Posted by Editor on 03/5/04
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Cape Epic - South Africa
Stage 6 - Greyton to Franschhoek
Day six of The Cape Epic led the riders through another beautiful scenic mountain bike terrain of the Western Cape and across the famous Franschhoek pass into the flourishing Winelands.
Once again, South African weather did not live up to the expectations of international riders, who had partly trained in the sauna to prepare for African temperatures. Instead of boiling heat, the athletes had to cope with chilly headwinds and heavy afternoon showers. Luckily, all teams had crossed the finish line before the worst downpour started but, being accommodated in camps, the frustration about the bad weather grew with every hour of rainfall.
With an outstanding performance in the sixth stage the popular men in the yellow leader jerseys, Mannie Heymans (Nam) and Karl Platt (Ger) of team Focus-Rocky Mountain, increased their ten minute lead in the overall rankings by another seven and a half minutes. Despite strong headwinds, they literally flew up Franschhoek pass with an average speed of 25 km/h. The two 'untouchables' did not plan today's attack, but took advantage of Karl's road racing experience, and the fact that the German is working like a machine when it comes to riding against headwinds. "We were a bit crossed with the GT guys, because we wanted to slow down when Andi had a flat early in the race", Mannie says. "But they immediately increased their pace and we couldn't just let them go. At Franschhoek pass we rode full blast. Karl put his head down against the wind, I followed, and we left them behind."
Andi Strobel (Ger) was angry at himself. "The puncture was my own fault", he says. "I was the first one to enter the single trail, just in front of Mannie. I felt great today so I pushed hard - too hard. At the TransAlp a puncture is not really a problem. You fix it in two or three minutes and usually it is easy to catch up in a climb. Here the course is much flatter and the pace much higher, so by the time you reach the leading bunch you are finished and cannot keep up with them." But team adidas Fiat Rotwild eventually did manage to catch up and arrived together with the South African teams GT Africa (Jack Rossouw/ Shan Wilson) and Breitling/ Vinyard Hotel with SA champion Geddan Ruddock and Kevin Evans, who secured their second place on today's podium in a sprint finish, but could not threaten the number two position of the German-Austrian team in the overall rankings.
All category leaders were able to defend their Zebra jerseys today.
1 Focus/Rocky Mountain (Mannie Heymans/Karl Platt) 3:30:52
2 Breitling/Vineyard Hotel (Geddan Ruddock/Kevin Evans) at 7:18
3 GT Africa (Jacques Rossouw/Shan Wilson) 7:19
4 Adidas/Fiat Rotwild (Andreas Strobel/Silvio Wieltschnig) 7:20
5 Tom Tailor / Santos / Walkabout 1 (Jaap Viergever/Dennis Teeuwen) 20:28
1 Focus/Rocky Mountain (Mannie Heymans/Karl Platt) 26:11:53
2 Adidas/Fiat Rotwild (Andreas Strobel/Silvio Wieltschnig) at 17:49
3 GT Africa (Jacques Rossouw/Shan Wilson) 27:03
4 Breitling/Vineyard Hotel (Geddan Ruddock/Kevin Evans) 1:21:46
5 Tom Tailor / Santos / Walkabout 1 (Jaap Viergever/Dennis Teeuwen) 1:27:46
1 Yellow Jacket (Hanlie Booyens/Sharon Laws) 4:30:41
2 Smith/Speedy (Yolande Speedy/Christi Smith) at 6:28
3 Cateye - Kenda Enduro Team (Louise Kobin/Hillary Harrison) 6:29
4 Team Fair Lady (Adrienne Cobb/Christelle Van Niekerk) 20:37
5 Team Rotwild /Hr (Monika Birk/Christine Hoelzl) 21:04
10 Canucks2 (Martie Du Plessis/Marlene Van Heerden) 2:13:10
1 Yellow Jacket (Hanlie Booyens/Sharon Laws) 32:34:18
2 Cateye - Kenda Enduro Team (Louise Kobin/Hillary Harrison) at 52:51
3 Smith/Speedy (Yolande Speedy/Christi Smith) 1:20:23
4 Team Rotwild /Hr (Monika Birk/Christine Hoelzl) 3:53:42
5 Team Fair Lady (Adrienne Cobb/Christelle Van Niekerk) 4:01:43
10 Canucks2 (Martie Du Plessis/Marlene Van Heerden) 14:17:29
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