Canyon SIDI’s Andreas Seewald and Marc Stutzmann rode hard and fast to claim Stage 3 of the 2024 Absa Cape Epic in a sweltering Wellington, while Anne Terpstra and Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) won their fourth stage in as many days to cement their place at the top of the Aramex Women’s Category general classification. With four days of racing to come, it looks like a special effort will be required from the chasers in the Women’s Category to unseat GHOST Factory Racing from pole position.

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In the UCI men’s race, the pace was ferocious from the start thanks to the early tar and district road kilometres. The entire men’s field roared out of Tulbagh’s Saronsberg Cellar in a mad dash, clearly intending to reach the Wellington finish before the extreme heat of the day peaked. Once off the smoother surfaces, though, the racing tactics began.

Canyon SIDI team

Andreas Seewald & Marc Stutzmann (Canyon SIDI) Stage 3 leaders. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

The first challenge of the day was the rugged Waterval climb inside the Waterval Nature Reserve. Georg Egger (ORBEA LEATT Speed Company) found out just how rugged when he contrived to go over his handlebars – on an uphill. World Bicycle Relief’s Sebastian Fini was also a victim of the terrain, losing precious seconds thanks to his chain dropping off. Fini and Schurter were never able to make up the lost time. From Waterval, the leading teams on Stage 3 emerged.

Hans Becking and Wout Alleman (BUFF – MEGAMO) put in an early surge, with Canyon SIDI (Andreas Seewald and Marc Stutzmann), Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne (Matt Beers and Howard Grotts), Pyga Euro Steel (Philip Buys & Pieter Du Toit), ORBEA Leatt Speed Company (Georg Eggar and Lukas Baum) and, somewhat surprisingly, 2018 winner Jaroslav Kulhavy’s Superior Lions team joining the Yellow Leader Jersey wearers at the front of the field.

After the bumpy middle sections of the stage, the riders enjoyed some respite on the smooth tar of Bain’s Kloof Pass before entering the relatively kinder Wellington trails. At 65km into the 94km race, there were four teams in it – Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne, Speed Company, BUFF – MEGAMO and Canyon SIDI.

2018 winner Jaroslav Kulhavy’s Superior Lions team joining the Yellow Leader Jersey wearers at the front of the field.

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Superior Lions) joins the Yellow Leader Jersey wearers at the front of the field. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

That all changed on Stage 3’s penultimate descent into Doolhof, when the German-Swiss pair of Seewald and Stutzmann decided to, rather fittingly in a region known for its fine wines, pop the cork. It was a calculated risk that paid off. The three chasing teams failed to respond, allowing Canyon SIDI a hassle-free run to the finish. Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne rolled over in second on the day, with Speed Company Racing a few seconds behind them in third.

“It feels amazing to have won,” said Andreas Seewald. “Everyone knew it was going to be a fast, tough start, but we worked together with our second team and got into the front group which was critical.”

Seewald added, “We had some difficulties in the first few days, but we’re still fighting for the GC. A stage win is awesome, and there’s still a long way to go. We’re looking forward to more climbing ahead. Today we’ve shown that we are strong on the climbs so we plan to take it one day at a time and put the pressure on the climbs.”

Fantastic Four for GHOST

In the Aramex Women’s Category on Stage 3, GHOST Factory Racing, Cannondale Factory Racing (Candice Lill and Mona Mitterwallner), Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne (Sofia Gomez Villafane and Samara Sheppard), as they have done all week so far, set the early pace.

At one point on the Waterval climb, it looked like GHOST Factory Racing’s Nicole Koller was in trouble, needing to walk for a few metres. This proved to be a moment of false hope for the other women’s teams, as Koller was soon back on her bike and leading from the front alongside Terpstra.

GHOST Factory Racing team, first place for day 4

Anne Terpstra & Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) take the top place for a 4th consecutive day. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

From then, it looked like another three-team tussle for the stage until Efficient Infiniti SCB SRAM (Vera Looser and Alexis Skarda) appeared in the manner of an overexuberant child jumping out from behind the curtains and yelling ‘surprise’ at an unsuspecting granny, and added to the frontline festivities.

American rider Skarda looked to be having a good time on the stage, putting in a few attacks, but the Efficient Infiniti SCB SRAM challenge eventually faded, leaving GHOST, Cannondale and Specialized to race for stage honours. In a move that surprised even them, Terpstra and Koller upped the tempo around 70km and were able to pull away from Lill, Mitterwallner, Villafane and Sheppard.

Alexis Skarda and Vera Looser regained the lead for a moment at the foot of Bainskloof Pass. Photo by Max Sullivan/Cape Epic

With no response forthcoming from Cannondale Factory Racing and Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne, the Orange Jersey leaders were able to comfortably cruise to their fourth stage win out of four at the 2024 Absa Cape Epic.

“It was pretty hard in the beginning,” said Terpstra. “There were a lot of turns and rocks and you couldn’t get into a good rhythm. Eventually, we got going, though and found a nice pace. We were surprised to get a little bit of a gap on the jeep track. Once we had it, we thought we’d try to stay out in front. However, it was a long way to the finish, so we weren’t sure what would happen. But it was nice that we could keep it up until the end and take another stage.”

Cannondale Factory Racing's Mona Mitterwallner

Cannondale Factory Racing couldn’t quite keep pace with the leaders, keeping their 2nd place on the podium. Photo by Max Sullivan/Cape Epic

Mitterwallner admitted that she and Lill tried to make the racing hard for the overall leaders, but just could shake them off. “GHOST had all the answers every time we tried something. Then they attacked when we didn’t expect them to attack and for me, I could just not respond.”

Stage 4 of the Absa Cape Epic might be the perfect opportunity for Mitterwallner and partner Lill to respond though. At 88km long with 3000m of climbing, Stage 4 is undoubtedly the Queen Stage of this year’s Epic. South African riders will know the trails well, so expect to see the likes of Lill, Beers and other local riders guiding their partners through the monstrous twists and turns on the day.

Andreas Seewald and Marc Stuzmann of Canyon SIDI win Stage 3 of the 2024 Absa Cape Epic.

Canyon SIDI, Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne and Speed Company take the podium after Stage 3.. Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic


Men’s Stage 3

  1. Andreas Seewald & Marc Stutzmann (Canyon SIDI) 3:40:24
  2. Matt Beers & Howard Grotts – Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne + 49
  3. Georg Egger & Lukas Baum (Speed Company) + 50

Men’s GC after Stage 3

  1. Hans Becking & Wout Alleman (BUFF – MEGAMO) 12:29:38
  2. Matt Beers & Howard Grotts (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne) 12:31:25
  3. Nino Schurter & Sebastian Fini (World Bicycle Relief) 12:33:25

Aramex Women’s Stage 3

  1. Anne Terpstra & Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) 4:31:27
  2. Candice Lill & Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) 4:32:43
  3. Sofia Gomez Villafane & Samara Sheppard (Toyota-Specialized-Ninetyone) 4:32:44

Aramex Women’s GC after Stage 3

  1. Anne Terpstra & Nicole Koller (GHOST Factory Racing) 15:22:54
  2. Candice Lill & Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) 15:25:23
  3. Sofia Gomez Villafane & Samara Sheppard (Toyota-Specialized-Ninetyone) 15:30:48

How to Watch

To watch the racing action unfold, tune in to the daily live broadcast on the Epic Series’ YouTube channel, from Sunday, 17 March. Fans of mountain biking can also share in the excitement of the race by following @capeepic on Instagram or by liking the Cape Epic Facebook page. For more information please visit or click here to view the full 2024 race register.