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Copyright: A. Kuestenbrueck
Copyright: A. Kuestenbrueck

ABSA Cape Epic: stage 6 - Another crash at the end of the race prevents the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team from finishing in the top 5 for the stage

2. April 2011

Elgin, South Africa

The 6th stage, a lap of 128 km and 2,700 m of ascents and descents, the most uneven stage of the 2011 race, has been completed. As predicted by Balz Weber, the climbs sorted out the leading group, of which the BMC was part until around 30 km before the finish line. That was when a minor fall by Balz on a sandy bend stalled our riders. Despite nearly an hour and a half of "solo" efforts, the Swiss duo couldn't manage to catch up with the leading group. Without the collaboration between several teams over such a distance, the gap between the leaders quickly widens and today amounts to 10:02 at the finish...


"Today was the most beautiful stage of the week", declared an exhausted Alex Moos at the finish. "The proposed routes were really twisty and my teammate brought us back to the finish after his fall. He was really strong today." Today's stage, with views of the Indian Ocean, no less, also pleased Balz Weber. Unfortunately his fall, coupled with Alex's fall yesterday, meant that our riders couldn't achieve a place in the top 5, which is understandably disappointing for them. However, the staff on the team, especially our team manager, Fabienne Heinzmann, is very satisfied by the results obtained by her protégés: "Given the plateau there is in this race, our men have done a fantastic job up to today. Some teams take part in the Cape Epic and make it their principle objective for that year. They are represented by several teams of riders who can help each other during the race, which is not the case for us. So we can be satisfied with our current 8th position. Tomorrow's last stage will be even more keenly contested between the highest ranked teams, but Alex and Balz should be able to maintain their position, if they are lucky and don't have any mechanical problems."


As mentioned above, Alex and Balz completed the lap in 5:10:49, 10:02 behind the day's winners, the Hispanic - Swiss duo of José Hermida and Ralf Naef. The former is the world champion in cross country MTB (incidentally, he has fantastic white equipment with rainbow trimming specially for the occasion), while Ralf Naef is none other than the European champion in marathon MTB and a former world champion in marathon MTB as well. We did tell you that the cream of MTB were participating in this race...


The ABSA Cape Epic 2011 is coming to an end. The 7th and last stage will therefore take place tomorrow, between Elgin and Lourensford, covering 59 km and 1,700m of ascents: a "half-stage" that won't be relaxing in the slightest, given the battle that will take place for victory. Two bumps to overcome and our "Cape Warriors" will reach the finish line with a well-deserved feeling of achievement and the memories of an incredible adventure. But there still remain these infamous 59 km, which Dr Evil has warned the racers about... A particular mention here for all the amateur participants in this superb race. Respect to you and hats off, ladies and gentlemen! You have pulled off a truly incredible feat! ‘Till tomorrow, for the last letter from South Africa...

Text: Ugo Dessimoz, translated from French


All information about the route, results and rankings can be found at www.cape-epic.com