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04 APRIL 2008

NEWSFLASH


LEADING TEAMS LEFT OUT OF TOP SPOTS AT PENULTIMATE STAGE OF ABSA CAPE EPIC

CANNONDALE VREDESTEIN AHEAD WITH NINE MINUTE TIME ADVANTAGE AS RIDERS HEAD FOR FINAL STAGE OF ABSA CAPE EPIC


In a surprise stage finish for the penultimate challenge in this year’s Absa Cape Epic presented by adidas, the Full-Dynamix Rsm team, Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) and Massimo Debertolis (ITA), took top honours for the first time during this year’s event when they crossed the finish line first at a time of 3:45:10. Hot on their heels was the USN/adidas team, Brandon Stewart (RSA) and Max Knox (RSA), who arrived seven seconds later (3:45:17). Team Alb-Gold Mountainbike, Hannes Genze (GER) and Joschen Kaess (GER), claimed the third place with a time of 3:53:53.

The usual suspects of leading teams only managed to claim the fourth to sixth stage honours. Fourth was the Bulls team, Karl Platt (GER) and Stefan Sahm (GER), at 3:54:02, followed by Cannondale Vredestein, Roel Paulissen (BEL) and Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) at 3:54:08. South Africa’s best performers in this year’s Absa Cape Epic, the MTN Energade (1) team of Kevin Evans (RSA) and David George (RSA), only secured the sixth position at a time of 3:54:10, which was two seconds after the overall leading team of Cannondale Vredestein.

For Stage 7 of this year’s Absa Cape Epic riders enjoyed a shorter route from Hermanus to Grabouw, but it was definitely not easy! Covering 91km and 1 984m of climbing, participants immediately faced the steep tar ascent up Rotary Drive, which granted riders scenic views back over the seaside town of Hermanus and Walker Bay. The route descended through Hamilton Russel and headed for Babilonstoring Nature Reserve, navigating the sandy and rocky jeep tracks. After crossing the R44, the next challenge waited – a loose climb which gained 500m in altitude up to Lebanon Nature Reserve. Then it was a single-track time through the Lebanon forest! A quick dip under the N2 took riders to some more fast-flowing single-track. Then riders had to find their way up and down steep vineyards for their overnight location at Elgin (Grabouw).

An emotional delight awaited Platt at the finish line after his three brothers (Viktor, Jakob and Albert) flew in from Germany the night before to surprise him. The brothers left Frankfurt at 17h00 on Thursday and arrived in Cape Town yesterday morning [Friday] at 05h00. They first went up Table Mountain, before renting a car to make the journey to Oak Valley to surprise Karl. One of Platt’s brothers works for a German airline, so he was able to get great deals on last minute tickets. All four brothers will be flying back home together Monday night.
 
Fredrik Kessiakoff (Full-Dynamix Rsm) says that he discussed with his riding partner, former Marathon World Champion Massimo Debertolis, the night before that they should attack during Stage 7, and that they should do so immediately when the race started. “We knew we had to do it this way as once we’ve passed the first feed zones and technical terrains there wouldn’t be any way we could leave the other teams behind. We were both in excellent condition so it worked. Winning this stage was a great reward; not only for us but also for our mechanic and physician who accompany us throughout the race. We dedicate this win to our sponsors, crew and support teams.”

Kessiakoff comments that the most difficult challenge in a stage race is when you get so tired towards to the end. “It is just so hard to deal with constant changes in speed, which results from the changes in the terrain. It can range from technical to sandy; a nightmare when you are tired. But today’s stage was totally different which suited us extremely well. We could ride at a constant speed and could also therefore maintain our lead. The USN/adidas team broke away with us, which also made it easier as we could share the hard work.”

Once Debertolis (Full-Dynamix Rsm) attacked, Brandon Stewart (USN/adidas) followed and signalled to his riding partner Max Knox to come along. “We hesitated a bit as it was so early on in the race, but if you break away with another team or teams, it is always easier than on your own,” says Knox. “So we decided to go for it. However, when we got to the 2nd water point with the more technical single track sections, Fredrik rode very fast - simply because he is such an excellent rider and very few can keep up with him. Fredrik and Massimo really put the pressure on at the last kilometre or so. But we are still really happy with our result, because we trained very hard for the Absa Cape Epic – so it is wonderful to climb the podium in such a world-class field.”

