2017 Cape Epic -Stage 4
What a day! Our best finish yet at the 2017 Cape Epic.
Mariske Strauss and Annie Last were delighted to cross the finish line in second place today. After a slow start to the day, the Hansgrohe – Cadence Nutrition pair really got stuck into the race, set the pace and made it count in the final, grueling, twenty km.
It was, finally, a cooler day in the Western Cape, with early morning mist and a grey sky for much of the early stage. However, the outlook was bright – it can’t fail to be with Mariske around! In high spirits and with a growing confidence, our ladies led the race out of Greyton and onto the 112 km course to Elgin. Annie explains how the day panned out,
“It was a nice point to point today, and a bit cooler which was a relief. The course was rolling for the first eighty km so the race stayed together. By the time we got to the single track the lead group was down to eight riders. In the last twenty km there was a big climb, then eight km to finish. When we hit the climb we hit the sand! It was really tough at the bottom of the climb and that’s where the race split. Ascendis punctured, Meerendal pulled away and we rode hard in second place. It was a good day out and we are really happy to take second place.”
Mariske said she felt like it took a long time for the race to get going, so at fifty km she went to the front and drove hard to whittle down the bunch to the main contenders. From there it was time to gun it for home.
“I picked up the pace at fifty km to try and get rid of some of the fluff and thin out the bunch. Annie was a monster again today and we raced super hard in the final stages to take second place. Woohooo! It’s a great feeling and I’m really happy to share the adventure with Annie.”
Finish line hugs were extra big today, and the whole team are really proud of this result. Martin shows just what the team spirit is like,
“It depends on the stage profile and the type of trails as to when I catch the women’s bunch. Today it was already after fifty minutes because it was really fast and flat in the beginning and no one in the women’s group wanted to work. I switched on the 360 degrees camera that I’m riding with and told Annie and Mariske to wave – was a fun moment in the stage! Today they did a really good job, keeping calm in the beginning of the stage and being ready to dig deep when the pace was getting faster, and they got rewarded with a second place finish. It’s always nice when they finish on the podium and we have the whole team together at dinner with wine before the presentation.”