2017 Cape Epic – Stage 3
Hansgrohe – Cadence Nutrition made it three podiums from four stages with another superb demonstration that ‘team work makes the dream work’!
Stage Three took the riders on a seventy-eight kilometre loop from Greyton, over some classic Cape Epic terrain and through another hot and dusty day. Four days into the Cape Epic and it could be reasonably expected that the will, and the ability, to race full gas would be wearing off. Not so. Annie Last and Mariske Strauss put everything in and came out with third place.
Through Water Points One and Two, the Hansgrohe – Cadence Nutrition ladies were together with the leading two teams. By Water Point Three, at fifty-three kilometres, Annie and Mariske had just dropped off the pace but only by twenty seconds. Mariske rode straight through the Water Point to keep contact with the leaders whilst Annie stopped, refuelled for them both, and then rode back up to Mariske. At the finish line, the team staff nervously followed the race updates as the pair headed towards the finish and another possible podium.
The final twenty kilometres took their toll on Mariske who, following an amazing work rate yesterday, struggled to keep the pace. She explains,
“Today was a tough day on the bike for me. Yesterday’s effort was biting me but Annie was great. My tummy was a bit upset and I could hardly eat but it seems fine now.”
Amazingly, the ladies rode home to third place and more podium flowers! Plus, they put more time into the teams behind them to further secure their third place in the General Classification. After a bad day in the office yesterday, Annie bounced back to return the favour to her team mate and get Mariske through the stage as best as possible.
“The race was much better for me today. I felt good and there was lots of really nice single track which made for a good course. Mariske suffered a bit today but we worked well together and managed to keep the leaders in sight until late in the stage. Mariske had to look after the animals (which, pre-Epic, I said was part of her job description). Luckily nothing too South African, just some sheep and horses on the track, but she did her job well! Very happy to be on the podium again and keep third place overall.”
With the ladies on three third place finishes, Martin also collected his third day of ‘first Outcast to the finish’. He is training well and enjoying some great single trails and the Cape Epic vibe.
As the riders re-fuel and recover with Cadence Nutrition and more food than you would think possible for such slim people to eat, the staff are working incredibly hard each day to get the bikes and the riders perfectly prepped for the following day of racing. Think of them stumbling about with a head torch in the early mornings and late nights!