Stewart has participated in all five Absa Cape Epics, completing them all. He says: “This race has been really hard for me. We had our fair share of really bad luck and a few mechanical issues. Max felt really strong, and I was suffering this year. Last night, I booked myself into a hotel with my wife and daughter, and the mental break was just what I needed. I felt great during Stage 7 and that is why we managed to accomplish what we did. I usually battle when I get tired after 4.5 hours, but today was a shorter route, so we made use of the opportunity. In my five years of participation, I have to say that the race has gotten harder every year. But this year’s pace and route have just been ridiculously tough.”

Hannes Genze of Alb-Gold Mountainbike agrees that the stage was really fun. “It was almost like a reward for the suffering we had to endure the days before. I was completely exhausted yesterday and it felt like someone pulled the plug and I was switched off. I had no more energy left. But today’s stage was exactly what I like. I’m actually sad that we weren’t in the leading group today when they broke away so early – I had no idea then that I would feel so good today.”

He says that they used the first tar section to warm up and in the second climb (which was a sandy terrain) the four top teams managed to leave Dolphin-Trek behind. “In the flat part afterwards we really hit the gas to make sure that Dolphin-Trek would not catch up with us.”

Cannondale Vredestein’s Roel Paulissen says that he also enjoyed today’s stage. “In fact, I discussed with Stefan Sahm of the Bulls to come back with me on Sunday to ride it again. Today the level of single-trail was very close to that of the Mountain Bike World Cup, however we only went at 80% so we were cruising it. But people still couldn’t keep up.” He added that Stage 7 was not so hard on the bikes, but rather more technical. “This is how you can break away by using your skills. On a technical stage you can separate an ordinary mountain biker from an exceptional one. On the gravel roads it is the same for everyone – you just have to push hard to break away.”

MTN Energade’s David George was struggling with the terrain today as it was “true mountain bike stuff” and he is far more experienced on the road. He joked that he got his first single-track badge after the race.

Stefan Sahm (Bulls) was one of the riders who had to cope with a flat tyre during Stage 7. “Apart from the puncture which resulted from a sharp rock in the road, it was a very enjoyable stage. We were able to fix the flat tyre very quickly, and when we got back to the tech zone I changed the wheel to be on the safe side. From there we enjoyed the great stage as it was an unbelievably fun route.”

As riders head into the final stage of this year’s Absa Cape Epic, Cannondale Vredestein enjoy an overall lead time of 33:19:18, a comfortable advantage of almost ten minutes over Bulls in second place (33:28:27). Third is MTN Energade (1) who in turn has an eight minute time difference with the Bulls (33:36:05).


STAGE 7 RESULTS:

MEN:

1. Full-Dynamix Rsm – Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) & Massimo Debertolis (ITA) – 3:45:10
2. USN/adidas – Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Max Knox (RSA) – 3:45:17
3. Alb-Gold Mountainbike – Hannes Genze (GER) & Joschen Kaess (GER) – 3:53:53
4. Bulls – Karl Platt (GER) & Stefan Sahm (GER) – 3:54:02
5. Cannondale Vredestein – Roel Paulissen (BEL) & Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – 3:54:08

LADIES:

1. Rocky Mountain – Pia Sundstedt (FIN) & Alison Sydor (CAN) – 4:37:50
2. Trek/VW Wsd – Susan Haywood (USA) & Jennifer Smith (NZL) – 5:00:23
3. Scott Contessa – Jane Seggie (RSA) & Ischen Stopforth (RSA) – 5:18:28
4. Absa Ladies – Erica Green (RSA) & Hanlie Booyens (RSA) – 5:35:54
5. The Mud Fairies – Phelia Burger (RSA) & Annelle Rabie (RSA) – 5:43:09

MASTERS:

