Namibian cyclists face extreme heat in Cape Epic

22 Mar 2017 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 22 MAR (NAMPA) - Extreme heat conditions on Tuesday forced the organisers of the Absa Cape Epic to shorten the route from 102 to 62 kilometres (km).
Organisers of the mountain bike race said on the official Cape Epic website on Tuesday that race medics warned that the combination of high humidity and extreme temperatures could endanger the health of the riders.
Temperatures of close to 40 degrees Celsius were recorded.
Namibians Frikkie van Greunen and Wim Steenkamp on Wednesday improved their log standing slightly during the third stage of the race and ended 60th in the Category Position (CP) and 91st in the General Classification (GC) category, respectively.
Their standings on Tuesday were 60th in CP and 93rd in GC after the second stage.
They completed the third stage of 78km in four hours, two minutes and 32 seconds (4:02:32) on Wednesday and the second stage in three hours, 20 minutes and 10 seconds (3:20:10) on Tuesday.
Their total time in the saddle over the three stages since Monday stands at 14:37:58.
Van Greunen told Nampa from Cape Town that the extreme heat conditions dampened some riders’ spirits.
“After a tough first day that broke plenty of riders’ spirits, we undertook as a team to conquer day two,” he said.
Other Namibian cyclists: Vera Adrian and Michelle Vorster are also taking part in the race in mixed teams.
Adrian has teamed up with Candice Lill from South Africa and is riding for Neething RSA, while Vorster and teammate Carmen Buchacher (SA) are riding for team Hollard-Velocity Sportlab.
Adrian and Lill finished stage three in a time of 3:47:24, ending fifth in their category and 74th in the GC category.
Vorster and Buchacher ended sixth in their category with a time of 3:52:39 and 67th in the GC category.
The riders will face the longest Epic distance of 112 kilometres with a climb of 2 150 metres (m) in stage four on Thursday.
The seven-day Absa Cape Epic is an annual mountain bike stage race held in the Western Cape, South Africa. It started at the coastal town of Hermanus and ends at the Val de Vie Estate near Paarl.
The cyclists face a 691km race over the seven days, with an accumulated climb through the mountains of 15 400m.