One could not help but see the smile on Avancini’s face during the heated interview after the end of the third leg of the Cape Epic. This stage overturned the general ranking due to a puncture that Forster and Schurter were unable to repair. They then continued on the rim until they were joined by the second Scott team who “loaned” him a wheel. By then it was too late, however, because Fumic and Avancini had an advantage of about 9 minutes at the end of today’s race. So the yellow jersey is their’s, with an advantage of 2 minutes and 41 seconds on the Scott-Sram team.
It’s not over until it’s over. A disastrous rear-wheel puncture saw Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing grants the Yellow Jerseys to Cannondale Factory Racing on Wednesday, proving once again that the Absa Cape Epic is won only when you cross the finish line .
Cannondale Factory Racing on Wednesday’s brutal 107-kilometer Stage 3 and ended up not only taking the stage win, but also firmly into first on the overall GC. Henrique Avancini and Manuel Fumic now have a 2:41 buffer over Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing, with the BULLS Heroes outfit of Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn in third, 7:45 adrift.
“Today was a special one for us,” was the word from Avancini after the finish. “The approach to put the guys in the box early and just push a little bit here and there. That’s what we did. ”
” We went into the stage wanting to put the Yellow Jersey under pressure, “agreed Fumic. “On the first long climb we were working hard on the front and saw Lars (Forster) was struggling.”
“We Knew then we had them where we wanted them and we put on a little bit more pressure,” he added.
Cannondale Racing Factory forced the pace up the iconic Groenlandberg climbed and then let it hang out further on the treacherous descent. It was not long after that when Lars Forster slashed his rear tire.
Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing, under the ice cool leadership of Nino Schurter, he stayed calm to repair the tire while the field streamed past. However, the Houw Hoek Hotel water point at 60km. Their back-up team (DSV-SCOTT-SRAM) eventually caught them and gave them a wheel, but then they had already lost a nine minutes.
Cannondale Factory Racing picked up their hydration vests at the Houw Hoek Hotel water point and forged ahead. According to Fumic they didn’t attack or get overeager, instead opting to ride at a steady pace out front. “There are still a few days to go so we tried to stay relaxed and consistent,” he said.
Schurter and Forster put in a phenomenal effort over the last 40-kilometers to limit their losses, eventually reducing the nine minutes down to 6:45.
BULLS Heroes (Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn) finished the second day while Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro of Trek Selle San Marco went one better than on Stage 2 to finish on the podium.
Scott-SRAM MTB Racing were not alone in their misery during the brutal stage, however. Stage 2 runner’s up KROSS-SPUR suffered a severe mechanical after taking the Dimension Data hotspot on the top of Nuweberg. The field but the fight against stage honors once again.
Matt Beers of SpecializedFoundationNAD crashed hard, buckling his wheel. “He hit sharp rock which rolled his front wheel and put him on his side,” said partner Alan Hatherly. “I actually thought we were done after that, but he picked himself up and we chased back to the group,” he said.
“Obviously after that our main concern was the Absa African Men’s Jersey, once we had reeled in IMBUKO GIANT we actually moved through the field. I know we’re happy with that. ”
Specialized FundamentalsNAD had the good fortune of being able to take a wheel from Jaroslav Kulhavy after Beers’ crash. Kulhavy was completing the stage only because his Investec-songo-Specialized partner, Sam Gaze, abandoned the race a few kilometers from the start after he did not recover from his Stage 1 crash.
No doubt Specialized Foundation NAD will be targeting Thursday’s 43km time trial. XCO specialists also targeting the time trial stage honors.
Podium third stage
1. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 04: 30.00.3
2. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 04 : 32.24.7 +2.24.4
3. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 04: 33.44,1 +3.43,8
1. Cannondale Factory Racing 3-1 Manuel Fumic (Germany) 3-2 Henrique Avancini (Brazil) 13: 19.31,9
2. Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing 4-1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) 4-2 Lars Forster ( Switzerland) 13: 22.13.4 +2.41.5
3. BULLS Heroes 6-1 Urs Huber (Switzerland) 6-2 Simon Stiebjahn (Germany) 13: 27.17,0 +7.45,1
4. Trek Selle San Marco 10-1 Damiano Ferraro (Italy) 10-2 Samuele Porro (Italy) 13: 27.28.0 +7.56.1
5. Centurion Vaude 9-1 Daniel Geismayr (Austria) 9-2 Jochen Kaess (Germany) 13: 36.45.4 +17.13.5
6. Canyon 5-1 Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) 5-2 Petter Fagerhaug (Norway) 13: 37.13.6 +17.41,7
7. Specialized Funding NAD 13-1 Alan Hatherly (South Africa) 13-2 Matthew Beers (South Africa) 13: 37.55.1 +18.23.2
8. BUFF SCOTT MTB 11-1 Francesc Guerra Carretero (Spain) 11-2 Enrique Morcillo Vergara (Spain) 13: 44.07,0 +24.35,1
9. BULLS Legends 2-1 Karl Platt (Germany) 2-2 Alban Lakata ( Austria) 13: 45.57,0 +26.25,1
10. 7C CBZ WILIER 25-1 Louis Meija (Colombia) 25-2 Johnny Cattaneo (Italy) 13: 51.45,4 +32.13,5
1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 05: 23.43,3
2. Summit Fin 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 05: 29.35,3 +5.52.0
3. Silverback – Fairtree 52-1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 05: 43.37,0 +19.53,7
1. Investec-songo-Specialized 50-1 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 50-2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 15: 42.52,8
2. Fin Summit 54-1 Candice Lill (South Africa) 54-2 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 16: 06.36.6 +23.43.8
3. Kross-Spur Racing 53-1 Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) 53-2 Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 16: 12.40.6 +29.47.8
4. Silverback – Fairtree 52- 1 Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden) 52-2 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 16: 30.28,1 +47.35,3
5. Meerendal WIAWIS Rotwild 51-1 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 51-2 Nadine Rieder (Germany) 16: 43.24,7 +1: 00.31.9
6. Galileo Risk 56-1 Theresa Ralph (South Africa) 56-2 Sarah Hill (South Africa) 17: 38.11.4 +1: 55.18,6
7. FreakShow SCOTT 57-1 Sonya Looney (United States of America) 57-2 Catherine Williamson (England) 18: 06.23,4 +2: 23.30,6
8. Land Rover Jaguars 46-1 Hannele Steyn (South Africa) 46- 2 Katja Steenkamp (South Africa) 20: 27.03.6 +4: 44.10.8