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2013 Absa Cape Epic: Day 3

20 Mar 2013

The Absa Cape Epic has reached it's half way mark - and what a mark it is! The heat feels like it is escalating by the day and what was dubbed to be a "recovery day" seemed to refer only to time on the saddle,and definitely not terrain, or conditions. Temperatures reportedly soared to 40 degrees Celsius during the day!

2013 Epic is proving not to be for the weak-hearted - both rider and spectator! The excitement and suspense in the Leader's race is like an extended version of the Olympic 100m sprint repeated on a daily basis.  Water Point 1 saw the leading pack coming through as one again.  Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy left WP1 with controlled and determined power and Max Knox and Kohei Yamamoto followed shortly thereafter with equal tenacity.  Stage 3 allowed for super spectator spots with several road crossings, but it was impossible to reach these points in time to see the leaders, as their speed was just too ruthless!

Water point 2 was a repeat of the first. The leading teams all arrived and left together, without any signs of anyone breaking away, or easing up.  From here on, spectators relied again on live updates for news of any advances by any teams.

It was after Water Point 2 that all the drama began to unfold.  The final leg of the route brought in the most taxing climbs of the day, and it was here that Christoph and Jaroslav broke away from the pack.  They steadily increased their gap up to 2 minutes from the Bulls, Urs Huber and Karl Platt.  The following descents saw the leaders clocking 55km/hour. Relying completely on commentating to determine the race situation, the Finish line crowd was waiting avidly for the helicopter's appearance to announce the arrival of Christoph and Juroslav. There was complete shock when, on seeing the helicopter, it was reported that the first team to cross the line for Stage 3 was in fact the Bulls, and not Burry Stander-SONGO!

Christoph and Jaroslav had taken a wrong turn within the final few kilometers of the 92km stage!  During this time, Bulls overtook and gained a minute on Christoph and Jaroslav. It was reported that Platt and Huber weren't even aware of what had happened until they heard it when finishing. This was obviously an unbelievable setback, but their strength of body and mind in the past few days' misfortunes is incomparable. Jaroslav and Christoph ride with the most incredible strength and we know the final outcome is not yet cast in stone.

There is no holding Max And Kohei back! They are rocketing through each stage and today climbed a further 5 positions to finish 5th! They are quietly but surely reeling the pack in and bringing even more thrilling action to each days' events. Stages 4 - 6 are going to be sensational to follow.

Songo.Info Grand Masters, Barti Bucher and Heinz Zorweg know no bounds in their category and  have increased their lead by a further 3 minutes!

Experience is not given enough credit, as is shown with Songo Fipaza and Luyanda Thobingunya.  They are tackling the extreme environment with calm, controlled endurance and know they have the required stamina to complete the 2013 Epic comfortably.

Once Gain wearing the green Exxaro jersey with pride are Sipho Madolo and Azukile Simayile.  The bulk of the Exxaro riders formed their own bunch and stuck together for the entire race duration.  A furious sprint to the end eventually saw the bunch split, with Sipho and Azu coming in  a split second behind William Mokgopo and Luke Mashiane of Exxaro Deutsche Bank Academy 1.  This brought them back into the much-deserved green jersey. Their riding today was a brilliant accomplishment after yesterday's setbacks.

This years' Epic is only just beginning and the upcoming stages are relentless in the climbs. We are looking forward to the following stages with tremendous excitement and know the days are not going to disappoint in action!

Keep it up, everyone! Have clear heads and keep that self-belief strong!