23 October 2021

The more than 1,000 riders at the 2021 Cape to Cape Mountain Bike Stage Race tackled the iconic Middle Earth single track on Saturday, with close racing and a sprint finish highlighting the third day of the event.

The penultimate stage of racing saw riders start and finish again at Colonial Brewery, heading north to Middle Earth for what is the longest stage of the event at 59km.

Despite being the event’s longest, the 59kms wasn’t long enough to split the leading men’s pairs, with the win coming down to a sprint finish, with just two seconds separating the top three teams.

Tasmania’s Blue Derby Pods Ride Team claimed their first stage win of the event, just ahead of Russell Brooks Building, with Win or Booze onto the podium for the first time in 2021.

Tom Cheesman and Tim Harmsen of Blue Derby Pods Ride Team will head into the final stage of the event just over two minutes behind the Russell Brooks Building pair of Jon Gregg and Nathan Jones.

“It was a super tough day out again today, super hard to shake the other competitors,” said Tom Cheesman. “There were three teams pretty much the entire way through the single track and then it came down to the sprint finish at end and we just managed to get them. There was a lot of tactics coming into today but it all came together, it was awesome, it was sick to finally get a win after two seconds and it’s even better to do it for Tassie as well.”

Teammate Tim Harmsen said that it was a tight battle with the other leading teams across the 59km stage.

“We had a little bit of a gap on the leading team about halfway through but they caught up and then in the last 10km we tried to push as hard as we could on some of the shorter climbs but they were finishing strong and we couldn’t quite hold keep the gap but played it smart towards the end with the sprint finish and managed to get the win for the stage,” said Harmsen.

In the women’s pairs Kristen Gardner and Zoe Davison from Weenie G and Z-Dawg continue to lead the way, crossing the line more than six minutes ahead of second placed Cheeky Chicks, with the Colonial Brewing Girls a further 22 minutes behind in third.

“It was great out there, it was slow in the beginning but as we warmed up into it the fire roads sped things up,” said Zoe Davison. “As soon as we got into the single track it started to slow things down a bit, especially at the back end because 20kms of Middle Earth is quite tough but as soon as hopped out of that we got on the fire road with a bunch and we were just flying up the hills, down in a big bunch taking turns, it was like a road race.”

Yesterday the pair were slowed down a little as Gardner suffered leg cramps throughout the stage, but Davison said those issues were behind them on Saturday.

“They were much better today, we didn’t have any issues with that today,” she said. “I was kind of scared of that going into it but there were no worries, she was fine, towing me along, the usual.”

The Tassie Turbo Chooks team pulled further ahead in the mixed pairs, with Izzy Flint and Cam Ivory making it three wins from three stages, finishing 14 minutes clear of MAD Wolfpack, with FCR Mixed Up in third.

Flint and Ivory will head into the final stage of Cape to Cape with an almost 40 minute lead over MAD Wolfpack, with FCR Mixed Up another 35 minutes further behind in third.

The final stage of Cape to Cape will take riders to Cape Naturaliste for the first time in four years, with a 34km hit out starting and finishing at Wise Winery.

Stage 3 Pairs: Open Men Pairs
1. Blue Derby Pods Ride Team – 02:25:26
2. Russell Brooks Building – 02:25:27
3. Rainbow Pedal Pops – 02:25:28

Stage 3 Pairs: Open Women Pairs
1. Weenie G and Z-dawg – 02:47:05
2. Cheeky Chicks – 02:53:12
3. Colonial Brewing Girls – 03:15:01

Stage 3 Pairs: Mixed
1. Tassie Turbo Chooks – 02:42:40
2. MAD Wolfpack – 02:56:32
3. FCR Mixed Up – 03:09:01

General Classification: Open Men Pairs
1. Russell Brooks Building – 06:02:56
2. Blue Derby Pods Ride Team – 06:05:03
3. Rainbow Pedal Pops – 06:08:46

General Classification: Open Women Pairs
1. Weenie G and Z-dawg – 07:11:33
2. Cheeky Chicks – 07:20:47
3. Colonial Brewing Girls – 08:21:56

General Classification: Mixed
1. Tassie Turbo Chooks – 06:50:31
2. MAD Wolfpack – 07:27:56
3. FCR Mixed Up – 08:02:01

Full results can be found here.