Queen stage upends Cape Epic standings
Cracks start to show after a long week of racingPhoto by: Nick Muzik/Cape Epic
Defending Cape Epic champions, Lukas Baum and Georg Egger have stayed out of the highlights and out of the leader’s jerseys so far at this year’s Cape Epic. While Specialized and Scott-SRAM have battled for wins, the Canyon-Leatt-Speed Company has slotted into second or third every day. That all changed on Friday when the two Germans stole a stage win and captured the leader’s jerseys in South Africa.
On the women’s side, it was the opposite story. Friday saw defending champion Sofia Gomez Villafane and new partner Katerina Nash drop off of the podium, and further out of contention for the overall. It was Amy Wakefield and Candice Lill taking a big step closer to bringing the Cape Epic title home to South Africa.
Canadians at the Cape Epic
Pivot Cycles-OTE are sitting 31st after Stage 5. The Quebec duo are 3:03 back of the new leaders. They’re putting in a valiant fight against an international field. especially considering they’re reportedly managing the infamous and feared Cape Epic stomach bug.
New leaders step up
After a string of podiums all week, Orbea-Leatt-Speed Company stepped out of Specialized’s shadow to take their first Cape Epic stage win of 2023. The defending champion’s patience appears to be paying off, as Georg Egger and Lukas Baum not only take the stage win but also take over the GC lead. They’ll wear the leader’s jerseys on Saturday’s sixth stage for the first time this week.
In second, another German duo, Simon Stiebjahn and Martin Frey (Team Singer Racing) earn their first podium finish this year. They push Scott-SRAM down into third and Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne off the podium entirely.
Nino Schurter and Andri Frischknecht (Scott-SRAM) preserve a third place finish but, in losing 2:40 to Egger and Baum, now sit one minute back in the overall standings. Christopher Blevins and Matthew Beers (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne) still sit third on GC, but are now 7:08 away from the new leaders.
Standing shake-up in the women’s racing
Friday saw Kim le Court and Vera Looser (Efficient Infinity Insure) win back-to-back stages and their third win at this year’s Cape Epic. While the Efficient Infinity Insure team was able to put 2 minutes and 36 seconds into race leader’s Amy Wakefield and Candice Lill (e-Fort.net/SeattleCoffeeCo) they couldn’t take over the lead. Lill and Wakefield still have a 13:53 buffer over second. With two race days remaining, the two South African’s are getting closer to bringing the Cape Epic title home.
With third place on Friday’s stage going to Cannondale’s Greete Steinburg and Monica Yliana Claderon Martinez, their first Cape Epic podium, NinetyOne-Specialized-Songo move further away from their goal of defending Sofia Gomez Villafane’s 2022 Cape Epic title. The Specialized duo lost 20 minutes and nine seconds to the stage winners, but it is the gap to Lill and Wakefield that matters most. Villafane and Nash now have just two days of racing to make up a 28-minute deficit.