South Africans Matthys Beukes and Gert Heyns (Scott factory Racing) Friday consolidated their lead in the race to be the first all-African team to finish the Absa Cape Epic. – By Chris Whitfield
They finished nearly seven minutes ahead of Erik Kleinhans and Nico Bell (RECM), on Friday’s 115km stage five and are now more than 12 minutes ahead in the contest for the distinctive red Absa African jersey.
Kleinhans and Bell have, however, been acting as a support team to Christoph Sauser and Frantisek Rabon (Meerendal Songo Specialized) and have had to help them deal with some technical issues at various stages.
Beukes and Heyns are now seventh overall and Kleinhans and Bell eighth.
RED-E Blend’s Charles Keey and Andrew Hill have moved up to third in the category but are more than 40 minutes behind the Scott team.
Former leaders Max Knox and Kevin Evans (FedGroup Itec) were given a one hour time penalty on Thursday when Evans took an illegal shortcut. They appealed the commissaires’ decision, but were not successful.
They rode Friday’s stage but had clearly decided not to race and came home some distance back.
The quickest South African Friday in the men’s race was again Philip Buys, riding with world cross country champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo), of Switzerland. They finished second by six seconds and now lie fifth overall.
Top South African team in the women’s race remains SasolRacing’s Yolande de Villiers and Ischen Stopforth, lying sixth overall, but Theresa Ralph and her Swedish teammate Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Company) are still in third place overall but over an hour back from the leading pair.
Shan Wilson and Adrian Enthoven (Definitive Bikes) are lying comfortably in second position in the master’s category, but have dropped a further two minutes behind leaders Bart Brentjens of Holland and Abraao Azevedo of Brazil (BETCH.nl Superior Meerendal).
Andrew McLean and Austrian teammate Heinz Zoerweg are now more than an hour ahead in the Grand Masters category and seem certain to win it.
Best placed South African in the mixed category is fourth-placed Nizaam Essa and his Austrian teammate Christina Kollman.
Source: Purple Pine PR