A bit of an update from the Cyclelab/Toyota Cape Town team from the giro(please excuse spelling and grammer mistakes-too tierd to do that). We have been through two days now and on the whole all is going well.
Monday Today we had the team presentation and team meeting. The presentation was short and sweet with a bit of a tv thing with Johnny Koen to get our sponsers some good coverage. After the presentation we all sat down for a quick meeting to discuss plans for the upcoming days. Dean had been on a course of antibiotics for the few days leading up to the event and made the call not to ride that morning. This allowed Silvio Bundi(world class mountainbiker and past Cape Epic winner) to join the team. We were also fortunate to have Thomas Zahnd riding with us, Bundi’s epic partner this year and Shaun Ward formerly of Konica Minolta and blue jersey wearer of the 2008 giro. Our backup crew for the race consisted of Cliff Hopf(manager), Dean Hopf and Matt Wentworth(the helper boys 🙂 ). Our team thus looked as follows: Matthew Evans Chris Wolhuter Silvio Bundi Thomas Zahnd Shaun Ward Craig Butland
Tuesday Day 1 of racing proper lined up a stage of about 110km with the ascent of Bainskloof pass near the finish to make matters more interesting. The bunch kept together out of Wellington. We expected the gutter to go down in the section just before Nuwekloof pass where cross winds are always expected. And once again it did. A small break formed at the head of the race with the rest of the bunch splitting into two. Shaun, Silvio and Thomas were all in the 1st bunch with myself Matt and Craig in the second split after we got a bit held up by a crash. The break really drove the pace with all the GC contenders present. DCM had missed the move and paced hard on front of the 1st bunch to get their GC man Janse van Vensburg back in the mix, they didnt get him back. In the second bunch I helped with the pacing a bit just to make sure we would be in within elimination time(15% of winners time). Our bunch split up a bit on the ascent of Bainskloof with Matt and Craig dropping off. Matt wasnt feeling himself probably due to the course of antibiotics he had also been on in the previos week. We all managed to finish safely in the elimination time. Hasselbacher took the stage with Lange in 2nd and Stander 3rd.
Wednesday The 2nd day of racing brought us 145km of riding around the Vissershok circuit 3 times which would include an ascent of the Vissershok climb on each lap. Compared to last year when temperatures reached 45C on this stage conditions were overcast and rain looked promising. The first lap was harder than usual with the bunch letting no break go which resulted in us completing the lap in just under 1.10hrs. The race split on the climb as expected with a break of 20 riders going clear. The team was all smiles as Thomas and Shaun were both in the move. Myself and Craig were in the 2nd split on the climb but it all came together on the descent into Durbanville again. Bundi was in the first split and unfortunatly Matt was too far off to make it back and that would be his race and tour. The Kuota team from Germany wernt happy with the break as they were not represented so they drove had on the front through the second lap. This resulted in us doing another quick lap also just over an hour. Craig went off on the 2nd ascent of Vissers and would have to Solo it to the finish for the day fighting to make the elimination time which he did. Fortunatly things slowed down a bit on the 3rd lap until half way through where a few attacks saw the speed rise again. Myself and Bundi chilled in the bunch until the final ascent of Vissers which was only 5km from the line. Bundi finished strongly in the first bunch and I sat up on the climb to try and save the legs a bit for tomorrow. Shaun and Thomas had very good race’s and finished in 10th and 13th respectively. Results to be very proud of! Stander took the stage with Evans 2nd and George 3rd. So tomorrow we have the big stage of 175km which includes Francehoek pass and Du Toits Kloof pass and then on Friday the time trial up Signal Hill.
Will keep you guys posted.
Image compliments of Torque Pics
Hey guys and girls
Well we wrapped up a successfull giro del capo on Friday and then finished off with the World funrider Champs aka The Argus yesterday an now are all pretty tierd. Some of the team will be taking part in the Tour de Boland starting on Wednesday going on through to Saturday with some new and different stages. Bundi and Thom will be taking part in the Epic which starts on Sunday and are looking good for defnitly a top 10 finish, perhaps taking a few stages along the way? Anyway back to the race report.
