Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann head into the final stage with a 6.49 min lead. Jenny Rissveds and Thomas Frischknecht secure 7th stage win.
Oak Valley, South Africa. Olympic champion Nino Schurter and Matthias Stirnemann seem to be unstoppable. SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing`s top Elite team at the Absa Cape Epic continued their march towards a first title with another stage win at the 2017 event. Schurter and Stirnemann were comfortable throughout Stage 6, winning ahead of South African Max Knox and his Colombian partner Hector Paez. In doing so, they opened up a lead of almost seven minutes in the overall standings ahead of second-placed Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy. However, “The Final stage won`t be an easy home-run”, says Nino Schurter.

The SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing train seems to be unstoppable- Nino Schurter & Matthias Stirnemann riding in Groenlandberg.
Photography: Nick Muzik, Jochen Haar, Michal Cerveny (Skyshot)

“Our plan was basically to stay with Sauser and Kulhavy and make sure they didn’t get away from us,” says Schurter. “We thought they might make a move today, but after Christoph got a flat on the first major downhill, we were able to attack and get away. From there we just went like it was another cross-country race. For us, it’s been eight days of cross-country riding.”

“I don’t know what happened today, but it was much less suffering than yesterday! It was a good day on the bike,” Stirnemann stated. “Every day I feel like I am getting stronger on the bike. I recovered well last night and I could get my rhythm a lot quicker this past morning.”

Nino Schurter: “Tomorrow`s final stage will be a short, fast rolling course. But the Absa Cape Epic is a stage race, held in a rough terrain, so everything can happen anytime. The race is over, when we cross the finish line.”

In the Mixed category, Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds and Thomas Frischknecht won their seventh stage in a row and are now a massive 54 minutes ahead of Grant Usher and Amy Beth McDougall with Johan Labuschagne and Catherine Williamson 37 minutes further back.