Nino Schurter of Scott Sram leads the race during stage 5 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Oak Valley Estate in Elgin to the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch on Friday. Photo: Nick Muzik/Cape Epic

STELLENBOSCH  Nino Schurter and Lars Foster of the Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing grabbed back the Yellow Leaders’ Jersey and won over the local crowds by allowing a South African victory at the 100km Stage 5 of the Absa Cape Epic from Oak Valley Estate to Stellenbosch University on Friday.

Schurter and Foster rewarded the PYGA Euro-Steel pair of Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes for their assistance throughout the stage by backing off on the final sprint and gifting the South Africans the stage victory.

These two teams broke away early and built a six-minute lead over overnight leaders, Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing), who ended fourth on the stage behind Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco).

Schurter and Forster now take a 5:13 lead over Cannondale into the final two days racing over the weekend.

In the women’s category, the winners of the first five days of racing, Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized), suffered their first defeat when they finished four minutes behind Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin). The win for Lill and Morath, who are second overall, closed the gap to 21 minutes, but leaves the Investec-songo-Specialized pair still firmly in control in the race for overall honours on Sunday.

The win for Buys and Beukes lifts them to fourth in the race for the Absa African Men’s Jersey but still leaves them 84 minutes behind SpecializedFoundationNAD’s Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers, who yesterday moved into the top five overall despite finishing 13th on the stage. Imbuko Giant’s Marco Joubert and Nicol Carstens are currently second in the race for the Red jersey, an hour behind Hatherly and Beers.

In the African Women’s Jersey, Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill of team Galileo Risk finished the stage as the sixth women overall and maintained their big lead in that competition.

There was no change in the Dimension Data Masters, Grand Masters and Virgin Active Mixed categories. Jose Hermida and Joaquim Rodriguez (Merida Factory Racing) kept their lead in the Masters category, while CST Sandd Bafang’s Abraao Azevedo and Bart Brentjens increased their advantage in the Grand Masters category. Sebastian and laura Stark (TBR-Werner) moved further away from Oscar Freire Gomez and Natalia Fischer Egusquiza (MMR Mixed) in the Mixed category.

Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou (Exxaro/PWC 1) won the stage in the Exxaro Jersey race and now they enjoy a lead of over 31 minutes in that competition. The BMT Fairtree pair of Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo are second with Sean Baloyi and Anele Mtalana (Exxaro/RMB 1) third, an hour further back.  

African News Agency (ANA)