Dominance consolidated on Stage 1 of Absa Cape Epic

Riders pass by a damduring stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019. Photo by Dwayne Senior/Cape Epic PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

Riders pass by a damduring stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019.
Photo by Dwayne Senior/Cape Epic
PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

Stage 1 of the Absa Cape Epic was a day of consolidation with both the top men and women growing their leads significantly after a tough 111km day which started and finished in Hermanus on Monday.

Prologue winners Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) increased their lead in the Women’s race with a dominant performance that saw them ride away from their rivals early and set up a lonely journey back to the start/finish.
After their nearest rivals allowed the Danish / Dutch pair to break away on the early climbs out of Hermanus, the Investec-songo-Specialized team grew their overnight lead to a huge five-minute 42-second advantage. Kross-Spur Racing’s Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) and Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) are second after finishing Stage 1 over three minutes behind.
Such is the dominance of the leaders that Wloszczowska admitted afterwards that they “did not even try and stay with (Langvad and Van der Breggen). If we had tried to go with them at the beginning we would have killed ourselves.”
In contrast, the Men’s category was a tough battle for nearly 80km until the all-Swiss pairing of Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing) finally saw off the challenge of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) with a brutally efficient tactical attack.
Earlier a three-team break looked ready to fight to the finish, but Sam Gaze had a fall which cracked his helmet and left him groggy – and meant he and his Investec-songo-Specialized partner, defending champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, faded back into the chasing group and out of contention for stage honours.
The remaining two teams only split with about 30km to go when Forster and Schurter launched a clinical tactical attack that left the Cannondale pair with no chance of fighting back. In the end Schurter and Forster crossed the line 2:51 ahead of the Cannondale Factory team to extend their lead to 3:33 overall. Pre-race co-favourites Gaze and Kulhavy moved up to third overall despite their troubles.
The leading bunch during stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019. Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

The leading bunch during stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019.
Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic
PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

The race for the Absa African Men’s Jersey saw Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (SpecializedFoundationNAD) grow their lead to ten minutes after Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes struggled in the heat at the end of the stage. The PYGA Euro Steel pair have now slipped back to third behind Imbuko Giant’s Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens.

The Absa African Women’s Jersey race was a triumph for the dormakaba Ladies combination of Samantha Sanders and Amy Mcdougall who are now a massive 42 minutes clear of Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill.
Crowd favourite and former World Champion Jose Hermida and his Merida Factory Racing partner, Joaquim Rodriguez, grew their lead in the Dimension Data Masters category by almost 11 minutes and now lead the Dutch pair of Erik Dekker and Maarten Tjallingii (IBS Capital Allies) by over 14 minutes.
In the Grand Masters, Brazilian Abraao Azevedo and former winner Bart Brentjens  (CST Sandd Bafang) added another seven minutes to the advantage they gained in the Prologue and will take a 8:30 lead into Stage 2. Team Meerendal’s Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber are second with Progressive Livestock’s Shaun Portegys and Timothy O’Leary third, just three minutes further behind.
German husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) added to their lead in the Virgin Active Mixed category and now enjoy a 16-minute advantage over the Spanish pairing of Ramona Gabriel Batalla and Antonio Moreno Ortega (Garmin Ixcor). Miller Paneling’s David Miller and Shayna Powless from the USA are third, five minutes further behind.
The leading bunch during stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019. Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

The leading bunch during stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019.
Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic
PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

The only jersey to see a change in leader from the Prologue was in the Exxaro race, where Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree) took over the lead from Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) who have slipped down to third, just behind Exxaro Pepto Sport’s Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana.

Tuesday’s Stage 2 is relatively short in kilometres, but with 2 250m of climbing packed into the 90km stage from Hermanus to Oak Valley, the day will still be a tough test likely to be remembered as brutal.
 

