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Mar 26 '17.

The Olympic and world mountain bike champion Nino Schurter (SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing) continued his march towards a first Absa Cape Epic title with another stage win at the 2017 event.

Mar 24 '17.

The Men’s category is set for a thrilling finale after Olympic cross-country champion Nino Schurter and teammate Matthias Stirnemann (SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing) claimed their first stage win of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic on Friday.

Mar 24 '17.

Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss (Meerendal CBC) extended their lead in the Hansgrohe Women’s category after Stage 4 of the Absa Cape Epic, while Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann (SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing) took a decent bite out of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini’s (Cannondale Factory Racing XC) lead in the men’s race.

 

Mar 23 '17.

Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Investec-Songo-Specialized) claimed a second consecutive stage win at the 2017 Absa Cape Epic, and at the same time managed to eat into the time gap of the overall leaders, Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing XC).

Second on Stage 3, which ended in a sprint finish, were Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann (SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing), with third-place going to Nicola Rohrbach and Daniel Geismayr (Centurion Vaude 2).

Stage 3 was a relatively short 78km that took riders out of the Elandskloof race village towards Genadendal and through the Greyton network of mountain bike trails. It was a day for the cross-country specialists to rise to the occasion, with Schurter and Stirneman duly obliging.

The pair, who had picked the stage for a potential win, were aggressive on the climbs and descents, causing overall leaders Cannondale to drop off the pace a number of times. But the Olympic champion and his partner just couldn’t shake off the imposing presence of Sauser and Kulhavy.

Sitting patiently and biding their time, Investec-Songo-Specialized made the decisive attack on the final big climb of the day (the UFO climb, so named because of a bizarre building at the top). As they pushed, Cannondale Factory Racing XC dropped back and were forced into a helter skelter descent to make up time. Sauser and Kulhavy simply kept their cool, and ensured that the stage would go down to a two-team sprint. With Kulhavy in front and Schurter second, Stirneman misjudged the location of the finish line and started sprinting too early, allowing Sauser to power past.

"That was a good day for us,” said a relaxed Sauser. “We managed to make good progress and win the stage. It was only a short day so we weren't expecting to eat too much time into the Cannondale Factory Racing XC guys, but we did so we’ll take the win and that little bonus.

“Our plan was always to put in some extra effort up the last climb of the day in the hope that we could split the bunch, and that seemed to work. The Cannondale guys were chasing hard, but we could tell that they were on the rivet. We were then able to go down nice and conservatively; there are some horrible, sharp rocks there and the last thing we wanted was a flat or a crash.”

Kulhavy, who looked incredibly fresh when crossing the line, added, "That was a much better day than yesterday. Our plan was to attack on the climbs and the flats; that worked well for us today.”

For the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing team, it was a case of what might have been. They worked hard all day, only for a minor miscalculation to rob them of a stage win (though Schurter clearly enjoyed the dice; after crossing the line he immediately embraced Sauser with a big hug and bigger smile).

“This was a shorter stage, so Nino and I felt like it would suit us better,” said Stirnemann. “We want to win a stage every day, but this was one we thought that we could take. I thought we had it in the end, but I started sprinting for the finish too early; I didn't know where it was! That's when Susi passed me at the very last second. I enjoyed the ride, though. The whole day was very nice, with great riding.”

With a long day tomorrow - 112km from Elandskloof to Oak Valley in Elgin - the overall leaders will have their work cut out for them. Especially after a day when not everything went their way.

"That was tough. But we survived,” said Avancini. “For the first half we had it under control. But Jaroslav and Christoph were really strong on the climbs and the flats. That's where we lost it a bit. Mannie was also clipped by a bike towards the end, which slowed us down slightly. It was a hard day for us but we fought hard and we'll carry on fighting to the very last day.”

Stage 4 will certainly suit the big engine of Jaroslav Kulhavy and the nous of Sauser, so if Cannondale Factory Racing XC are to hold on to their slender lead of one minute and 20 seconds, they’ll have to fight all the way.

Stage Results

  1. Investec-Songo-Specialized 3-1 Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) 3-2 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) 3:03.46,0
  2. SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing 5-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 5-2 Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland) 3:03.46,4 +0,4
  3. Centurion Vaude 2 16-1 Nicola Rohrbach (Switzerland) 16-2 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 3:03.54,5 +8,5

