Sauser and Czech partner Jaroslav Kulhavy rode conservatively to finish fifth on the 92km final stage from Wellington to Meerendal Wine Estate in the Western Cape, which was won by Germany’s Jochen Kaess and Daniel Geismayr of Austria.
The duo coasted to a comfortable overall victory in the 748km event, held over eight days, completing the gruelling race more than 10 minutes ahead of Austrian rider Alban Lakata and Czech team-mate Kristian Hynek.
“It’s a big relief… a big weight off my back,” Sauser said at the finish.
Hynek, who won the race last year with Robert Mennen, admitted he was disappointed with second place.
“Not being able to defend the title was a great blow,” he said.
Four-time winner Karl Platt of Germany and Swiss rider Urs Huber ended third in the general classification, more than half an hour off the pace, while Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes were the first South Africans to finish the race, in fifth position.
Meanwhile, defending champions Ariane Kleinhans of Switzerland and Denmark’s Annika Langvad coasted to an easy win in the women’s division.
Having recovered from a 73-minute penalty on stage two, for going off course, they cruised home with another victory on the final stage.
The duo ended more than 78 minutes clear of South African debutant Robyn de Groot and Swedish partner Jennie Stenerhag, who took second place overall.
“We are very happy,” said Langvad, who celebrated her 31st birthday in style.
“This is such a special moment.”