grape escape,western cape

for only the second time, the organisers of the world-renowned argus cycle tour put on a mtb stage race and incorporated it into a week that they now call cycle tour week.the race takes place on some of the most picturesque vineyards in the central western cape area.

on thursday we kicked of with the first 75km stage at 7am sharp.this meant an early wake up and shake up for myself and cape epic team mate,christoph sauser.the race would be great training for the absa cape epic drawing near.the pace was fairly hot from the gun and i settled into the rear of the lead group.i carried some fatigue into the race with a big training block so i was happy to ease into the event.christoph had only recently returned from a very cold switzerland but was riding well nontheless.the route flattened out towards the middle of the stage and besides ralph naef attacking the sandy sections like a mad man ,remained pretty uneventfull towards the finish.with 5km to go we ralph and christoph turn on the gas and it proved a hard the end christoph and i won the stage and crossed the line in 1st and 2nd.

stage 2 was a much harder stage.despite an easier start,we realy felt the pace over the last 30km which carried all of the days 1500m of ascent.we came home the victors again and extended our lead over the bulls and 360life teams.

on the last day we were hoping to just consolidate but in the end the satge was just too hard to take it easy.the pace was hard from the gun and from around 20km into the stage it was only myself,christoph,ralph and jaques rossouw left at the front.we worked hard all the way to the last feed zone where jaques and suzie had alittle play in the deep sand.we lost jaques and the rest of us charged over the line together.

it was a tough three days and to cap it off we started the argus mtb challenge on was a individual race but christoph and i still stayed close and worked together.kevin evans attacked on a climb in the middle of the race,i was stuck at the back of the group and had to realy dig deep to catch the end christoph and i came into the last 10km with evans but as fate would have it i broke a chain.after i just cruised and enjoyed my last 10km.

thanks to all at and team specialized for all the support over the weekend.this week ill stay in the cape on a mini break before flying back to kzn on sat morning and then racing the kzn momentum xc at lunch time.should be a tough one!