Overall Results

  1. Cannondale Factory Racing XC 8-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 8-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 11:05.51,4
  2. Investec-Songo-Specialized 3-1 Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) 3-2 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) 11:07.11,6 +1.20,2
  3. SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing 5-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 5-2 Matthias Stirnemann (Switzerland) 11:09.55,2 +4.03,8
  4. Kansai Plascon 7-1 Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Colombia) 7-2 Max Knox (South Africa) 11:15.23,5 +9.32,1
  5. Centurion Vaude 2 16-1 Nicola Rohrbach (Switzerland) 16-2 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 11:15.59,4 +10.08,0
  6. Bulls 1-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 1-2 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 11:21.47,6 +15.56,2
  7. Centurion Vaude 6-1 Jochen Kaess (Germany) 6-2 Markus Kaufmann (Germany) 11:24.20,2 +18.28,8
  8. Topeak Ergon Racing 4-1 Alban Lakata (Austria) 4-2 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 11:26.45,6 +20.54,2
  9. Scott-SRAM Young Guns 18-1 Michiel Van der Heijden (Netherlands) 18-2 Andri Frischknecht (Switzerland) 11:30.26,1 +24.34,7
  10. PYGA Euro Steel 9-1 Philip Buys (South Africa) 9-2 Matthys Beukes (South Africa) 11:32.43,0 +26.51,6

Suss/Stenerhag lose sprint but hold on to commanding lead

As the leading riders moved into the second half of the Absa Cape Epic on Stage 3 around Greyton on Wednesday, the race for the Hansgrohe Women’s category title between teams Meerendal CBC and Ascendis Health is looking more and more likely to come down to good – or bad – fortune.

For the second day in a row there was no obvious difference between the two pairings as they spent the entire 78km stage locked in a close battle with neither able to gain a definitive advantage. Robyn de Groot and Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health) managed to get the stage win by outsprinting the overall race leaders, Esther Suss and Jennie Stenerhag, in a desperate dash for the finish line after three hours 41 minutes and 20 seconds of racing.

These two teams have dominated the women’s race so far and between them have won all four of the stages. Ascendis Health has wins from the Prologue and Stage 3 while Meerendal emerged victorious on Stages 1 and 2.

On Wednesday there was nothing to choose between the two once again and it is hard to see anybody else coming through to challenge after the chasers conceded time for the fourth stage in a row.

Mariske Strauss and Annie Last (Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro) are the best of the rest and only lost three minutes on Wednesday (3:44:25), but are now 24 minutes off the pace overall and it would take a remarkable set of circumstances for the them to come into contention for the win.

The key factor dividing the leading two teams so far was a small mechanical problem for Spitz on Stage 1 and then her spectacular crash on the same stage when she lost concentration and crashed over the edge of a steep, rocky bank. While the crash was unlucky, the general opinion is that Spitz is fortunate to still be in the race.

That bad luck means Ascendis Health has an almost nine-minute deficit to make up and they might need a chunk of good fortune if they are going to claw the time back.

“Today went well,” said Spitz after edging out Suss in the sprint to claim the stage. “Actually the riding time was a lot shorter than we expected today. The shorter stage was not good for us, but for all the riders and the fun riders we appreciate that it was good riding.

“We are still work on making up time and will work on it day by day. It is interesting that when we checked our computers from Stage 1 and compared it to my mishap with the crash and when I struggled with the gearrings, that was almost exactly the time difference between us and Jennie and Esther on the day. So I think we are about the same level.

“We will see day by day ... we need to see if there is a technical issue for them maybe, or one of them has a hard day.”

Suss dismissed any suggestion they were content with their nine-minute lead and riding a defensive race.

“No! We definitely did not just try and sit on,” she said while recovering after the hectic race for the line on Wednesday. “We try to go as fast as we can. Jennie went to the front and went as hard as she could when she was strong, and I went hard on the front when I could. We tried very hard in the second part of the day.

“We are not really happy with the second. I worked maybe too hard on the flat section just before the finish. But we are still in the lead and today we did not lose any time, so I think that is the best for us.”

Stage Results

  1. Ascendis Health 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Robyn de Groot (South Africa) 3:41.20,6
  2. Meerendal CBC 52-1 Esther Suss (Switzerland) 52-2 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 3:41.20,8 +0,2
  3. Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro 54-1 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 54-2 Annie Last (England) 3:44.25,4 +3.04,8

Overall Results

  1. Meerendal CBC 52-1 Esther Suss (Switzerland) 52-2 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 13:13.23,0
  2. Ascendis Health 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Robyn de Groot (South Africa) 13:22.20,8 +8.57,8
  3. Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro 54-1 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 54-2 Annie Last (England) 13:37.45,1 +24.22,1
  4. Spur 50-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 50-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 13:56.34,3 +43.11,3
  5. DormaKaba SA 55-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 55-2 Vera Adrian (Namibia) 14:00.51,0 +47.28,0
  6. Hollard-Velocity Sports Lab 138-1 Carmen Buchacher (South Africa) 138-2 Michelle Vorster (Namibia) 14:14.19,0 +1:00.56,0
  7. Meerendal CBC 2 53-1 Hielke Elferink (Netherlands) 53-2 Cornelia Hug (Switzerland) 14:15.32,3 +1:02.09,3
  8. Merchants 438-1 Jeannie Bomford (South Africa) 438-2 Samantha Sanders (South Africa) 14:20.15,4 +1:06.52,4
  9. Spur Foundation 57-1 Alice Pirard (Belgium) 57-2 Sabrina Enaux (France) 15:03.14,3 +1:49.51,3
  10. LIVBeyond 667-1 Fienie Barnard (South Africa) 667-2 Dalene van der Leek (South Africa) 15:08.59,9 +1:55.36,9

Mar 21 '17.

