Posted by Editoress on 03/31/07
Absa Cape Epic South Africa
Team Bulls take the 2007 Absa Cape Epic
Photos by from Frank Bodenmüller - www.mtbsector.com
In a gripping finish, starting the day with only a three and a half minute overall lead after seven gruelling stages, Karl Platt (Ger) and Stefan Sahm (Ger) of Team Bulls have won the toughest and most competitive Absa Cape Epic yet. The German team, that has won the hearts of almost everyone following the race over the past eight days, was overwhelmed when they crossed the finish line in Lourensford with an overall time of thirty three hours, eight minutes and 0.7 seconds, just three minutes ahead of closest competitors Roel Paulissen (Bel) and Jakob Fugslang (Den) of Cannondale-Vredestein 1 who tried everything to turn the tables on the last stretch.
"This is absolutely unbelievable. To win the Absa Cape Epic again after 2004 and with such a competitive, world class field at the start, blows me away. I want to thank everyone who cheered for us and who believed in us. The crowds along the way were rooting for us, shouting 'go bulls, go!' Words cannot express what this victory means to us." Third place was taken by Bart Brentjens (Ned) and Rudi van Houts (Ned) of Team Dolphin Mountainbike who seemed to have found their stride in the second half of this year's race with two out of eight stage wins.
The final stage of the Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race was won in a sprint finish by Swiss Team Texner-Stoeckli's Thomas Zahnd (Sui) and Sandro Spaeth (Sui) in a time of three hours, twenty four minutes and 51.3 seconds. "We've been trying, for the past three years, to win a stage at this race. The fact that it worked out this year, in the final stage, with the best riders ever, is awesome."
The best African Team in the race was Raleigh MTN Energade 1 with Kevin Evans (RSA) and Brandon Stewart (RSA). They completed the eight stages in a total time of thirty five hours, three minutes and 38.8 seconds in seventh position overall.
The Masters, Mixed and Ladies races were all taken by South Africans, with Andrew McLean (RSA) and Damian Booth (RSA) of Cycle Lab taking the Absa Cape Epic Masters title. Yolande Speedy and Paul Cordes of IMC/Mongoose won then Mixed classification by nearly seventeen and a half minutes while Anke Erlank and Yolande de Villiers of Team Duravit took the ladies top position with a four hour and twenty minute lead. "I would have been perfectly satisfied just winning this race but Yolande wanted to push for a top twenty position overall. We came close once or twice but it meant that I had to extend my limits every single day. I'm glad it's over now because this was the toughest Absa Cape Epic ever."
Stage eight took physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted riders through 80 kilometres of exquisite Winelands territory, with a total climb of 1 285 metres. After following the Palmiet river, riders passed through the apple orchards of Elgin and Grabouw working their way to the summit of Sir Lowry's pass, where they were forced to carry their bikes down a slippery one kilometre descent, over the historic national heritage site of the Voortrekkers ox wagon trail. In Lourensford, thousands of supporters welcomed the winning riders and over 1000 proud finishers. The crowd, a sea of red vuvuzelas, saw the 2007 Absa Cape Epic come to a heroic and festive end.
Out of 603 teams that started last Saturday in Knysna, 468 completed all eight torturous stages - 278 Men, 125 Masters, 52 Mixed and 13 Ladies Teams crossed the finish line in Lourensford today and make up a finisher rate of 77.6 percent. However, only 15.7 percent of the total number of riders dropped out of the race as 81 Absa Cape Epic participants whose team partner pulled out, continued to ride and become proud finishers. Tonight they will present themselves in the highly coveted finisher T-shirts and indulge a sumptuous feast at the Absa Cape Epic award banquet.
Stage 8: Kleinmond to Lourensford Wine Estate/ Somerset West, 80km
1. Team Texner-Stoeckli (Thomas Zahnd /SandroSpaeth) 3:24.51
2. Cannondale-Vredestein 1 (Roel Paulissen/Jakob Fuglsang) at 0:04
3. Team Bulls (Karl Platt/Stefan Sahm) 0:14
4. Trek Volkswagen Racing (Alban Lakata /Roman Peter) 0:44
5. Dolphin Mountainbike Team (Bart Brentjens/Rudi van Houts) 1:44
6. Multivan Merida Biking Team 1 (Ralf Naf/Jose Hermida) 7:17
7. Raleigh Mtn Energade 2 (Mannie Heymans/Melt Swanepoel) 7:29
8. Giant/Athleticum (Silvio Bundi/Gion Manetsch), 10:23
9. Absa Africa (DavidKinjah Njau/Davidson Kamau Kihagi) 11:24
10. Team Stevens (Johannes Sickmueller)/Rene Birkenfeld) 11:33
1. Team Bulls (Karl Platt/Stefan Sahm), 33:08:00
2. Cannondale-Vredestein 1 (Roel Paulissen/Jakob Fuglsang) at 4:24
3. Dolphin Mountainbike Team (Bart Brentjens/Rudi van Houts) 43:24
1. Maloja-BTS Time For Travel (Ivonne Kraft/Nico Pfitzenmaier) 3:59:33
2. IMC/Mongoose (Yolande Speedy/Paul Cordes) at 2:41
3. Absa Pro Mixed (Geddan Ruddock/Jean Ann McKirdy), 9:07
1. IMC/Mongoose (Yolande Speedy/Paul Cordes) 39:06:06
2. Maloja-BTS Time For Travel (Ivonne Kraft/Nico Pfitzenmaier) at 17:37
3. Absa Pro Mixed (Geddan Ruddock/Jean Ann McKirdy) 1:21:10
1. Absa Masters (Onselen van Linus/Doug Brown) 3:52:20
2. Cycle Lab (Andrew McLean/Damian Booth ) at 0:06
3. Team Checkers (Andre Viljoen/Guy Pike) 3:45
33. Crazy Canucks (Andrew Hunt/John Thompson), 1:01:59
1. Cycle Lab (Andrew McLean/Damian Booth ) 37:48:34
2. Absa Masters (Onselen van Linus/Doug Brown) at 25:39
3. Red Mongoose (M.C. Franken/Fred Coleske) 1:20:18
32. Crazy Canucks (Andrew Hunt/John Thompson)
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