Straw bale sculpture on stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019. Photo by Dwayne Senior/Cape Epic PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

Straw bale sculpture on stage 1 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 18th March 2019.
Photo by Dwayne Senior/Cape Epic
PLEASE ENSURE THE APPROPRIATE CREDIT IS GIVEN TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER AND ABSA CAPE EPIC

Dimension Data Masters Stage Results

1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 04:45.22,5
2. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 04:56.18,9 +10.56,4
3. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 05:07.43,4 +22.20,9
Overall Results
1. Merida Factory Racing 59-1 Jose Hermida (Spain) 59-2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) 05:34.08,8
2. IBS Capital Allies 64-1 Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 64-2 Maarten Tjallingii (Netherlands) 05:48.07,6 +13.58,8
3. MITAS HEAD NEW RACE 63-1 Ondrej Fojtik (Czech Republic) 63-2 José Silva (Portugal) 06:00.31,6 +26.22,8
Grand Masters Stage Results
1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 05:09.11,1
2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 05:16.19,0 +7.07,9
3. Progressive Livestock 274-1 Shaun Portegys (New Zealand) 274-2 Timothy OLeary (New Zealand) 05:17.58,0 +8.46,9
Overall Results
1. CST Sandd Bafang 66-1 Abraao Azevedo (Brazil) 66-2 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands) 06:02.17,4
2. Meerendal 65-1 Barti Bucher (Switzerland) 65-2 Hans Juerg Gerber (Switzerland) 06:10.47,5 +8.30,1
3. Progressive Livestock 274-1 Shaun Portegys (New Zealand) 274-2 Timothy OLeary (New Zealand) 06:13.47,3 +11.29,9
Virgin Active Mixed Stage Results
1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 05:21.23,5
2. Garmin Ixcor 71-1 Ramona Gabriel Batalla (Spain) 71-2 Antonio Moreno Ortega (Spain) 05:33.03,1 +11.39,6
3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 05:36.47,3 +15.23,8
Overall Results
1. TBR-Werner 72-1 Sebastian Stark (Germany) 72-2 Laura Stark (Germany) 06:15.25,2
2. Garmin Ixcor 71-1 Ramona Gabriel Batalla (Spain) 71-2 Antonio Moreno Ortega (Spain) 06:31.51,4 +16.26,2
3. Miller Paneling 226-1 David Miller (United States of America) 226-2 Shayna Powless (United States of America) 06:36.45,2 +21.20,0
Absa African Men Stage Results
1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 04:33.00,9
2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 04:39.34,5 +6.33,6
3. DSV Pro Cycling 28-1 Julian Jessop (South Africa) 28-2 Arno Du Toit (South Africa) 04:42.42,2 +9.41,3
Overall Results
1. SpecializedFoundationNAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 05:18.04,9
2. IMBUKO GIANT 35-1 Marco Joubert (South Africa) 35-2 Nicol Carstens (South Africa) 05:28.05,7 +10.00,8
3. PYGA Euro Steel 7-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 7-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 05:29.49,9 +11.45,0
Absa African Women Stage Results
1. dormakaba Ladies 55-1 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 55-2 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 05:25.38,2
2. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 05:38.24,5 +12.46,3
3. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 06:47.06,8 +1:21.28,6
Overall Results
1. dormakaba Ladies 55-1 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 55-2 Amy Mcdougall (South Africa) 06:23.01,1
2. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 07:05.13,7 +42.12,6
3. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46-2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 07:56.02,7 +1:33.01,6
Exxaro Jersey Stage Results
1. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 05:29.21,9
2. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 05:36.09,2 +6.47,3
3. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 05:45.47,6 +16.25,7
Overall Results
1. BMT Fairtree 446-1 Luyanda Thobigunya (South Africa) 446-2 Baphelele Mbobo (South Africa) 06:23.44,0
2. Exxaro Pepto Sport 81-1 Sean Baloyi (South Africa) 81-2 Anele Mtalana (South Africa) 06:32.54,4 +9.10,4
3. EXXARO/PWC 1 82-1 Lucky Mlangeni (South Africa) 82-2 Tshepo Tlou (South Africa) 06:39.42,1 +15.58,1