After two days of extreme weather conditions Stage 2 of the Absa Cape Epic was shortened to 62km. Instead of riding the 102km to Elandskloof near Greyton, riders finished at what would have been the second water point for the day at the Botanical Gardens just outside Caledon.

Mar 20 '17.

Cross-country specialists Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing XC) continued their blazing assault on the 2017 Absa Cape Epic with another stage win.

Mar 20 '17.

The 2017 Absa Cape Epic started exactly as they 2016 edition ended, with Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factor Racing XC) powering onto the Meerendal Wine Estate fields to take the win.

Mar 16 '17.

Star-studded field includes Olympic gold medallists and Tour de France winner

Both the men’s reigning Olympic champions, a Tour de France winner, a host of world champions and several previous Absa Cape Epic winners will be in the South African stage race’s strongest field yet when it kicks off on Sunday.

Mar 14 '17.

Have you ever wondered what is around? A good route plagued by singletracks in Riglos was the perfect setting for testing the new Nikon KeyMission 360.

Mar 10 '17.

After the successful opening round at the Parco delle Colombare in Verona, with the victories of Marco Aurelio Fontana and Serena Calvetti, ASD Novagli Bike set up a technical and spectacular route: a 4,3 km loop with a 195 overall altitude and 25,3% maximum gradient, completely renewed from the past edition.

Mar 8 '17.

Our national season opens early this year, but don’t worry it’s a shiny spring weather that is announced for the weekend in Levens : Nice’s hinterland for the first of the 5 rounds.Thanks to Florian Nicolaï : the local prodigy who will ride as the pathfinder on his daily playground, and his precious piece of advice; Alex Balaud has prepared a sturdy program for the weekend with no less than 5 stages.

Mar 8 '17.

During the 2016 race season, we had the top man and woman leading the DH World Cup Series and our top 5 Rampage athletes on orange 40s, along with the man leading the EWS on an orange 36 - now these forks are up for grabs.

Mar 4 '17.

The Enduro World Series (EWS) is delighted to announce it’s coming to a TV screen near you thanks to a new partnership with IMG for mainstream television distribution of its race highlight shows.

Feb 24 '17.

Tropical storms, exotic beaches, fantastic people and plenty of sick lines in a tropical street trials paradise!

Feb 23 '17.

German Manuel Fumic and Brazilian Henrique Avancini lit up the 2016 Absa Cape Epic with a thrilling win on the Grand Finale – the prestigious final stage.

Feb 21 '17.

BC Bike Race has released the finalists for the Kazlaw Community Foundation Award, and it includes five great people from our province that contribute to local cycling. 

Feb 16 '17.

With the colder months seemly taking up half the year north of the 49 parallel, getting some better riding gear for the fall and spring seemed very necessary this year.

Feb 13 '17.

New Zealand’s James Williamson and Scott Lyttle (Team Watson & Sons Manuka Honey) took out the 2017 Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage race

Feb 8 '17.

After just one edition, The Pioneer is already recognized as one of the world’s leading mountain bike stage races. Taking participants from Christchurch to Queenstown, over the Alps on a stunning seven day journey that sees riders compete in pairs over 549km with 15,824m of climbing.

 

Feb 7 '17.

Intense Cycles proudly announces its 2017 Factory Race Program. Returning to the team this year are Australian riders Jack Moir (22) and Dean Lucas (21) along with top American Junior, Nik Nestoroff (17). New to the team this year is American, Charlie Harrison (19).

 

Feb 3 '17.

The North American Enduro Tour is excited to announce the 2017 Tour schedule will bring back the old favorites, but add some exciting new twists—including a venture to the East Coast.

Jan 31 '17.

i've crisscrossed the globe as a competitor for many years, but I rarely ventured beyond the mountain resorts that contests are held in.

Jan 27 '17.

Full disclosure – I don’t own a fat bike. But I was recently provided a pair of Bontrager OMW Softshell pants to review. But I do live in Whistler, BC and we do have some wintery weather here that’s still great for riding before we become buried in snow.

Jan 26 '17.

With one and a half month to go to the first race of the new season, on May 4th in Verona, the Internazionali d’Italia Series’ organizers exposed their ambitious programme during the Italian Cycling Federation’s presentation on the offroad activity on Wednesday January 18th in Milan.

Jan 23 '17.

The final countdown has begun for White Style 2017. A number of big names from the FMB World Tour will be dropping into a snowy course to show off the craziest, most spectacular tricks you have ever seen on white powder on 27 January.

Jan 18 '17.

Swiss mountain biking maestro Christoph Sauser has come out of retirement in a bid to win the Absa Cape Epic for a sixth time, so what was it that persuaded him to get back in the saddle?