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Day 2: 2013 Absa Cape Epic

20 Mar 2013

The race village was a very different scene this morning, with half the camp of supporters and mechanics, having left at the crack of dawn to begin setting up in Stage 2's village in Tulbagh.  Fortunately, the wind that was threatening last night had ceased and it was another fresh, still morning.

Stage 2's route was to be the longest of the Epic stages, covering 145km with a total of 2350m of climbing. The race began with a mass start instead of staggered times, so all riders set off at 07:00.  The route was largely inaccessible to spectators, resulting in the majority of the race being eagerly followed via the live mobile updates.

The length of the stage and another day of scorching heat did nothing to hamper the intensity of the race! The lead bunch stayed in a close bunch with no one making a clear break away until after the 116km point.

The pack through Water point 2 included Burry Stander-SONGO 1and 2, Multivan Merida, Bulls 1and 2 and Cannondale.

With a fast 30km remaining in the route, Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy looked extremely strong when they left water point 3 neck and neck with Team Bulls. However, this positioning changed when the chain on Jaroslav's bike broke. The tool being used to fix the chain then also broke, so the highly innovative team then completed the repair with the broken link. This technical issue resulted in team Burry Stander-SONGO losing 7 minutes on the leaders.

First over the Finish Line was Urs Huber and Karl Platt of Team Bulls, followed with a gap of 05:48 by Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme of Bulls 2, with Chritoph and Jaroslav back on the podium with a gap of 08:44 from Bulls. Christoph and Jaroslav once again pushing their strength to the limit!

Max Knox and Kohei Yamamoto had an incredible ride, jumping 10 positions to finish 10th. And this was done over and above Max having collided with a tree! His helmet was broken and he was bruised and scraped in several places, but otherwise all ok and ready for Stage 3.

songo.Info Grand Masters Barti Bucher and Heinz Zoerweg continue to excel in their category with another win and now lead by 30 minutes in their overall time.

Unfortunately Exxaro Riders Sipho Madolo and Azukile Simayile had a very distressing day with punctures and severe nausea and vomiting. This lion-hearted team still completed the race to come 64th overall. An overwhelming feat in the taxing conditions!  It was great to see Sipho and Azu looking as good as new again once they'd had a chance to recover and recharge.

Heroes of the day go to Songo Fipaza and Luyanda Thobingunya who rode with and supported an unwell Charl Stander.  For a team who spent nearly 10 on their bikes, they looked well, relaxed and strong.

Stage 3 will see the riders looping through the surrounding mountains of Tulbagh. It's going to be fast, action-packed morning with the leaders expected to finish before 11:00am.

Wishing you all great rides tomorrow!