In the penultimate stage competitors were wary; the route profile and the total ascent revealed how they would be tested right to the end of the challenge on this brutal Oak Valley loop. Again, the riders headed over Groenlandberg, for the second time in two days, this time following the 2010 route in reverse. After crossing the R43 came a tough sandy climb, nicknamed "The Beeatch". A short section on Highlands Road was a relief before more loose and partially sandy climbing - which was rewarded with a dramatic view over the Indian Ocean, the Botriver mouth and Kleinmond. One last climb led participants through another Cape Nature area featuring some rare fynbos. Shortly after riders got to enjoy the flowing single tracks of Lebanon, before they dipped under the N2 for more fun single track through Thandi and back home to Oak Valley - a great way to finish a strenuous day in the saddle.
Hermida/Naef escape for stage 6 win
Sauser/Stander one step closer to Cape Epic win - No South African has ever won the overall title at the ABSA Cape Epic, but on Sunday, Burry Stander could change that. It also appears as if a South African will win the women’s title..
The Master’s category on Saturday was won by Germans Cartsen Bresser and Udo Boelts (Team juwi), who lie 15th overall and have almost a one-hour lead over South Africans Robert Sim and Doug Brown with one stage remaining. Women’s marathon world champion, Esther Suss and Barti Bucher (Wheeler BiXS) have won every stage of the 2011 Mixed category race and have a one-hour advantage over second-placed South African, Erik Kleinhans and his Swiss fiancé, Ariane Luthi (Contego-Giant-Sludge).
Namibian Mannie Heymans and Rwandan Adrien Nyonshuti (Garmin adidas MTN), both sporting icons in their respective countries are ninth overall and the leading African team.
After seven days, the 2011 ABSA Cape Epic, which started with 1200 riders from 54 countries, will conclude. The 404 remaining teams and 44 individual riders that lost teammates along the way, will start the final stage having completed 648km and climbed 12850 vertical metres.
At 79km with 1700 metres of climbing, Sunday’s final stage isn’t quite a procession, but does usually see the category leaders with large advantages taking it a little easier. After what has been described as probably the toughest edition of the Cape Epic yet, you can’t really blame them.
Gary and Don achieved the following results:
Sewell Gary did not complete a stage in the race.
He/she may continue riding but will not receive a position ranking or an overall time for the race.