Reid and Schuermans climb their way to the podium | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Reid and Schuermans climb their way to the podium

South African James Reid and his Belgian teammate, Jen Schuermans of the Asrin Cycling team, claimed the richest stage prize in mountain bike racing on Tuesday when they out-climbed their rivals to win the second stage of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek in South Africa.

The 85-kilometre stage (shortened from the original 92km due to a flooded river), started in Calitzdorp and finished on the summit of the Swartberg Pass, a 12km gravel road ascent that relentlessly winds it’s up a total of 1100 vertical metres to a mountain-top finish.

The cash prize for the stage for the overall winners is R112 000 (US $12 000), while the women’s prize was R20 000 (US $2 000).

Overall leaders, Brandon Stewart (RSA) and Konny Looser (SUI) of Team FedGroup Itec finished second and extended their overall lead, with defending champions, Westvaal Bells Cycling’s Nico Bell (RSA) and Gawie Combrinck (RSA) rounding out the podium places.

Team RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Erik Kleinhans finished fourth on the stage and hold onto their second place overall, 5min 22se down on FedGroup Itec, while Reid and Schuermans moved up to third overall after their good day out, 13:51 off the race lead.

Team RE:CM Davinci’s Annika Langvad (DEN) and Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) continued their dominance of the women’s category by claiming their third successive stage win in an impressive 12th place overall. They extended their overall race lead to almost 30 minutes over stage runners-up, Wheeler BMC’s Esther Suss (SUI) and Jane Nuessli (GBR). The all-South African Biogen team of Robyn de Groot and Ischen Stopforth were third on the stage and maintain third place overall.

Put out of podium contention by the mud on Monday’s stage, Reid and Schuermans, pictured going up the pass (right) were motivated from the start on Tuesday, slightly fresher than their rivals and eager to capture the race’s queen stage, their primary goal for the event.

At 40km into the dry, sunny stage, on a steep, technical climb, Stewart and Looser put in an attack that only Schuermans and Reid were able to respond to. It was a long way out from the finish but the quartet decided to commit to the breakaway. The size of the chase group dwindled steadily to five, comprising RE:CM, Westvaal Bells Cycling and Solo male racer, Darren Lill (Cannondale Blend), and a pursuit ensued to the base of the final climb with the gap down to as little as 25 seconds between the two groups at one point.

Once on the Swartberg Pass, FedGroup Itec and Asrin Cycling began to trade subtle surges. But with four kilometres remaining where the gradient steepened, Reid, the current South African marathon champion, powered ahead and first Looser, then Stewart cracked. Schuermans, a cross-country specialist, was fighting a personal battle against cramps but managed to pull himself up to Reid and the pair charged ahead towards the finish line.

ÔÇ£When James asked me to be his teammate for this race two months ago, he said our main goal was to win Stage 2. So I trained specifically with this stage in mind. It feels so good to achieve our goal,ÔÇØ smiled Schuermans.

ÔÇ£We weren’t keen to let any teams get away from us before the final climb today, which is why we went with FedGroup’s early move,ÔÇØ explained Reid. ÔÇ£Jens and I are both young and both cross-country specialists, so the overall win in a long stage race would be unrealistic. That’s why we targeted this particular stage. We may be in with a chance of another stage win still.ÔÇØ

In the women’s race, Kleinhans and Langvad went on the attack early on and then just built on that as the stage progressed. ÔÇ£We wanted to start fast and get a gap because we didn’t want to ride up the last climb under too much pressure,ÔÇØ said Langvad.

ÔÇ£My teammate is from another planet!ÔÇØ exclaimed Kleinhans. ÔÇ£Annika is so strong on the flats and downhills and she just pulled me along for the first part of the race. We got quite a decent gap on the other women early on and just kept it steady to the finish.ÔÇØ

The stage winners of the other team categories were ÔÇô Mixed: Cube Nutswerk MTB’s Birgit Lavrijssen (NED) and Marco Minnaard (NED); Veteran: Cube Nutswerk 2’s Micha de Vries (NED) and Rik van den Hanenberg (NED); Master: Wilde 3’s Lieb Loots (RSA) and Izak Visagie (RSA); Solo men: Darren Lill (Cannondale Blend) and Solo women: Bettina Uhlig.

At 107km, Wednesday’s stage three from Prince Albert to De Rust is the longest of the 2013 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and includes a moderate 1 543 metres of ascent.

