The Ladies Division of the 2007 Absa Cape Epic race was scooped up by South Africans Anke Erlank-Moore and Yolandè de Villiers of Team Duravit, who lead the race from start to finish, without conceding the stage leaders’ tag once during the 8-stage endurance challenge.
“I would have been perfectly satisfied just winning this race, but Yolandè wanted to push for a top twenty position overall,” said Anke afterwards.
“We came close once or twice, but it meant that I had to extend my limits every single day. I’m glad it’s over now, because this was the toughest Absa Cape Epic ever.”
It’s a testament to the endurance qualities of these two leading athletes that they were able to win the final stage by a decisive margin exceeding 20 minutes, a feat matchign each previous stage win giving them an overall race lead of 4 hours and 20 minutes over overall second-placed challengers, the Swiss pairing of Myriam Saugy and Fabienne Heinzmann.
Those two were just pipped to the eighth-stage finish line by overall third-placed Kerstin Brachtendorf (Germany, the remaining half of 2006 Ladies winning team) and Daniele Troesch (France), who narrowly beat the Danish pairing of Kristine and Anna-Sofie Noergaard to the bronze medal podium spot.
Stage eight took physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted riders through 80 kilometres of exquisite Winelands territory, with a total climb of 1 285 metres.
After following the Palmiet river, riders passed through the apple orchards of Elgin and Grabouw working their way to the summit of Sir Lowry’s pass, where they were forced to carry their bikes down a slippery one kilometre descent, over the historic national heritage site of the Voortrekkers ox wagon trail.
In Lourensford, thousands of supporters welcomed the winning riders and over 1000 proud finishers. The crowd, a sea of red vuvuzelas, saw the 2007 Absa Cape Epic come to a heroic and festive end.
Ladies Classification Overall Leaders
1. Anke Erlank and Yolande de Villiers (RSA) of Team Duravit – 39:55.53,3
2. Myriam Saugy and Fabienne Heinzmann (CH) of Team Texner MBC Thoemus – 44:16.45,8
3. Kerstin Brachtendorf (D) and Daniele Troesch (F) of Team Adidas Fiat Rothwild – 44:45.06,9
4. Kristine Noergaard and Anna-Sofie Noergaard (DK) of Team Cube WLS – 45:26.59,2
5. Liesbet Kristafor and Leanne Brown-Waterson (RSA) of Team K-Way – 48:49.52,1
6. Di Thomas and Linzi Fredman (RSA) of Team Day Trippers – 54:22.35,2
7. Jaclynn Derosier and Sharon McDowell-Larsen (USA) of Team Snow Queens – 56:25.58,6
8. Lecinda Uys and Mitzi Knipe (RSA) of Team Prolong – 57:47.30,9
9. Ruth Kirchmann and Lorna McLaren (RSA) of Team Angel Wings – 59:20.41,0
10. Lynley Baker and Katherine Heatley (NZL) of Team Maiden New Zealand – 61:29.06,9
11. Estie du Plessis and Louiza Swartz (RSA) of Team Flabulous Females – 61:36.03,4
12. Kim Bear and Deb Werenko (USA) of Team Santa Fe Women – 65:35.45,3
13. Heidi Prior and Kim Archer (RSA) of Team Priority – 65:55.08,1
Mixed Classification Overall Leaders
Yolande Speedy (RSA) and Paul Cordes (RSA) of Team IMC/Mongoose – 39:06.06,1