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Cycling | SA Cycling

Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen © Shaun Roy/Cape Epic

Langvad, Van der Breggen back on top at the Epic

The leaders in both the men's and women's categories at the Absa Cape Epic extended their leads and both look virtually certain of victory going into Sunday’s Grand Finale stage into Val de Vie Estate.

Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized) raced to a huge nine-minute victory in the women's category on Saturday's penultimate Stage 6, while the men's category leaders, Nino Schurter and Lars Foster (Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing), did not win the stage but added to their lead.

The leading women dominated from the gun on Saturday and enjoyed a trouble-free ride over the 89km stage which started and finished at Stellenbosch University.

South African Candice Lill and her German partner Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin), the winners of Friday's stage, finished second and are now a massive 30 minutes behind with just Sunday's final 70km stage remaining.

Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur Racing) were third, just under two minutes behind Lill and Morath, but they are now more than an hour behind the leaders.

In the men's race, Colombian Louis Meija and Italian Johnny Cattaneo (7C CBZ Wilier) were a bit fortunate to claim the stage win, crossing the line just over two minutes ahead of the Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing pair.

Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco) looked on course for the stage victory but then had to relinquish a two-minute lead late in the stage when they damaged a wheel.

They spent three minutes getting back on the trail, allowing both the 7C CBZ Wilier and Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing teams to go past.

The Italians ended the stage third, just ahead of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing), who maintain their second place overall but are now eight minutes behind Schurter and Foster.

The Absa African Men's red jerseys also look safe on the shoulders of Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers (SpecializedFoundationNAD).

The South Africans finished the stage fifth and remain fifth overall, and now enjoy a lead of nearly 45 minutes over the second all-African team of Imbuko Giant’s Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens.

In the race for the Absa African Women's Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk finished the stage sixth overall – the sixth time out of seven stages they have claimed that position – and now virtually just need to finish on Sunday to claim that title.

In the Dimension Data Masters category Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) finished second on the stage, 55 seconds behind Ondrej Fojtik and José Silva (Mitas Head New Race), but still lead the category by over an hour.

The dominant Grand Masters team of CST Sandd Bafang's Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens won their seventh stage in a row and are now the only team that can still complete a clean-sweep of wins in any category.

They hold a 90-minute advantage over Barti Bucher and Hans Juerg Gerber (Meerendal) who have finished second in all but one of the stages so far.

Cape Town-based German husband and wife team of Sebastian and Laura Stark (TBR-Werner) collected their sixth stage win on Saturday in the Virgin Active Mixed category. They will go into the Grand Finale to Val de Vie with a 50-minute lead over second-placed Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (MMR Mixed).

There was a new winner in the Exxaro Jersey race on Saturday with the Thesele Velokhaya team of Mthetheleli Boya and Loyiso Fulu producing their best ride of the week to edge out the jersey leaders Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) by a minute.

The result does little to change the overall positions, with Mlangeni and Tlou holding a 38-minute advantage over Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo (BMT Fairtree), while Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/RMB 1) are third, 55 minutes further back.

Sunday's Grand Finale Stage takes riders from Stellenbosch University along the trails to Val de Vie for the Champs-Élysées of the Absa Cape Epic.

The 70km route is relatively short and the podium positions look settled, but there are still pitfalls which could create a final twist.


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