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek (Stage Two: 85km from Calitzdorp to Swartberg Pass)

Open men
1 Asrin Cycling ÔÇô James Reid (RSA); Jens Scheurmans (BEL) 03hr34min19sec
2 FedGroup Itec ÔÇô Brandon Stewart (RSA); Konny Looser (SUI) @ 1min48sec
3 Westvaal Bells Cycling ÔÇô Nico Bell (RSA); Gawie Combrinck (RSA) @ 3:45
4 RE:CM ÔÇô Waylon Woolcock (RSA); Erik Kleinhans (RSA) @ 4:05
5 Firebike-Droessiger ÔÇô Mathias Frohn (GER); Max Freidrich (GER) @13:39

Open Women
1 RE:CM Davinci ÔÇô Ariane Kleinhans (SUI); Annika Langvad (DEN) 04:06:05
2 Wheeler ÔÇô BMC ÔÇô Jane Neussli (GBR); Esther Suss (SUI) @12:49
3 Biogen SA ÔÇô Ischen Stopforth (RDSA); Robyn de Groot (RSA) @ 23:01

Veterans
1 Cube Nutswerk 2 ÔÇô Micha de Vries (NED); Rik Van den Hanenberg (NED) 04:09:05
2 Klein Karoo Vets ÔÇô Wynand Mulder (RSA); Gerrie Beukes (RSA) @ 4:11
3 Cannondale Blend Vets ÔÇô Martin Epstein (RSA); Stefano Madies (RSA) @ 10:14

Masters
1 Wilde 3 ÔÇô Izak Visagie (RSA); Lieb Loots (RSA) 04:22:10
2 Brug Meesters ÔÇô Charles Nienaber (RSA); Ergee du Toit (RSA) @ 12:32
3 Bridge Masters 1 ÔÇô Con Malherbe (RSA); Greg Anderson (RSA) @22:27

Amateurs
1 Klein Karoo Express ÔÇô Kobus Barnard (RSA); Cornelius Muller (RSA) 04:09:01
2 Scott Saffa Power ÔÇô George Nel (RSA); Franso Steyn (RSA) 03:37
3 Kivada Schorriemorrie ÔÇô Ninko Doornbos (NED); Coen Hoogervorst (NED) 4:49

Solo men
1 Darren Lill (RSA) 03:38:04
2 Craig Boyes (RSA) @ 13:14
3 Adriaan Louw (RSA) @ 16:30

Solo women
1 Bettina Uhlig (GER) 04:35:04
2 Dalene van der Leek (RSA) @ 12:50
3 Aileen Anderson (RSA)@ 19:08

General classification after Stage Two
Open men
1 FedGroup Itec ÔÇô Brandon Stewart (RSA); Konny Looser (SUI) 08:36:26
2 RE:CM ÔÇô Waylon Woolcock (RSA); Erik Kleinhans (RSA) @ 5:22
3 Asrin Cycling ÔÇô James Reid (RSA); Jens Scheurmans (BEL) 03hr34min19sec @ 13:51
4 SCOTT Factory Racing ÔÇô Philip Buys (RSA); Matthys Beukes (RSA) @26:34
5 Westvaal Bells Cycling ÔÇô Nico Bell (RSA); Gawie Combrinck (RSA) @ @ 37:43

Open women
1 RE:CM Davinci ÔÇô Ariane Kleinhans (SUI); Annika Langvad (DEN) 09:50:25
2 Wheeler ÔÇô BMC ÔÇô Jane Neussli (GBR); Esther Suss (SUI) @ 29:09
3 Biogen SA ÔÇô Ischen Stopforth (RDSA); Robyn de Groot (RSA) @ 58:49

Veterans
1 Cube Nutswerk 2 ÔÇô Micha de Vries (NED); Rik Van den Hanenberg (NED) 09:49:20
2 Cannondale Blend Vets ÔÇô Martin Epstein (RSA); Stefano Madies (RSA) @ 1:12:05
2 Klein Karoo Vets ÔÇô Wynand Mulder (RSA); Gerrie Beukes (RSA) @ 1:18:14

Masters
1 Wilde 3 ÔÇô Izak Visagie (RSA); Lieb Loots (RSA) 10:11:03
2 Stone Hammer ÔÇô Malcolm Dodds (RSA); Wizner Zbigniew (RSA) @ 1:19:2
3 Brug Meesters ÔÇô Charles Nienaber (RSA); Ergee du Toit (RSA) @ 1:26:07

Amateurs
1 Contego Giant 2 ÔÇô Sakkie Hannekom (RSA); Hannes Hannekom (RSA) 10:13:45
2 Scott Saffa Power ÔÇô George Nel (RSA); Franso Steyn (RSA) @ 10:33
3 Kivada Schorriemorrie ÔÇô Ninko Doornbos (NED); Coen Hoogervorst (NED) 28:35

Solo men
1 Adriaan Louw (RSA) @ 09:19:44
2 Tomas Kozak (CZE) @ 31:19
3 Craig Boyes (RSA) @ 38:08

Solo women
1 Kate Slegrova 12:10:48
2 Dalene van der Leek (RSA) @ 4:49
3 Bettina PUhlig (GER) @ 21:31

Picture: Zoon Cronje/Nikon


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