Thursday The 3rd day of racing and the queen stage of the giro greeted us today. 171km of racing and two 1st catagory climbs! Francehoek Pass would come early in the stage after about 35km of racing and then Du toits kloof near the finish which would surely dictate the stage winner. The racing kicked off with the usual few attacks before a break eventually went clear before the town of Francehoek, this would mean there would be no big acceleration in the bunch for the sprint hot spot as the break would take the points. The bunch splintered on the climb with a few small groups forming out of the back. Over the top of the climb the chase to get back started and just past Villiersdorp all 5 of us were safely back in the peleton. The pace was fairly pedestrian for a while until we got closer to Worcester where some of the bigger teams with GC riders realised they would have to start chasing the break back as they had a 6minute gap! Dave Garrett(Daiken Gu) was at one stage the virtual leader of the tour as the break had such a significant gap.The gas turned on with the bunch stringing out as we hit the N1. I was one of the first to pop as the legs said no more and would finish they day losing a chunk of time coming home in one of the gruppetos. Craig found himself in a similiar situation but could hold on for longer than me. Bundi had a good climb and finished in the 3nd group of the day just 27seconds down on the winners. Thom and Shaun really brought their climbing legs along and finished in the first bunch of the day again and in the process taking two top 20 spots with Shaun in 16th and Thom 17th. Hanco Kachelhoffer took te stage with Burry in 2nd and Jacque Janse van Rensburg. Burry would be in pink for the final hill climb with only a handfull of seconds seperating himself, Dave George, Kevin Evans and Hanco.
Friday Today was the final day of the giro and a 5.5km Hill Climb time trial up signal hill greeted us. Riders would go off at one minute intervals with the top ten to be seperated by two minutes each. Personally i was quite looking forward to this stage as i had witnessed it as a spectator two years ago after crashing out of the giro and the crowd support especially around the hair pin bend looked awsum. So Craig was off first and then myself next, i went up in about 15.30 and Craig about 15-20secs more. Next would be Bundi and then Shaun and Thom. Shaun and Silvio both had solid rides and both finished in just over 14minutes. Thom had a little bit of pressure as he was lying in 11th and and a top 10 would be awsome! Thom had a really good ride taking 9th on the day but however losing a few more seconds to the rider in 10th on GC so he woulld stay 11th on GC. Burry had a good ride on the day, finishing in 3rd but unfortunately losing his pink jersey. Kevin also had an awsum ride breaking the record up the climb in 11.57 but only holding onto it for two minutes as George came up next and broke the record again coming in at 11.47!!!!!!!!Crazy!
Saturday We all took it pretty easy on the “rest” day going out for short spins just to keep the legs turning for the big one tomorrow.
Sunday Wow what an early start! The nice thing about the giro stages starting at 9am was that we didnt have to get up a stupid hour everyday. Unfortunatly today we did have to and a nice 4am wake up call. We all met up before the start with our super sub’s Dean and Carl joining the team to race against Impey and Mr legstrong along with the rest of the 180 strong bunch. Our manager Cliff was quite happy to be in 8th place in the convoy today, for those of you that dont know there is always a bit of competition amoung the managers to see who can be the highest placed in the team car convoy. Where your car is placed in the convoy is usually determined by where the tem lies in the team standings. We started in the dark with the usual flurry of attacks on the M3 until MTN decided to take control and put most of their team on the front driving the pace along. The crowds along the route were awsum, on some of the climbs it flt as though we were riding le tour or something, reallly enjoyed that. Myself and Dean were sitting a bit far back in the bunch and our geas just spun out on the tail wind descent just after Smitswinkel. We decided that we should form the gruppeto and by the end we had a 20-30 strong little bunch coming into the finish. Not long after Smitswinkel the pace was put down hard which caused the first split and then again a few Km later by Medscheme. This left a small bunch of 14 riders who would go clear to the finish. MTN’s tactis didnt seem to work as they only had 1 rider in the move who was outnumbered. Lange took the win with Christoff van Heerden 2nd, Impey 3rd and Burry 4th. Burry showing again that he can mix it up in the sprint. Legstrong finished 6 seconds down after leading Impey out. Ah shock and horror he didnt win!!! Probably not on form, ha ha. Im not 100% sure how the rest of the guys finished up. Mostly in a few small bunches just off the winners, cant seem to get my hands on the official giro results and the racetec site currently has too much traffic.
Well thats a wrap and on behalf of the team i would like to say a few thank you’s. Firstly to Cyclelab for the financial support as well as letting us use the club car and all the additional little extras that came with it, thanks Angela and Tim for all your help. Secondly to our manager Cliff for doing an awsum job, we really enjoyed having him as a part of the tea. To Shaun, Thomas and Silvio was really awsum having you guys ride with us. Was awsum to get to know you guys and to learn from you. To all thw wives and girlfreinds thank you for understanding and supporting the guys everyday! To Matt and dean for helping out in the back up car thanks very mcuh guys. Anyone that i have forgotten to mention im sorry but thanks very much. So all in all it was a very successfull tour with two top 10’s and three top 20’s on the various stages as well as the 8th team in the team comp and the best placed Cape Based team. Till next year, or two day time.