Absa Cape Epic - Stage 3

March 18 — 2015 | Elgin Valley, South Africa

Sauser and Kulhavy Extend Lead, Kleinhans and Langvad Overcome Penalty

Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser spent another day at the sharp end of the field, driving the leaders group over sandy terrain in temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, then motoring away with 20k left to go to put another 15 seconds into their nearest competitors. The big story from today, though, was in the women's race. After being penalized an hour and thirteen minutes on yesterday's stage, Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans put in a monster effort to finish nearly a half-hour ahead of Team World Bicycle Relief and retake their place on top of the GC. While today's stage was considered something of a "transfer stage," it was clear from the expression on most riders' faces that the heat, sand, and sun had taken their toll. 

We mentioned Reuben van Niekerk (pictured above) in yesterday's coverage, who in 2014 became the first lower limb amputee to finish Cape Epic. We're happy to report that Reuben made the time cutoff today, by a scant 10 minutes, and had this to say, "It was a hard start with about 1200m climbing in the first 40 km. From there on it was very up and down with short sharp climbs and gnarly descents that kept you on your toes. But my Tallboy is at home in these conditions and allows me to make up mega time on competitors overtaking in the rough stuff and washaways without a problem. There was one sandy section where I walked for 35 mins! The last 27km was flat and fast and into a headwind. I only had a 100 mins to do this after a 9 hour ride, but I was really motivated to get to the finish,  so II just put my head down and kept the average speed up. It was really great to get to the finish with about ten minutes to spare. Now to recover and do it all again tomorrow." 

All photos copyright Gary Perkin, used with permission. 

Reuben Van Niekerk finishes Stage 3 in 10h21 - just 9 minutes before cut off. He was later handed a penalty for seperating from his partner Dagmar Muhlbauer. Reuben told her to ride on when he was suffering, fearing he may not make the cut off. ​


The start of the day went up the base of Groenlandberg near where we climbed and descended on stage 1.


Sand, dust, wind and long distances made for one tough day.


The Overberg area produces some great wines and the riders wound their way through many of those vineyards today.​


The causeway over the Brandvlei dam produced some classic imagery from the #PapaYankeeEcho.​


After a brutal 128km stage Barney's Army (L to R) Shane Chorley, John Smit, Butch James, and John Slade finished together in just under 9 hours.



Be sure to check out our coverage from Stage 2, Stage 1, and the Prologue

Previous Next Post Links