Imbuko {Type} DEV light the fuse.


into Stellenbosch

“If there are fireworks then we will bring our own fireworks,” joked Pieter du Toit before this morning’s stage.

‘Piet Pace’ (as he is known by his friends) and Imbuko {Type} DEV partner, Marco Joubert certainly made some sparks when they lit the fuse some 60kms into the 115km Stage 5. The all South African pair blazed off the front at the Berg River Dam and managed to stay away all the way into Stellenbosch, continuing the SA winning tradition at the same finish where Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes claimed Stage 5 back in 2019. 

“To be honest, we didn’t think too hard about strategy,” said Joubert. “It was just flat box from the minute we broke. We had some luck with tailwinds, but there were also hectic crosswinds and headwinds in parts; we just put our heads down and hoped for the best!” The performance cemented their name in Absa Cape Epic history and leap-frogged them up the GC into sixth place. 

Meanwhile, in the CM.com Women's category, Sofía Gómez Villafane and Haley Batten (NinetyOne-songo-Specialized) won Stage 5 to extend their overall lead. The pair worked well with Faces Rola in what became a four-person team time trial through the buffeting crosswinds. Gómez Villafane and Batten were ultimately too strong for Faces Rola and broke away on the last climb to cruise into the finish in Stellenbosch, the base of songo.info for who they are riding.  

“We saw all the kids from songo at the final water point, and that was such a special moment. It really gave us a boost for the final few kilometres.”

“On paper that course looked pretty tough,” said Gómez Villafane, “but for some reason, we kept it pretty fast from the start. We don’t know the trails that well, so the whole time we were thinking ‘where do we make our move, where do we attack’. On the final climb, we just went as hard as we could and held on.”

Karl Platt and Cristoph Sauser (songo NinetyOne Epic Legends) continued their trot in the NTT Masters category leader jerseys while CST PostNL Bafang’s Bart Brentjens and Abraao Azevedo extended their lead in the Grand Masters. In the mixed category Mannie Heymans and Genevieve Weber of Absa Mixed also consolidated their top spot. Tlotlo Mohweledi and Halalsiani Njabulo Ndebele mainted their grip on the Exxaro Special Jersey.

The picturesque town of Stellenbosch annually plays host to many touring mountain bike pros who use it as a training base thanks to the highly developed trail network in the area. Saturday’s Stage 6 takes in the finest of the sections and will see riders tackle Banhoek, Idas Valley, and Jonkershoek trails. Passing opportunities will be limited, so tactics will be key on the penultimate stage of the 2022 Absa Cape Epic.