Cape Epic 2023: Toyota-Specialized also wins stage 3, but Scott-SRAM keeps the lead
Beers-Blevins took the stage 3 victory with another well-executed tactical move at the end of one of the longest courses of the entire race. The day always had several teams at the front, including Scott-SRAM, which continues to show great strength and for the moment no one is able to take the yellow jersey away from them.
Toyota-Specilized wins again but a flawless Scott-SRAM continues to lead overall
The Cape Epic 2023 reached the third stage after Scott-SRAM increased its overall lead yesterday. This time, the race was heading north to Oak Valley Estate. A tough day in which the legs had to endure a mileage similar to that of stage 2 but with more meters to climb: 100 kilometers and 2,300 meters of elevation gain.
The stage also offered small stretches to catch some air, especially between km 30 and 50. A brief break before facing the big climb of Houw Hoek Inn and Paul Cluver to reach the final part of the course.
The riders started the stage with their sights set on Scott-SRAM. The good start of the race by Schurter-Frischknecht suggested that the other candidates for the general classification would come out with their fangs sharpened to sink their teeth into the Swiss duo.
Beers set the pace in the lead group and so they reached the first climb of the day. 2 km up Bosman with the South African in front followed by Egger-Baum, Schurter-Frischknecht, Blevins, Buys-Miller and Rabensteiner-Alleman.
The uphill served for these five teams to make more ground on the rest of the riders, who gave up some time. Soon after came the first attack, led by PYGA Euro Steel at km 27. However, although all were able to respond to the offensive, Buys-Miller did not give up and continued to push the group.
The stage continued without major changes, perhaps waiting to approach Houw Hoek. The ten riders showed a great level of equality that for the moment nobody could break.
With 50 km to go the Orbea x Leatt x Speed Company made a move and forced the others to squeeze a little more muscle. Schurter countered and caught in their wake, as did the Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne pair, while Frischknecht tried to do the same. Not so for the Wilier Pirelli Factory, who couldn't respond and lost some time.
And when it looked like the stage was going to be a matter of the four leading teams, the Wilier Pirelli Factory led the chase together with the chasing group and managed to catch the leader.
Schurter suffered a crash, but the Scott-SRAM star was able to get back into the race. 64 km and the lead was shared between eight teams.
The stage got agitated as several riders tried to make their moves. After Rabensteiner attacked, it was the yellow jerseys that went to the front. It was then that bad luck came knocking at Egger-Baum's door in the form of a flat tyre. Obligatory stop that made them lose time.
Ahead, three teams were leading with 25 km to go: Scott-SRAM, Wilier Pirelli Factory and Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne. For their part, Egger-Baum showed a lot of heart by going one more gear and catching the leaders. It was all open with just a few km to go.
Frischknecht dropped off with only 3 km to go. Beers-Blevins took the lead with 2 km to go. Following the script that gave them yesterday's victory, they played the tactical card: Beers put in the pace and Blevins kept the rest.
And so they consumed the end of the stage, with Blevins catching up with his teammate to cross the finish line. Stage victory -again- for Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne. Although the winners were actually Schurter-Frischknecht, who arrived just 4 seconds later and were able to keep the yellow jersey almost without losing time overall.
For his part, Bou-Muñoz had a great stage to sign a fifth place and to sneak into the top10 of the general classification.
Cape Epic 2023 Men's Category Results - Stage 3
- Beers/Blevins (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne) 4:07'11"
- Egger/Baum (Orbea x Leatt x Speed Company) +1"
- Rabensteiner/Alleman (Wilier Pirelli Factory) +2"
- Schurter/Frischknecht (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing) +4"
- Bou/Muñoz (Cannondale VAS Arabay) +2'33"
- Becking/Dias (BUFF Megamo) +4'35"
- Buys/Miller (PYGA Euro Steel) +5'08"
- Huber/Schneller (Bulls Heroes) +5'15"
- Porro/Nibali (Italian Friends) +5'17"
- Joubert/Du Toit (Imbuko TypeDev) +5'48"
Overall classification Men's category Cape Epic 2023 - Stage 3
- Schurter/Frischknecht (Scott-SRAM MTB Racing) 13:32'57"
- Egger/Baum (Orbea x Leatt x Speed Company) +3'12"
- Rabensteiner/Alleman (Wilier Pirelli Factory) +4'57"
- Beers/Blevins (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne) +7'40"
- Seewald/Stosek (Canyon Northwave MTB) +17'11"
- Porro/Nibali (Italian Friends) +20'27"
- Vakoc/Stutzmann (Canyon Northwave) +21'55"
- Buys/Miller (PYGA Euro Steel) +22'49"
- Huber/Schneller (Bulls Heroes) +26'32"
- Bou/Muñoz (Cannondale VAS Arabay) +28'50"
Wakefield-Lill are unrivaled and are even more in the lead
The women's race started as stage 2 did: the three main teams together in a kind of truce where no one was attacking. Despite Wakefield's injury and their overall lead, the e-FORT.net duo was strong from the start.
The kilometers passed and Wakefield-Lill and Gomez-Nash stood out at the front, while Le Court-Looser lost contact with them. Near the end, the e-FORT.net riders showed again that they are a step ahead of their rivals and reached the 84th km alone and with a 50-second gap.
The lead continued to grow and already exceeded 2 minutes after 90 km. In the end there were no surprises and Wakefield-Lill crossed the finish line in first place to complete a sensational stage and become even more leaders.
Cape Epic 2023 Women's Category Results - Stage 3
- Wakefield/Lill (e-FORT.net) 4:59'42"
- Gómez/Nash (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized) +2'57"
- Le Court/Looser (Efficient Inifity Insure) +8'42"
- Steinburg/Calderón (Cannondale Vas Arabay) +30'56'
- Keseg Stevkova/Krahulcova (8capital) +32'23"
- Keep/Preen (Valley Electrical) +34'06"
- Wohlters/De Villiers (Bester Performance) +36'08"
- Hill/Harmzen-Pretorius (She Untamed) +37'56"
- Venter/Johnson (Deeka Vivo Vita) +38'58"
- Povey/Hanekom (Echo Pentest) +1:00'00"
Overall classification Women's category Cape Epic 2023 - Stage 3
- Wakefield/Lill (e-FORT.net) 16:45'44"
- Gómez/Nash (NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized) +8'21"
- Le Court/Looser (Efficient Inifity Insure) +19'22"
- Steinburg/Calderón (Cannondale Vas Arabay) +1:25'11'
- Keseg Stevkova/Krahulcova (8capital) +1:29'52"
- Keep/Preen (Valley Electrical) +1:39'50"
- Hill/Harmzen-Pretorius (She Untamed) +1:46'49"
- Wohlters/De Villiers (Bester Performance) +1:50'08"
- Venter/Johnson (Deeka Vivo Vita) +2:01'15"
- Povey/Hanekom (Echo Pentest) +3:09'57"