The pace was always going to be on, on a relatively short stage of the Epic, but the main contenders left the chute like it was a XC race with a world title on the line – such is the importance of the Epic title to those who are trying to win it.
With district roads, and favoured single track, it would be difficult to put time into the best mountain bikers in the world – but Sauser and Kulhavy did manage to do just that – taking the stage win and putting a 1minute 50 sec into their rivals and current leaders (Fumic and Avancini) who remain in the Leaders Jersey going into Stage 4.
In order to do this required setting a relentless pace and hope that fatigue would get to the shorter distance specialists who are leading the race at the moment. Given the heat and the current conditions (dry, dusty) made it an onerous task. 5 times Epic winner Sauser and his former world champion partner Kulhavy did manage to do that, proving just how important a 6th title is to Sauser. Clearly his return from retirement was for a good reason.
Team Pyga Euro Steel
Being consistent with their great result yesterday, the team managed another 7th position finish, clawing back some time over rivals who are above them in the GC.
Mountain biking mecca
In a valley full of single track aimed specifically at attracting the mountain bikers to the region, the relatively short stage would be fun for most. However the race pace was on from the gun – game on for another hard day in the saddle.
No easy stages
Having suffered a massive crash, Sabine Spitz (51-1) was up for the challenge to fight all the way to the wire to win the race. Managing the Stage win, from Ladies leaders Suss & Stenerhag, they had some consolation for the pain suffered.
The drought has lead to dust – lots of it and is not ideal for mountain biking, high heart rates and rapid breathing.
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