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Cape Epic - NE

South Africa, April 22-28, 2006

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Race 2 - April 23: George - Mossel Bay

Top riders defend leader jerseys

Stage 2 of The Cape Epic was very much enjoyed by the Epic riders as it was one of the most scenic stages in the history of The Cape Epic with a hint of African safari. The first fifty kilometers took the riders through forestry where they could enjoy spectacular crystal clear views all the way down to the sea. After traversing some rolling hills the more than 500 mountain bike teams entered Botlierskop, a Big Five Game Reserve North of Mosselbay. There, they did not only experience the best riding of the day with technically challenging up- and downhills but also wonderful views of the game in the reserve. Men’s leaders Christoph Sauser and Silvio Bundi (Specialized) had to share part of the path with two elephants and wildebeest, Mixed leaders Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer and Jörg Scheiderbauer (GHOST) came across a pack of hyenas, and the leaders in the Women’s category, Sabine Grona and Kerstin Brachtendorf (adidas Fiat-Rotwild) were welcomed by a herd of impala.

Teams felt stronger across the board including the top riders who all defended their leader jerseys today. “I felt much better,” said Christoph Sauser who crossed the finish line first (4:33.03), hand in hand with his team partner Silvio Bundi. “But that was mainly due to the fact that the weather was nice. The wind, however, was tough especially in the flat sections. There we all worked together. We were riding with Mannie, Kevin, Karl, Carsten, Johannes and Christian. For the last hour we were on our own, because we attacked on a steep climb and tried to gain a bit more lead time over the others.”

Christoph and Silvio had fun on the technical descents in Botlierskop. Both regularly go on freeride trips in the Alps where they ride from chalet to chalet and are outstanding downhillers. When Kevin Evans and Mannie Heymans crossed the finish line in third position today behind the Swiss-German pairing of Johannes Sickmueller and Christian Heule one could see the weight falling off their shoulders. “Today I was riding like a different person,” Kevin breathed a sigh of relief. “Everyone has a bad day from time to time and yesterday it was my turn. I have been blessed with a great season to date so I can’t really complain.”

“Today was a joyride,” raved Jörg Scheiderbauer who is leading the Mixed category with his wife Anna. “That was the best stage I have ever ridden in a stage race. I had so much fun.” His wife who had to keep up with him saw it a bit differently: “Today was really hard for me, especially with the wind. We rode with the leading masters almost all the way until kilometer 90 and it was unbelievably hard for me to keep the pace of the bunch. But I also enjoyed the downhill sections and the game viewing. I am exhausted, but it was a stunning ride.” At one point, the strong German couple was only ten minutes behind the leaders. Anna and Jörg finished the second stage in 13th position overall in a time of 5 hours, 11 minutes and 42 seconds. As organizers of two mountain bike races in Germany, the Scheiderbauers appreciate and admire the detailed organization of The Cape Epic. “We know how much work is involved in setting up an event of this magnitude and seeing it all come together so smoothly is an inspiration to us.” When asked what their secret is for riding so successfully together and still being married Anna replied. “We never fight at home, we only yell at each other in a race. Jörg is a very aggressive rider and yelling at me makes him even stronger, I guess. But I hate to be yelled at so I shout back. And after we’ve crossed the finish line all is forgotten.”

South Africa’s local heroes in the Mixed category, Anke Erlank and Fourie Kotze had a very bad day. First they missed a turn-off and rode 5 kilometres in the wrong direction until they reached a dead end, then going full speed in order to make up for the lost time Fourie crashed and severely hurt himself which slowed them down for the rest of the day. They came in fourth after 5 hours 40 minutes and 51 seconds.

Finishing in 11th position overall today were the leading Masters Geddan Ruddock and Linus van Onselen who only found out three weeks ago that they would take part in The Cape Epic 2006 and be paired together as a Masters team. “When I received a phone call from Linus that Absa was looking for a strong team to potentially win one of the categories and he suggested that we ride as a Masters team with our combined ages being 85, I replied that is the best news I’ve heard all year,” remembered Geddan who had resigned himself to the fact that he would not be taking part in the third Cape Epic months ago. “Yesterday, on the first 10 kilometres I had an adrenaline rush. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe that I was actually riding the Epic. Linus and I work in harmony. We both cycled the Argus and finished in the same time. That’s how we knew that we can ride together.” Last year, Linus placed third in the Masters category being the stronger rider in the team. “Now I am the weaker link,” he smiled, “but it is actually working to our advantage. Geddan is a very supportive partner and he helps me a lot when I am going through a bad patch.”

Sean Kristafor, national merchandise manager of The Cape Epic Race Village sponsor Cape Union Mart, was proud to finish in 67th place in his category. “It is great to be taking part in an event that our organisation is involved in and it really makes me proud if I look across our orange tents in the Race Village.” Along with Cape Union Marts impressive selection of products that riders may have forgotten at home such as headlamps, sleeping bags or hydration kits, they also offer unique products to the riders as part of their service. One of the most popular products after yesterday’s rainy stage is the Sports Dryzone drying system for shoes, a sachet filled with moisture absorbent granules designed to dry out shoes over night.

Tomorrow’s stage will lead the Epic riders over 122 km and 1800 vertical metres from Mosselbay to Riversdale. It is quite possible that this will be another windy stage and team tactics will come into play during the gravel road sections and rolling hills.


1 Christoph Sauser/Silvio Bundi (Swi) Team Specialized                             4.33.00
2 Johannes Sickmeuler (Ger)/Christian Heule (Swi) Team Stevens Racing                 3.54
3 Kevin Evans (RSA)/Mannie Heymans (Nam) adidas Raleigh                               3.57
1 Sabine Grona/Kerstin Brachtendorf (Ger) adidas Fiat-Rotwild                      6.03.22
2 Elisabeth Hager/Sandra Lettner (Aut) Mountainbike Revue                             7.55
3 Anna Sutton/Juanne Marie King (Aus) Homebrew Lite                                  54.21
1 Linus van Onselen/Geddan Ruddock (RSA) ABSA Business Banking Services            5.09.03
2 Jean Michel Borne/Thierry Moiroux (Fra) CEVA-Centre des Carmes                     16.04
3 Ergee du Toit/Corrie Muller (RSA) Dennis McCann                                    18.48
1 Jörg Scheiderbauer (Ger)/Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer (Aus) GHOST International     5.11.42
2 Dolores Maechler/Severin Rupp (Swi) radys.com                                      12.48
3 Patric Mosterd/Yolande de Villiers (RSA) Scott                                     15.38