The penultimate stage of the Absa Cape Epic was trail paradise.
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“The stage was excellent!” Beamed Fabian Rabensteiner afterward Saturday’s penultimate stage around Stellenbosch. “Of the six Absa Cape Epics I have done, this is probably the best stage ever.”
Stage 6, with its shark toothed profile, was always going to be one for the non-GC contenders. Still, not many punters would’ve predicted a one-three for Wilier-Pirelli. The pair of Rabensteiner and Wout Alleman rode an absolutely flawless race to win; while Daniel Geismayr and Cameron Orr (Wilier-Pirelli Factory) finished the day in third.
As pleased with themselves after the stage were the German pairing of Speed Company Racing (Lukas Baum and Georg Egger). They finished second on the day, taking back a significant amount of time on the overall leaders. Baum and Egger will start the Grand Finale on Sunday just 02:45 behind the yellow jersey leaders, the closest margin into the Grand Finale in recent years.
Comfortable in the orange CM.com Women’s category leader jerseys, NinetyOne-Songo-Specialized put together another consummate performance to take another stage win, their third so far. Much like everyone who crossed the finish line after the deceptively difficult 76km stage with 2700m of climbing, the pair could not say enough good things about the trails around Stellenbosch.
“It was the battle of the trails out there!” Commented Hayley Batten – who, along with partner Sofia Gómez Villafane – now lead Faces Rola (Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss) by over 16 minutes in the general classification going into the Trail to Val de Vie.
“It felt so freakin’ good to finally know a trail that we’re riding,” added Gómez Villafane. “You could see that once we know a trail we can open up some space… Once we hit that last flow trail it was all go go go!
Stay tuned to see who will go, go, go on Sunday. Live Broadcast of the final stage of the 2022 Absa Cape Epic from 08:30 on cape-epic.com