,3
3. Cannondale Factory Racing 6-1 Manuel Fumic (GER) 6-2 Henrique Avancini (BRA) 4:23.01,4 +5.47,3

1. Investec Songo Specialized 54-1 Annika Langvad (DEN) 54-2 Kate Courtney (USA) 5:04.32,7
2. Spur 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (SUI) 53-2 Githa Michiels (BEL) 5:10.11,8 +5.39,1
3. Ascendis Health 52-1 Sabine Spitz (GER) 52-2 Robyn De Groot (RSA) 5:10.15,0 +5.42,3