Dramatic Conclusion To Women’s Race On Stage 2
The women’s race of the 92km Stage 2 of the Absa Cape Epic came to a dramatic conclusion late in the day at the Oak Valley Wine Estate race village.
Although finishing the day in a blistering time of 4:37.31.1, Team RECM Specialized’s Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad had to wait until the very end of the day to hear their race fate, this after they took an unintentional detour close to the finish line and in doing so cut almost 5km off their race distance.
The race commissaire was left with a difficult decision to make after listening to explanations from Team RECM Specialized (For a full statement on the decision, see below).
The teams turned left when they should have gone straight, eventually joining the course again unaware that they had lopped off around 5km of the stage distance.
After reviewing the situation for a number of hours, including analysing “on-board” GoPro footage of the incident, the commissaire decided 13 minutes and 39 seconds would be added to Team RECM Specialized’s stage time because they rode 5km less than the rest of the field.
In addition, an extra hour was added to their stage time for not following the route markings. The time penalties mean Team RECM Specialized finished 11th on the day.
This now takes Kleinhans and Langvad out of the category leader’s jerseys and into fourth place on the standings, with Team Ascendis Health’s Jennie Stenerhag and Robyn de Groot moving into first place in the standings.
Team RECM Specialized now find themselves 27.06,8 behind the new leaders. Third-place finishers of the women’s race on Stage 2, Sally Bigham and Christina Kollman of Team Sellaronda Hero, moved into second for the day and third in the overall standings.
Earlier in the day, however, and for much of the stage’s 92km, it was business as usual for Team RECM Specialized. With daylight between them and the rest of the women’s field it appeared that a daylight savings clock would be the only way the chasing pack could reel in Kleinhans and Langvad – or a costly error.
“We weren’t very comfortable in the beginning because it was very windy,” said Kleinhans. “But once we got going we were straight into the racing. We like to race hard from the start because you can pull away from the field and that lessens your chances of getting caught up in an accident.”
Elsewhere in the field, former Cape Epic winner Sally Bigham and Christina Kollman of Team Sellaronda Hero rode into some form, taking third-place on the day (before being bumped up to second).
Kollman was a late call-up to Bigham’s team, discovering just a week before the event that she would be taking part after Blaža Klemenčič pulled out through injury.
“Christina was so brave to take on this challenge at such short notice,” said Bigham, “so we are delighted to get on the podium today.”
It was all the more impressive considering Kollman was in some discomfort before the day started. “My back was really sore during the warm up and again just before we started, so we decided to just ride the first 20km and see how it went,” said Kollman. “It’s an unbelievable result for us. I just got better and better during the day.” Tomorrow riders will leave Elgin and ride 128km towards Worcester, eventually finishing at HTS Drostdy in the town. Kleinhans and Langvad find themselves chasing the orange jersey once more, which should prove to be a demanding test of character for the new chasers and the new leaders