1. Absa Masters – Doug Brown (RSA) & Barti Bucher (SUI) – 4:21:54
2. Adidas William Simpson – Shan Wilson (RSA) & Walter Platzgummer (ITA) – 4:29:52
3. Pragma Masters – M.C. Franken (RSA) & Peter Buggle (IRE) – 4:33:41
4. Oracla – Claudio Pellegrini (ITA) & Orazio Casaccio (ITA) – 4:38:05
5. Private Client Holdings – Andrew Johan Cillie (RSA) & Leon Olivier (RSA) – 4:43:20

MIXED:

1. Joybike Maloja-Express – Ivonne Kraft (GER) & Nico Pfitzenmaier (GER) – 4:34:16
2. Cyclelab Toyota – Johan Labuschagne (RSA) & Yolande de Villiers (RSA) – 4:47:41
3. Novatec – Ck Mtb Dohnany – Tomas Legnavsky & Janka Stevkova ( ) - 5:01:54
4. Absa Mixed – Kobus Barnard (RSA) & Fienie Barnard (RSA) – 5:03:00
5. Adidas-Medsport-Checker Pig – Markus Pielenz (GER) & Sandra Sumerauer (GER) – 5:06:45

OVERALL RESULTS:

MEN:

1. Cannondale Vredestein – Roel Paulissen (BEL) & Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – 33:19:18
2. Bulls – Karl Platt (GER) & Stefan Sahm (GER) – 33:28:27
3. MTN Energade (1) – Kevin Evans (RSA) & David George (RSA) – 33:36:05
4. Alb-Gold Mountainbike – Hannes Genze (GER) & Jochen Kaess (GER) – 33:46:10
5. Full-Dynamix Rsm – Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) & Massimo Debertolis (ITA) – 34:09:13
6. Dolphin-Trek - Bart Brentjens (NED) & Alban Lakata (AUT) – 34:11:11
7. Usn/adidas – Brandon Stewart (RSA) & Max Knox (RSA) – 34:30:27
8. Etto Hoydahl (3) – Martin Bratland (NOR) & Kristian Torgersen (NOR) - 35:29:58
9. Etto Hoydahl (2) Rune Hoydahl (NOR) & Ola Kjoren (NOR) – 35:47:46
10. MTN Energade (2) – Mannie Heymans (NAM) & Melt Swanepoel (RSA) – 36:22:00

LADIES:

1. Rocky Mountain – Pia Sundstedt (FIN) & Alison Sydor (CAN) – 39:42:06
2. Trek/VW Wsd – Susan Haywood (USA) & Jennifer Smith (NZL) – 41:13:17
3. Scott Contessa – Jane Seggie (RSA) & Ischen Stopforth (RSA) – 43:32:43
4. Absa Ladies – Erica Green (RSA) & Hanlie Booyens (RSA) – 44:32:42
5. Valhalla – Petruschka Constancon (RSA) & Louise Hemmes (RSA) – 49:41:18

MASTERS:

1. Absa Masters – Doug Brown (RSA) & Barti Bucher (SUI) – 37:16:17
2. Adidas William Simpson – Shan Wilson (RSA) & Walter Platzgummer (ITA) – 37:33:48
3. Pragma Masters – M.C. Franken (RSA) & Peter Buggle (IRE) – 38:34:54
4. Private Client Holdings – Andrew Johan Cillie (RSA) & Leon Olivier (RSA) – 41:06:34
5. Oracla – Claudio Pellegrini (ITA) & Orazio Casaccio (ITA) – 41:13:05

MIXED:

1. Joybike-Maloja Express – Ivonne Kraft (GER) & Nico Pfitzenmaier (GER) – 40:14:25
2. Cyclelab Toyota – Johan Labuschagne (RSA) & Yolande de Villiers (RSA) – 40:46:09
3. Absa Mixed – Kobus Barnard (RSA) & Fienie Barnard (RSA) – 42:00:46
4. Adidas-Medsport-Checker Pig – Markus Pielenz (GER) & Sandra Sumerauer (GER) – 44:24:56
5. Unicef Austria 1 – Andreas Mühlbacher (AUT) & Anita Waiss (AUT) – 44:31.17,6




Visit www.cape-epic.com to view the full results.
 

Warm regards,
Sonja Güldner-Hamel
Absa Cape Epic Media Director

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