Also on the fourth day of the Absa Cape Epic it should not fail because of the tension and the South African tragedy. Two of the favorite men's teams suffered severe setbacks on Thursday. Karl Platt from Team Bulls even had to give up the race completely. After his fall on Tuesday, he was increasingly struggling with knee pain, so today he had to throw in the towel after just seven kilometers and let his partner Urs Huber continue the race alone.
“To this day I have been able to complete every stage of the Absa Cape Epic, but the pain was so severe on the first climb today that I could no longer pedal properly. I had no choice, the pain was too great. It annoys me so much because I was in top form and we had a good chance of winning.", said Karl Platt about his end.
Christoph Sauser and Frantisek Rabon, the winners of yesterday's third day, got hit twice. They set a strong pace behind Schurter and Buys, but were prevented from attacking by a broken chain. When trying to get back to the top, Sauser caught his pedals on a rock and fell. Despite chest pains, he put in a strong race that saw them cross the finish line in sixth place at the end of the day.
Schurter and his South African partner Philip Buys celebrated their first win of the day today. Schurter covered the slightly shorter distance of 88 kilometers and so the two XC specialists were able to make up time, especially on the single trails, which they didn't give up even in the flat, fast sections. "Philip is getting stronger by the day... if he keeps this up I'll be struggling really soon", Schurter commented with a smile on the stage win.
Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Käß followed them in second place, 1.26,8m 11.47,5s behind. Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek from the Topeak-Ergon team defended the overall ranking of the men with their solid third place and have a lead of XNUMX:XNUMX minutes due to the problematic drive of Sauser and Rabon.
The women's duo Esther Süss and Sally Bigham, who had been leading to date, already lost valuable time at the beginning of the stage. Suess' damper lost air and so the Swiss rider had to ride in a very uncomfortable seating position throughout the stage. Especially on the many steep climbs, she had to struggle with an ascending front wheel, which cost her valuable strength and therefore time.
Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans, on the other hand, were able to clinch their third win in a row and are now leading the overall ranking for the first time. “Of course it's annoying that it was a mechanical problem, but happiness and suffering are often so close together here. Despite the relatively large lead, we must not rest and continue to attack.", says Kleinhans. jennie Stenerhag and Theresa Ralph drove a consistent race on Thursday and completed the podium with a deficit of 23.44,1:XNUMX minutes.
1. Nino Schurter / Philip Buys (Scott Odlo MTB) 3:46.04,9
2. Markus Kaufmann / Jochen Kaess (Centurion Vaude) +1.26,8
3. Robert Mennen / Kristian Hynek (Topeak Ergon) +1.41,7
4. Roel Paulissen / Riccardo Chiarini (Torpado Factory) +1.57,2
5. Tim Boehme / Simon Stiebjahn (Torpado Factory) +3.01,4
1. Ariane Kleinhans / Annika Langvad (RECM 2) 4:13.08,4
2. Esther Suss / Sally Bigham (Meerendal) +12.33,6
3. Jennie Stenerhag / Theresa Ralph (Cape Brewing Company) +23.44,1
4. Milena Landtwing / Hielke Eiferink (Meerendal Wheeler) +28.15,2
5. Sara Mertens / Laura Turpijn (Meerendal Wheeler 2) +40.02,0
1. Robert Mennen / Kristian Hynek (Topeak Ergon) 18:44.28,4
2. Christoph Sauser / Frantisek Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) +11.47,5
3. Tim Boehme / Simon Stiebjahn (Bulls 2) +13.46,5
4. Roel Paulissen / Riccardo Chiarini (Torpado Factory) +26.05,5
5. Nino Schurter / Philip Buys (Scott Odlo MTB) +37.15,1
1. Ariane Kleinhans / Annika Langvad (RECM 2) 21:39.50,2
2. Esther Suss / Sally Bigham (Meerendal) +1.11.1
3. Jennie Stenerhag / Theresa Ralph (Cape Brewing Company) +1:03.44,7
4. Milena Landtwing / Hielke Eiferink (Meerendal Wheeler) +1:39.23,7
5. Sara Mertens / Laura Turpijn (Meerendal Wheeler 2) +2:06.51,2