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Olympians to the fore in Cape Pioneer
- Updated: October 15, 2014
London Olympians Philip Buys and Robyn de Groot were both in the pound seats after Tuesday’s queen stage of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek in the Karoo.
Buys and Matthys Beukes (SCOTT Factory Racing) showed impressive climbing ability and moved into the overall lead on Tuesday.
The South Africans were the first to the summit of the Swartberg Pass, the only mountaintop finish in international mountain bike stage racing. The signature stage, which covered 86-kilometres and climbed a total of 2781 metres, is also the richest, paying out R125 000 (US$12 500) to the first men and women’s teams to the finish line.
South African marathon champion De Groot and Swedish marathon champion, Jennie Stenerhag (Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co.) were the first women’s team to the summit, extending their overall lead by almost seven minutes over stage runners-up, Briton Catherine Williamson and Belgian Alice Picard (Asrin Cycling).
The German-based Team Bulls riders, Tim Bohme and Simon Siegbahn, overall leaders for the first two days, faltered on the final ascent of the Pass, losing almost four minutes and dropping to second place on the General Classification.
The diminutive Spanish duo of Ismail Ventura and Ramon Segues (ESMTB.com) finished second on the stage and maintain their third place overall going into Wednesday’s Stage Three.
Beukes and Buys chose to race the Cape Pioneer Trek, traditionally considered better suited to dual-suspension bikes, on hardtails (no rear suspension) specifically with Tuesday’s stage in mind.
‘We usually race our full-suspension SCOTT Sparks, but we decided that since we’re both quite skilled and were hungry for the win on the Swartberg Pass, SCOTT Scale hardtails would be our choice. Clearly the decision paid off,’ beamed Beukes.
Their hardtails are 1kg lighter than their dual-suspension bikes, which may not seem like much, but is when the final climb has a relatively smooth gravel surface and climbs 1100m in 11km.
For De Groot and Stenerhag the stage win, by such a large margin, was a surprise. ‘We decided to race this stage like any other stage and not become distracted by the final climb and the big prize money,’ said Stenerhag.
‘At around half way we noticed the Asrin team was right behind us, so we put in a bigger effort and moved clear of them. We weren’t sure what our lead was over them at the start of the last climb, but someone did shout to us a little later that we were four minutes ahead of them,’ explained Stenerhag.
‘We just focused on finding a good rhythm to hold our lead and were very happy to see that we increased it even,’ smiled the Swede.
In the other team racing categories, South Africans James Tenant and David Garrett were the top Amateurs, claiming the GC lead in the process, while Germans Max Friedrich and Jana Mischance (Firebike Tomotion by Blacktusk) were the first Mixed team home, also moving into the overall lead in their division.
Heinz Zorweg (AUT) and Bartie Bucher (SUI) of Team Meerendal Wheeler 2 were the top Masters once again, extending their category lead significantly, while South Africans Johan Labuschagne and Gerrie Beukes (Klein Karoo Veterans) secured the Veteran men’s stage win and moved into second overall, behind compatriots Fanie Venter and Wayne McDuling (Pynfabriek).
In the Solo men’s division, Konny Looser (SUI) won the stage in his category and overall. He gained a lot of respect for his rapid ascent, but he didn’t gain any significant change to his bank balance, as the large cash prizes are only for the first teams to the summit. In the Solo women’s race Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA), won another stage and extended her overall lead.
Wednesday’s Stage Three is a 107km leg from Prince Albert to De Rust. With a total of 1543m of ascent, it’s expected to be a day of consolidation for many, although teams that haven’t lived up to their early expectations are likely to be in the hunt for a stage win.
