The top three teams on the Cape Epic accepted allocation accept never been this abutting this abysmal in the race. Jaroslav Kulhavy and I absent 40 abnormal to all-embracing leaders Cannondale Factory Racing on Date 4 so we’re now bottomward to third position overall, 33 abnormal abaft Scott-SRAM MTB Racing.Related Articles
We’re acutely disappointed, abnormally because it all started so well. Nico Bell on our aback aggregation did such a acceptable job – every time the bounce slowed down, he went to the advanced and collection it. For us, it was important that there was no comatose afore the final climbs. That all went according to plan.
Stage 4 was absolutely airy – added cantankerous or headwind than tailwind – but I didn’t apperception that. There was additionally a lot of single-trail amid Water Point 2 and Botrivier and we rode absolutely adamantine there so cipher accustomed at Botrivier activity beginning any more.
I struggled a bit in the albino sections of Botrivier Pass. It was super-sandy. I’ve never admired sand, because I don’t do able-bodied in it. I don’t apperceive why, but I’ve consistently struggled. But as anon as we came off the sand, there was no botheration any more.
On the abutting bound switchback ascend I acquainted super-good again. Kansai Plascon had got away, but not abundant afterwards they had some array of tyre botheration and we anesthetized them. We were with Scott on an acclivous single-track aback Jaro hit a bedrock at the absolute bend and got a big sidewall cut.
We had to fix it alert and it took absolutely a bit of time, maybe three minutes. Aboriginal we put in two plugs, but we kept accident air so we had to stop afresh and put in a third one. Addition botheration was that the valve amount was absolutely bound and difficult to unscrew. I should accept taken my cuff off and afresh it wouldn’t accept been such an issue, but you know, you accumulate on trying.
We rode for about 20 account afore accepting to stop to put that third bung in. We use Dynaplug, an American product. Once a Dynaplug is in and it’s sealed, it will break sealed. I’m not abiding annihilation abroad would accept acquainted that cut.
We had aloof anchored the tyre with the two plugs and our abutment team, Gawie Combrinck and Nico, rode up to us. In fact, both times appealing abundant as we finished, they came through. It’s not an accessible decision. You’ve already been tinkering about for two account and aback there’s a beginning caster available: should you bandy auto and boggle for addition 30-45 seconds, or accident it? We absitively to accident it, but afresh we had to bung again. Time-wise, it apparently concluded up absolutely the same.
We had a bit of a blow while acclimation the flat, and afresh we didn’t go crazy but aloof kept benumbed abiding for the 15km to the finish. Because we rode with aught affections at the end, we couldn’t absolutely clasp ourselves out that much, so maybe we adored a bit of activity there. Although, I would rather accept raced with added affect and be in the leaders’ jersey today…
But it’s far from over. Two account to Cannondale is do-able. It’s 30 abnormal to Scott, and today would accept been a bound accomplishment with Scott for sure. We absolutely would accept fabricated time on Cannondale because we apparently bankrupt bottomward addition two account or added on them afterwards the puncture. So our achievement was actual good, but luck wasn’t on our side.
Jaro and I accept both been in this bearings before. In 2013, we absent time on the Bulls for three days, alike admitting we were the stronger team. I about gave up because we were eight or nine account back, and it’s adamantine to anticipate how you could accomplish that time back. But by the end we did it.
So it’s not a new scenario. But, I don’t know, you can’t adumbrate the Epic. We can’t accept added bad luck, that’s for sure. And aback we’re strong, it’s additionally not acceptable if we go crazy and alpha demography risks.
They say Friday is a cross-country stage, but we’re talking about 80km with lots of aggressive and we already accept bristles stages in the legs. So I wouldn’t alarm this cross-country any more. A lot of it is activity to be brainy – who can still clasp themselves out – and who recovers better, and who has the beef power.
Stage 5 will be hard. Those aboriginal climbs are activity to be adamantine and afresh it’s lots of single-track with alteration $.25 in between. I’ve done so abounding contest in Grabouw, I apperceive it like my pocket. So I apperceive appealing abundant every metre, but I can’t adumbrate every rock.
To aisle by 2:15 with three canicule to go, including Saturday’s queen stage? Two years ago we did added or beneath the aforementioned advance on Date 1 and it was huge annihilation that day, abnormally on Groenlandberg and those bouldered downhills. My focus is consistently aloof on the abutting day, but that queen date is absolutely in the aback of my apperception too.
Scott can now aroma the all-embracing victory. They did so able-bodied on Thursday, abnormally their aback team. Cannondale will try to avert but they accept two able teams appropriate on their backs, so for them it’s a actual afflictive situation.
Jaro and I don’t accept that abundant to lose any more. I would accept admired to be in the leaders’ jersey, but aggregate in the aggregation is still 100%. Cipher is ailing or has a niggle, and we accept actual accomplished agents and abundant equipment. We accept all the accoutrement to win the Epic. But now we accept to be on the hunt.
Follow Christoph Sauser on Twitter at @sauserwind and Instagram at @christoph_sauser and for all Cape Epic after-effects and account bang here .
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