Courtesy of World of Freesports
With a brutal 39km/1430m to negotiate, there was no rest for Investec Songo Specialized, Cannondale Factory Racing and Canyon Topeak as the hunt for the yellow jersey intensified on Stage 5 in Wellington. On paper the course looked to favour the cross-country specialists – more specifically the Cannondale Factory Racing boys and Prologue winners, Centurion Vaude, but as it turned out that was not the case…
Cannondale Factory Racing were the biggest losers of the day, a direct result of yesterday’s heroic efforts having caught up with them. Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini looked out of sorts for most of the route, the latter of whom was taking tremendous strain on the climbs. Cannondale Factory Racing would eventually finish in fifth place, and with that result, drop one place below Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek (Canyon Topeak) on the general classification to third.
The day however, belonged to Investec Songo Specialized who are showing no signs of weakness. It was a flawless display in which Kulhavy and Grotts asserted their dominance closing down Cannondale Factory Racing, who started three minutes ahead of them, within the first 20km. Investec Songo Specialized now carry a 7.15,8 lead going into Stage 6 – a tough 76km/2000m day out in Wellington. They’ll be well aware of the threat Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek present to their position at the top of the general classification and will need a mechanical-free day to keep the charging Canyon Topeak pairing at bay.
It was just another day of Absa Cape Epic racing and another win for the Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney as they snatched a surprisingly tight victory at the time-trial in and around Wellington on Friday. It was the sixth win from six stages for the Investec Songo Specialized pair, but for the first time at the 2018 event there was some doubt about the result in the Women’s category for most of the stage. A resurgent Sabine Spitz and Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) led by 31 seconds through halfway and ended up just 12.5 seconds down at the end of the tough 39km ride that included 1 430m of vertical ascent.
While the margin of victory was small, the Danish multiple World Champion and her young American partner extended their lead by two minutes 52 seconds over Annie Last and Mariske Strauss (Silverback-KMC) who are currently lying second overall and who were third on the stage. The gap from Investec Songo Specialized to Silverback on general classification has now grown to just over 35 minutes and even the two leaders are being forced to cautiously admit that their victory is looking like a certainty.
1. InvestecSongoSpecialized 2-1 Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) 2-2 Howard Grotts (USA) 1:44.49,6 2. Trek Selle San Marco 2 15-1 Fabian Rabensteiner (ITA) 15-2 Michele Casagrande (ITA) 1:45.22,8 +33,2 3. Canyon Topeak 7-1 Alban Lakata (AUT) 7-2 Kristian Hynek (CZE) 1:46.42,5 +1.52,9
1. Investec Songo Specialized 54-1 Annika Langvad (DEN) 54-2 Kate Courtney (USA) 2:08.26,5 2. Ascendis Health 52-1 Sabine Spitz (GER) 52-2 Robyn De Groot (RSA) 2:08.39,0 +12,5 3. Silverback – KMC 51-1 Mariske Strauss (RSA) 51-2 Annie Last (GBR) 2:11.18,7 +2.52,2