“What has happened to us can at any time happen to the Bulls. They are also tired and we can´t give up”, that were Jara´s last words yesterday. He was so upset after the third day of bad luck at the stage race Absa Cape Epic in South Africa. They have failed three times in the Burry Stander-Songo team but finally they have succeeded in today´s stage from Tulbagh to Wellington. With another attack, Jaroslav Kulhavy a Christoph Sauser, shook off all the rivals and they brought till the end an incredible winning escape. During 120km stage they built up the six minute lead. The Bulls-the leading team in running classification, lost the way and finally Jara and Susi are wearing yellow jerseys again with a 13 minute lead in the overall ranking three stages till the end of the race.
“After the long broken climbing we were several seconds ahead on the top so we added up something in the downhill and then we were riding in full speed….”, described Jara the beginning of the last of their everyday´s attacks. “I feel a little pain in my legs, I cannot ride the plains in the same way like yesterday or the day before, but all of us are tired. But I am still well in the hills”, said Jaroslav about his condition after 478kilometres. There are still 228 uneasy kilometres left till the end.
“We musn´t make a mistake now. We have built up a good lead, but everything can change if we meet more serious problem. We are not going to risk in the downhills where it is better to lose several seconds than to break something down. We are riding tactically, as the Bulls yesterday. But of course if there is a chance to finish or to attack in the uphills or to win another stage we will take an advantage of the situation. We have already won the stage so now the overall position is important.”
The Bulls team has succeeded with the protest at the race organizers and the UCI commissioner and their loss have been reduced by 10 minutes, so in the overall ranking the Burry Stander-Songo team leads with only 1:12 minutes. Jaroslav and Christoph are very disillusioned and disappointed to say it politely. “I could not believe that, permanent problems and failure for three days in a row! But it will come back!”said Jara. The organizers made an attempt to explain that Platt, Huber, Boehme, Dietsch, Hermida and van Houts were riding (unlike Jara and Susi) after going down the right track on the officially signed route, which had been prepared for tomorrow´s stage.
Corrected overall ranking after the 4th stage:
1. Burry Stander – Songo (Jaroslav Kulhavy, Christoph Sauser) time 19:40:04 h.
2. Bulls (Karl Platt, Urs Huber) + 1:12 min.
3. Bulls 2 (Thomas Dietsch, Tim Boehme) + 13:30 min.
Neverending bad luck of the team Burry Stander – Songo at this year´s Cape Epic. Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser were even closer the stage winning than yesterday. But just one kilometre till the end in the enclosed terrain they passed the turning and lost two minute lead over the Bulls team which they had ridden in the previous 93 kilometers in the Tulbagh valley.
“We were riding fast, to save up as much time as possible and we passed the turn. There were two turnings, one after another, to the left and to the right but the sign of the second one didn´t show exactly where to go and there was no usual tape, so we went straight”, explained Jara at the end of the third unsuccessful day.
“It´s a little bit demotivating. Basically we have been making the race but we have not been able to succeed. We need badly a good day. That what happened to us can easily happen to the Bulls as well. They are also tired, so we can´t give up”, said Jaroslav, who tore into parts the leading pack with his attacks and finally, together with Christoph they cut off Karl Paltt and Urs Hubert in the yelow jerseys. German-Swiss pair crossed the finish as the first, the same as yesterday.
“We were biking at full speed before the right turning, focused on the best and fastest riding. We had no idea that we were going wrong so we cyrried on riding. Untill the motorbike drove us and returned us back on track….”, Christoph said.
Tomorrow the bikers are awaiting 120km long stage from Tulbagh to Wellington.
Results: 3rd stage
1. Bulls (Karl Platt, Urs Huber) time 3:53:17 h.
2. Burry Stander – Songo (Jaroslav Kulhavy, Christoph Sauser) + 46 sec.
3. Bulls 2 (Thomas Dietsch, Tim Boehme) + 5:53 min.
1. Bulls (Karl Platt, Urs Huber)
2. Burry Stander – Songo (Jaroslav Kulhavy, Christoph Sauser) + 8:49 min.
3. Bulls 2 (Thomas Dietsch, Tim Boehme) + 12:16 min.
The longest stage of the tenth anniversary biking stage Absa Cape Epic from Citrusdal to Tulbagh measured 146 km and it developed very well for the team Burry Stander – Songo.
“From the very beginning it was quite slow. I can say that until the hundredth kilometre it was at ease and it looked like relaxing stage, even though it was the longest. Then I looked back and I didn´t see Hermida, so I shouted at Susi that we keep riding and only Bulls stayed with us”, described Jaroslav the first third of the race. But then some technical problem appeared together with bad luck.
“Riding downhill I stepped on and suddenly the chain broke away…. We started to repair it, but we broke the plug of the riveter. We were trying to mend it with the clutch, but it didn´t work and of course it took us terribly much time…” described the crucial moment of today´s stage snarky Jara. Till approximately the 115th kilometre they were attacking for the stage winning and virtually they were wearing yellow jerseys again for the race leaders. And what´s more the problem came after the last refreshment and technical zone.
Bulls were a bit weaker, most of the stage I rode myself. We rode for winning and yellow jerseys. But eventually we have lost 13 minutes and it is a lot. It will cost much more energy in the following stages”, said the Olympic winner shaking his head. They finished the stage in the third place, but with the loss of 8.44 minutes on Karl Platt and Urs Huber. Jara and Christoph are the third, as well as in the overall rating. But they are not giving up. There are facing five next stages.
“We still have a chance, but we can´t continue in this way. Even though we are physically prepared we have lost much time”.
South African Cape Epic showed in the first stage how much challenging, is the entire race going to be. Compared with the race propositions the organizers even shortened the stage near Citrusdal to 96 km with 2350 superelevation.
Jara and Christoph, due to technical problems in the first kilometres of the race picked up the several minute loss, which they failed to ride off and lost the yellow jerseys of the leaders, which they had won in the yesterday´s prologue.
“Chrisoph told me yesterday not to inflate the wheels too much because it is easy to have a defect on these stones. And in the first downhill he hit the rim and broke it. It was a bad luck it can happen to anyone and anywhere in this terrain. Fortunately we managed to repair it in five minutes and Susi was given a new bike. And then we were trying to reduce the loss. But there was no sense to escalate the situation too much, because it overwhelms the one for several next days, which is useless or we risked the defect like several other teams today. We still have a good position for the following days”, explained Jaroslav after the demanding stage.