Skip Navigation

Songo in League of Their Own

Press Release / 25.03.2018

The trails in and around Wellington on Stage 6 would offer a superb mix of singletrack but with 2000m of vertical ascent spread over 76km the racing was anything but easy, especially with a resurgent Cannondale Factory Racing outfit looking to reclaim their second place on the general classification over Canyon Topeak.

Attacks would come early and at regular intervals. Cannondale Factory Racing’s Henrique Avancini made his early ambitions known when he and Mani Fumic sent the leading group into a frenzy of watts and panic. Canyon Topeak and Centurion Vaude had no choice but to follow in a fast-paced first hour of racing that would see Nicola Rohrbach hit the deck in a crash – something he, and teammate Daniel Geismayr, would never fully recover from.  

“Today we rode for the GC,” said Avancini. “We had two goals: get clear of Centurion Vaude and get back our second place from Canyon Topeak. That’s why we put the pressure on early and kept the pace high.”

After riding at the measured pace for most of the morning Investec Songo Specialized would finally make their move on the Green Mamba – a long and steep brute of a climb. Cannondale Factory Racing were unable go with the attack and were forced to adopt a damage control approach for the reminder of the stage. For the Czech Express and his partner, Howie Grotts, it was full speed ahead, the two riding a faultless final 35km in which they stamped their dominance and consolidated their lead.

“It was a pretty good day for us. We knew the profile would suit us so we put pressure on from the start, said Fumic. We lead for most of the stage and tried to press on all the time and put the other guys in the hurt box. Investec Songo Specialized attacked us on Mamba climb but we had nothing left. We saw Canyon Topeak were taking strain so we kept the pace on to get the gap and extend it.”

Their tactic worked and after initially marking Cannondale’s continued attacks, Canyon Topeak’s Alban Lakata was unable to match the intensity and fell off the pace. They’d eventually finish Stage 6 in fifth position and surrender their four second lead and second place position on the general classification to Cannondale Factory Racing.

“Today Investec Songo Specialized showed that they are unreachable,” said a dejected Lakata. “They are both in impressive shape. We lost second but tomorrow we will try again. It was a proper fight with Cannondale so let’s hope the legs are there tomorrow to close that gap.”

Jaroslav Kulhavy was pleased with the way he and partner Grotts performed on Stage 6 but mentioned the race is not over until they cross the finish line at Val de Vie on Sunday’s Grand Finale. Still, their lead has grown to well over eight minutes and barring any misfortune the race is theirs for the taking.

“Howie (Grotts) has been getting stronger every day,” said Kulhavy. “We have to be careful tomorrow. We have a pretty good gap so there can’t be any crashes or mechanicals.”

“Today was perfect – after we got a gap, we just kept a consistent pace,” said Grotts. It’s been an incredible experience thus far and everything has just clicked together for us.”

Trek Selle San Marco 2’s Fabian Rabensteiner and Michele Casagrande continued their consistent run of results by finishing second, leapfrogging Simon Stiebjahn and Tim Bohme (BULLS 2) to sixth overall in the general classification – a position they may very well defend going into the Grand Finale on Sunday.

“It is really nice to be with the front guys racing,” said Rabensteiner. “We are having a good time at the moment. Today’s stage was a really great one – not just our finishing on the podium but the routes, too.”

The biggest surprise of the day was the South African pairing of Matthew Beers and Nico Bell (NAD MTB) who appear to have found their groove after a series of illness setbacks hampered Beers’ earlier performances. The re-energised NAD MTB duo put in a superlative performance that saw them cross the line as the first all-South African team. They now find themselves in third place overall on the Absa African Men’s special jersey competition behind leaders Matthys Beukes and Julian Jessop (PYGA Euro Steel) and HB Kruger and Stuart Marais (Ellsworth-ASG).

“We got some time on the Absa African Men’s special jersey race today,” said Bell. “Tomorrow we will give it a full effort. That’s the goal – we will go as hard as we can.”

[If you enjoyed this story and would like SleepMonsters to continue reporting on Adventure Racing then we need your help. Please support our Patreon campaign or make a donation via PayPal.]

More About ABSA Cape Epic

Kulhavy, Grotts Cruise to Overall Victory


Courtney Helps Langvad to Four in a Row


Illnesses Forces Podium Change in Women’s Race


Investec Songo Specialized Teams Tighten Their Grip on Stage 5


Birthday Win for Langvad and Courtney


Geismayr, Rohrbach Victorious on Queen Stage


Canyon Topeak Stamp Their Authority on Stage 3


Songo Keep Their Perfect Record Intact


More Drama, Same Result For Cannondale


Third Win Consolidates Langvad’s, Courtney’s Lead


Cross-Country Riders Take Revenge


Composure Wins the Day for Langvad/Courtney


Marathon Racers Steal the Show


Langvad and Courtney Dominate Women’s Category


A Look At The 2018 Prologue Venue, Table Mountain National Park


Women’s Race Wide Open With Untested Combinations


Battle Royal Earmarked for the Prologue


Top Step Beckons For Team Centurion Vaude


The Boys in Baggies Want Yellow


Kate Courtney and Annika Langvad Team Up as Investec-Songo-Specialized 2


It’s Full Speed Ahead for Investec-Songo-Specialized


Team BULLS Ready to Rock and Roll


Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath Team up for the 2018 Absa Cape Epic


Spitz And De Groot Hungry For The Win


Lakata Back for 9th Time In Search Of The Elusive Win


Absa Cape Epic Launches New Route to Showcase The Wonders of the Cape


Our Patrons

Adventure Race Croatia

Adventure Race Georgia

Danish AR Union

Open Adventure

Rootstock Racing

TanzNavigation

SleepMonsters Patreon

Thank you to all our

adventure racing

patrons


Adventure Race Croatia

Adventure Race Georgia

Danish AR Union

Open Adventure

Rootstock Racing

Tanz Navigation

-- -- --

Brian Gatens

-- -- --

Adventure Enablers

Chipp Dodd

Celia Nash

David Ellis

Erik Sanders

Fiona McBryde

Graham Bird

Jakub Malik

Josh Hayman

Strong Machine AR

-- -- --

Adrian Crane

Barbara Campbell

Dejna Odvody

Ivan Park

Klaus Mygind

Lars Bukkehave

Marco Ponteri

Nigel Davison

Rob Horton

Semyon Yakimov