Picture of De Groot (front) and Stenerhag by Zoon Cronje/Nikon/Xtremedia
Stage Two results
1 Philip Buys (SA)/Matthys Beukes (SA) – SCOTT Factory Racing 3hr 57min 19sec
2 Ismael Ventura (ESP)/Ramon Sagues (SA) – ESMTB.com 3:58:11
3 James Reid (SA)/Herman Persteiner (AUT) – Asrin Cycling 3:59:34
4 Michiel van Aelbroeck (NED)/Robby de Bock (NED) WMTB.Be – Feenstra 4:00:49
5 Johann Rabie (SA)/Gawie Combrinck (SA) EAI South Africa 4:00:52
1 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE)/Robyn de Groot (SA) – Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co 4:29:35
2 Catherine Williamson (GBR)/Alice Pirard (BEL) Asrin Cycling 2 4:36:04
3 Theresa Ralph (SA)/Esther Suss (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 1 4:47:27
1 James Tennent (SA)/David Garrett (SA) – Giant 2 4:31:39
2 Jaco Ferreira (SA)/Alexander Lamberts (SA) – Columbia Europcar Bridge 4:32:35
3 Jonathan Odendaal (SA)/Bertus Odendaal (SA) – Four Brothers 4:40:01
1 Johan Labuschagne (SA)/Gerrie Beukes (SA) Klein Karoo Veterans 4:29:09
2 Fanie Venter (SA)/Wayne McDuling (SA) – Pynfabriek 4:36:48
3 Marne Dirks (SA)/Pierre Griffioen (SA) – Bridge Torq Zone Vets 4:52:54
1 Heinz Zorweg (AUT)/Barti Bucher (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 2 4:13:30
2 Izak Visagie (SA)/Lieb Loots (SA) – Wilde 3 4:50:45
3 Waleed Baker (SA)/Glen Haw (SA) – Pitstop 5:01:25
1 Max Friedrich (GER)/Jana Zieschank (GER) – Firebike Tomotion by Blacktusk 4:28:39
2 Kobus Barnard (SA)/Fienie Barnard (SA) – Klein Karoo Mixed 4:40:29
3 Igna de Viliers (SA)/Daleen Van der Leek (SA) LGE Midas Bells Cycling 4:47:53
1 Konny Looser (SUI) 3:57:09
2 Travis Walker (SA) 3:58:00
3 Alan Gordon (SA) 4:06:10
1 Christine Janse van Rensburg (SA) 4:58:34
2 Katja Cauwenbergh (BEL) 5:34:40
3 Nina Hind (SA) 5:59:07
General Classification after Stage Two
1 Philip Buys (SA)/Matthys Beukes (SA) – SCOTT Factory Racing 8:18:21
2 Simon Stiebjahn (GER)/Tim Bohme (GER) – Team Bulls 8:21:48
3 Ismael Venture (ESP)/Ramon Sagues (SA) – ESMTB.com 8:24:15
4 Waylon Woolcock (SA)/Darren Lill (SA) – Cannondale Blend 8:32:01
5 Michiel van Aelbroeck (NED)/Robby de Bock (NED) WMTB.Be – Feenstra 8:32:45
1 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE)/Robyn de Groot (SA) – Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co 9:29:46
2 Catherine Williamson (GBR)/Alice Pirard (BEL) 9:43:26
3 Theresa Ralph (SA)/Esther Suss (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 1 10:02:34
1 James Tennent (SA)/David Garrett (SA) – Giant 2 9:32:29
2 Jaco Ferreira (SA)/Alexander Lamberts (SA) – Columbia Europcar Bridge 9:37:19
3 Jonathan Odendaal (SA)/Bertus Odendaal (SA) – Four Brothers 9:40:10
1 Fanie Venter (SA)/Wayne McDuling (SA) – Pynfabriek 9:32:38
2 Johan Labuschagne (SA)/Gerrie Beukes (SA) Klein Karoo Veterans 9:46:39
3 Marne Dirks (SA)/Pierre Griffioen (SA) – Bridge Torq Zone Vets 9:58:36
1 Heinz Zorweg (AUT)/Barti Bucher (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 2 8:52:48
2 Izak Visagie (SA)/Lieb Loots (SA) – Wilde 3 9:56:34
3 Waleed Baker (SA)/Glen Haw (SA) – Pitstop 10:30:56
1 Max Friedrich (GER)/Jana Zieschank (GER) – Firebike Tomotion by Blacktusk 9:33:56
2 Kobus Barnard (SA)/Fienie Barnard (SA) – Klein Karoo Mixed 9:44:50
3 Igna de Viliers (SA)/Daleen Van der Leek (SA) LGE Midas Bells Cycling 10:06:09
1 Alan Gordon (SA) 8:39:31
2 Travis Walker (SA) 8:40:32
3 Ken van den Bulke (BEL) 8:45:04
1 Christine Janse van Rensburg (SA) 10:18:42
2 Katja Cauwenbergh (BEL) 11:25:08
3 Nina Hind (SA) 12:19:43