Erik Kleinhans and Matt Beers claimed victory on the 57km stage three of the Cape Pioneer Trek in George on Wednesday.
Beers and Kleinhans (Full Suss/Topeak Ergon/Red-E) were the aggressors from the start and crossed the finish line in 2:10:50, just one second ahead of overall leaders Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell (Team NAD Pro).
There was a sprint for third place between James Reid and Julian Jessop (Team Spur) and Konny Looser and Daniel Gathof (CBC Elite), with Reid and Jessop just grabbing the final podium spot.
Tuesday’s stage winners Peeter Pruus and Peeter Tarvis (KOMO/RMW) had a nightmare of a stage with a crash and then tyre trouble that saw them finish 13th, 26:28 down.
The setback to the Estonian pair sees Combrinck and Bell hold a comfortable lead of 12:41 over new second-place holders, Looser and Gathof. They are 2:02 up on Erik Groen and Jeroen Boelen (Stappenbelt Specialized) with three days of racing remaining.
“I was already feeling better yesterday after being so ill on Monday’s stage,” said Kleinhans. “It must have been a stomach bug. But Matt and I decided we would attack and make the pace hard from the start today.”
Cherie Redecker and Mariske Strauss (OMX Pro) won another stage to extend their lead in the women’s category.
But an exciting battle for second place ensued between Catherine Williamson and Leana de Jager (Klein Karoo Ladies) and Hannele Steyn and Katja Steenkamp (CWC Breakaway).
Williamson and De Jager eventually claimed the runners-up spot on the stage and moved into second place overall.
Stage four over 94km with 1 650m of ascent sees the race move into the Karoo, a semi-desert region with unforgiving terrain and extreme heat.
The riders will head from George to Oudtshoorn via the iconic Montagu Pass and Chandelier Game Reserve.
View the results here.