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Victory for quick Speedy

ÔÇ£Yoland├® Speedy (MTN-Qhubeka) will win the MTN Hilton Dirt Fest.ÔÇØ ÔÇô this is what Paul Cordes (MTN-Qhubeka) predicted shortly after the Nissan Down and Dirty mountain-bike event in Centurion and his pronouncement proved to be prophetic.

Speedy did win at the weekend but had to work hard right until the end to make sure that she stayed in front of the hard chasing Ischen Stopforth (Bizhub). In the end the time gap between the two riders was merely 10 seconds.

Speedy’s winning time for the 75 kilometre marathon was four hours two minutes and 33 seconds and Stopforth finished in 4:02:43. Yolandi du Toit (Bizhub) was third.

When Cordes was asked what made him so confident that Speedy would win, his answer was: ÔÇ£It is easy when you’ve been training with someone for so long.

ÔÇ£For Yoland├® everything went according to plan. ┬áAs we anticipated there was quite a bit of single track which was to her advantage.┬á It made our decision to keep her on full suspension spot on.

ÔÇ£Yoland├® climbed very well on the day and she took the ‘Queen of the mountain’ which was a great bonus. ┬áRight at the beginning of the race, she put her skills to good use to gain a slight advantage on the other girls, forcing them to chase.

ÔÇ£When they all came back together, the cat and mouse games between Yoland├®, Ischen and Candice Neethling (Bizhub) started in all earnest.

ÔÇ£Eventually Yoland├® managed to take advantage of a small slip-up by Ischen, which gave her and Candice a small lead.

ÔÇ£Then she was able to open a gap on Candice on one of the drags, after which she just focused on maintaining a steady pace and minimizing her mistakes.

ÔÇ£The worst mistake that Yolande made was to misread her trip meter, which made her think that she was closer to the finish than she actually was.

ÔÇ£When she came onto one of the last climbs, she suddenly realized that Ischen was only a couple of 100 meters behind her.

ÔÇ£She then had to dig deep to make sure that she stayed ahead of Ischen.ÔÇØ

Cordes was full of praise for Stopforth’s fight-back performance.

Stopforth said it was definitely one of the most exciting races she has ever competed in.

ÔÇ£It does not often happen that there is such a tight finish in a women’s marathon. ┬áI think Yoland├®’s technical skills on the single-track sections made the big difference.

ÔÇ£I managed to make up time on every climb and on the open roads, but unfortunately I kept on losing time on the single- track sections.

ÔÇ£Going onto the last little climb I could actually see Yoland├®. I then pushed myself that extra bit harder, but it was to no avail. The finish was only 50 meters away.ÔÇØ

According to Stopforth, the Hilton Dirt Fest route was one of the best she has ever ridden. ÔÇ£Hats off to the organisers.ÔÇØ


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