Stage 2 – Sprint Victory for Meerendal CBC
Stage 2 of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic had all the elements to be an even tougher stage than the day before, during which the sweltering conditions left many riders needing medical attention. The daunting 102km route was set to include 2 350m of altitude gain in a predicted 35 degrees Celsius. But after consultation with the race doctors the route was shortened to 62km, with 1 500m of climbing.
For the elite riders the shortened distance would mean a fast and furious pace so it would by no means be an easier day in the saddle. Leading the Hansgrohe Women’s Category Jennie Stenerhag & Esther Süss could afford to shadow the second placed pairing of Sabine Spitz & Robyn de Groot, of Ascendis Health. The shortened route had another drawback for Stenerhag & Süss, they couldn’t see the finish line as they normally would be able to. So in the final kilometre, when the race crossed under the N2 Süss knew the finish must be nearby. So she attacked on what transpired to be the final climb, distancing Spitz slightly – tough Stenerhag and de Groot followed her wheel. The gap, to Spitz though only a few bike lengths was enough to slingshot the Meerendal CBC team down the final descent and into the finishing straight with an advantage for the sprint finish. Süss crossed the finish line first – followed by de Groot, Stenerghag and then a few seconds later Spitz – handing the Meerendal CBC women their second stage win of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic and adding 6 seconds to their overall lead.
— Cape Brewing Co. (@CapeBrewingCo) March 21, 2017
The day was less successful for the Meerendal CBC 2 team of Hielke Elferink & Cornelia Hug. Elferink had said before the stage that they had felt very strong during Stage 1, but that she had started to get goose bumps in the final hour; a sure sign of heat stroke. She then struggled to sleep on Monday night due to the heat and humidity in the race village, so the short and high paced stage did her no favours today. The Meerendal CBC 2 women finished 17 minutes and 59.6 seconds behind their stage winning teammates.
In the Grand Masters Category Barti Bucher and Heinz Zoerweg, of Meerendal CBC 3 extended their general classification lead with another superb stage victory, while in the Mixed category Heinz Posch and Nina Brenn of Meerendal CBC 4 were fifth.
Absa Cape Epic | Stage 2 Results – Hansgrohe Women’s Category
1) Meerendal CBC: Jennie Stenerhag & Esther Süss (3:0551.7)
2) Ascendis Health: Sabine Spitz & Robyn de Groot (+5.9)
3) Team Spur: Ariane Lüthi & Adeleid Morath (5:02.7)
4) Hollard-Velocity Sports Lab: Carmen Buchacher & Michelle Vorster (+7:03.8)
5) Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro: Annie Last & Mariske Strauss (8:10.4)
Absa Cape Epic | General Classification – Hansgrohe Women’s Category
1) Meerendal CBC: Jennie Stenerhag & Esther Suss (9:32:02.2)
2) Ascendis Health: Sabine Spitz & Robyn de Groot (+8:58.0)
3) Hansgrohe Cadence OMX Pro: Annie Last & Mariske Strauss (+21:17.7)
4) Team Spur: Ariane Lüthi & Adeleid Morath (+28:04.2)
5) dormakaba SA: Candice Lill & Vera Adrian (+41:24.4)
6) Hollard-Velocity Sports Lab: Carmen Buchacher & Michelle Vorster (+49:37.1)
7) Meerendal CBC 2: Hielke Elferink & Cornelia Hug (+50:18.0)