Barnes retains the Yellow Jersey for the 2nd consecutive stage at Slaapkranz support station
Andrew Barnes retains the Yellow Jersey which he won back at Rhodes. He arrived there at 8h20 yesterday morning, after having left Chesneywold at 4h55, implying reaching Slaapkranz in 4 days 2 hours and 20 minutes. This put him ahead of Theo van Dyk and Fjord Jordaan as at Slaapkranz arrival, with them having reached Slaapkranz in 4 days 7 hours and 15 minutes. This translates into a lead by Barnes of 4 hours and 55 minutes, an increase on the 2 hours 10 minute margin as at Rhodes arrival. It also put him further ahead ahead of former RASA winner Tim James, who rolled into Slaapkranz at 14h10 in 4 days 8 hours and 10 minutes, whom he led by a lesser 5 hours on departure times from Chesneywold earlier yesterday.
And the signs are that Barnes is strong as he headed towards Kranskop support station. He took the wrong right turn in the mountain above Slaapkranz support station, but seemed to rectify this within 10 minutes or so and get back on track. Then, in what seems to be a “display of strength” he sped straight past the Moordenaarspoort “lunch time stop” without so much as even waving hello. The more cynical would perhaps say that’s a lack of manners. Judging by what we have seen from Barnes in the RASA to date, he seems to like an early night’s sleep. And why not? He currently appears to be the strongest rider of the lead group, and it is up to the rest of the chasing pack to perhaps sacrifice on sleep in the hope of catching him. If he sleeps well, all the better the chances that he’ll remain faster than the rest.
James, on the other hand, has had a long day already, having started a lot earlier than Barnes . He arrived at the Moordenaarspoort “halfway” station at 00h25 and stopped to sleep. That previous night’s wild goose chase in the Vuvu Valley may also still be affecting his strength but James is comfortable riding into the wee hours and timing his sleep to awaken at sunrise.
Jordaan and van Dyk reached Brosterlea by late afternoon, having started the race a day before James and Barnes. They called it a day at Brosterlea, with Romansfontein station another 43km on, including a tricky navigation section over the Stormberg portage. Barnes will probably reach Brosterlea mid-morning today, and if they don’t start pushing they may be in his sights within the next day or 2.
At the back of the RASA, the Lantern Rouge swings back to Pierre Oosthuizen and away from Mike Roy as at Slaapkranz. Oosthuizen arrived at Slaapkranz in 9 days 6 hours and 30 minutes, 11 hours and 30 minutes behind Mike Roy, yesterday’s carrier.
By John Loos (Blanket/Whip)