Kiwis survive Queen Stage at Absa Cape Epic
Clearly the toughest day so far on the Absa Cape Epic, the aptly named Queen Stage Five took a toll on riders in the 2019 event, with 100km spiked with 2,850m of vertical climbing, testing already weary legs and tired heads on day six of the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race.
The Kiwi’s soldiered on though one of the hottest days of the week, with all who started safely riding over the finish line as the event moved from the Elgin Valley to Stellenbosch
Kylie Burrows and Australian partner Sarah Kaehler (Team Geraldine Cable Logging) took a ‘steady as she goes’ approach into the longest day of the event so far, pacing themselves through an 8 hour 32 minute hour ride to maintain their 11th placing in the women’s category. Burrows is looking to complete the event and the treble of EPIC Series races (Swiss Epic, Pioneer and Cape Epic), aiming to become just the 9th rider to join that exclusive group.
“That was a long day,” said Burrows immediately upon crossing the line. “The climbs were not as bad in terms of terrain today, but that was a long day. Only two to go now!”
Alexander Donaldson continues to inspire, the UK based New Zealander is riding solo following the injury to his South African team mate Gavin Ryan but rode strongly to come home safely and continue his own hopes of earning the rarely awarded Epic Legend Medal, in fact he and Burrows are the only riders in the event chasing that honour this week.
Peter Craig and his Aussie team mate Mark Knowles are also pedaling along nicely, the Cairns based duo coming through today’s 100km stage in 7 hours 33 minutes to move safely into day seven and that much closer to the finish line at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl on Sunday.
After suffering mechanical misfortune earlier in the event and losing close to an hour of time making repairs, Central Otago pair Shaun Portegys and Tim O’Leary rode strongly today to sit 5th on General Classification, a tantalizing 30 minutes off the podium with two days to ride.
Earlier in the race, leading UCI professional hope Sam Gaze was forced to withdraw after a crash left him with concussion.
The race is being led by UCI World Cross Country champion Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (SUI), 5 minutes 13 seconds ahead of Manuel Fumic (GER) and Henrique Avancini (BRA). The women’s race is being dominated by Annika Langvad (DEN) and World and Olympic road champion Anna van der Breggen (NED), they enjoy a 21-minute advantage over their nearest challengers.
Of the 690 two person teams that set off in the Prologue on Sunday, over 650 remain in the hope of making the finish line and deserved celebrations on Sunday.
Keep an eye out for the Kiwis as they take on the Absa Cape-Epic over the remaining three days of the event. Links to news, results and live streaming of the entire race can be found by downloading the event App: EPIC SERIES, or online at www.cape-epic.com
Riders can experience the same thrill and ride at the Absa Cape Epic 2020, with guaranteed entries up for grabs at the 2019 Pioneer, to be held 1st to the 6th December. Category winners and lottery winners earn guaranteed starts at the Cape Epic, enter now for the 2019 Pioneer at www.thepioneer.co.nz