Attacking early on the 74km route from Greyton to Houwhoek, the ASG-Ellsworth outfit finished the stage in 2:44:31 to take a 22-minute buffer into tomorrow’s final leg.
The fourth edition of the 614km race, supported by STANLIB and Volvo Cars, finishes at La Couronne Wine Estate in Franschhoek, with the final stage from Houwhoek covering 73km.
Riding for ASG-Ellsworth, the Paarl-based Kruger and Marais, from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal, head the general classification with a time of 16:42:20.
They are well head of second-placed Norwegian professionals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon), who were second across the line today, 11 minutes behind the leaders.
Third place on the podium today went to Japan’s Yuki Ikeda and South African partner Grant Usher (Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack). However, the French-German team of Antonin Marecaille and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) remain third overall.
Kruger said they were delighted with another stage win, especially as their plan to open a gap proved successful.
“We decided our strategy would be to test our rivals early on and we hammered it up the first climb,” he said.
“We knew it was a steep and rocky climb, which is quite technical and gives you a chance to put up a bit of a gap.
“After that we just rolled through the rest of the stage steadily and the gap grew quite significantly.”
He added that their attention now would be on avoiding any problems on the final day.
In the men’s solo category, German rider Udo Mueller won his fifth stage in a row to maintain his place at the top of the overall standings. He finished today in 2:56:52 for an overall time of 18:04:49.
British rider Catherine Williamson is set to claim a second consecutive mixed category title after she and Belgian partner Kristof de Neys (LawPack) finished today’s stage in 3:15:06.