The top South African duo earned R100 000 (US$ 12 000) for reaching the finish line of the gruelling stage first, recording a time of 03 hours 54 minutes 15 seconds. Second place went to Melt Swanepoel and Matthys Beukes (Cango MTB.com) with Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell (Westvaal Columbia) rounding out the top three places overall after having to deal with a broken rear derailleur hanger.

The scenario on the cool, partly cloudy day was similar in the women’s category with 2011 winners and overnight leaders, Ischen Stopforth and Catherine Williamson (Bridge bizhub Ladies) finishing first ahead of – and extending their overall lead over – Yolande Speedy and Yolande de Villiers (Klein Karoo Chicks).

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Timo Cooper stormed to a dominant victory in the Solo men's category and extended his lead overall after Stage 2 of the 2012 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race.

Photo credit: Karin Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media

The riders, who hail from Europe, Great Britain, Australia and Southern Africa, tackled the event’s queen stage with a sense of caution. Just 85km in distance, the third day of racing required they climb a total of 2 760 vertical metres, mostly over the rough terrain characteristic of the semi-arid Karoo region.

The final climb to the mountain top finish took in the 12km long Swartberg Pass, a dramatic twisty gravel road that climbs at a relentless gradient for a total of 1 100 metres.

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The early part of Stage 2 saw the leading riders stick together before the major climbs splintered the field on Day 3 of the 2012 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race.

Photo credit: Karin Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media

“Obviously the prizemoney was a good motivator today, but we’re always going to give our best in every stage we race. Frustratingly, what we earned today was a fraction of what professional golfers earn but kudos to the organisers and sponsors for upping the ante in mountain bike stage racing,” said George.

George and Evans must finish the event and score a minimum number of points (awarded to the top five teams on each stage) in order to qualify for the handover of the generous stage prizemoney put up by title sponsor Bridge, a financial solutions company, when the event ends on Saturday.

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Dutch riders Mattijs Eversdijk (front) and Liwald Doornbos (Cube Nutswerk 2) finished fourth overall on the stage and moved up to fifth position in the General Classification of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race.

Photo credit: Karin Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media

A lead group of 15 riders developed early on but at 30km into the 85km stage, Evans and George began to increase the pressure and moved into the lead on their own. They extended their lead by the finish to almost nine minutes and will go into the remainder of the seven-day tour with a margin of 10:39 over Swanepoel and Beukes.

“We wanted a buffer just in case of mishaps so pushed from far out for the win. It was a challenging stage for sure with some technical ascents and descents and a lot of climbing. We are one of the few top teams in the race on full-suspension bikes which really has been to our advantage,” added George.

Germans Max Fridrich and Nadine Rieder (Ergon 24H Racing Team) claimed victory in the Mixed category, while the Swiss team of Barti Bucher and Ernst Engeli (Bix-Sherpa Tensing Pedalerie) won the stage and extended their lead in the Masters division.

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David George and Kevin Evans (Nedbank 360Life) negotiate one of the many turns on the Swartberg Pass during Stage 2 of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race. They won the stage and collected a generous prize purse of R100 000 (US$ 12 000). They took at total of 44 minutes to ascend the formidable 12km/1100m climb.

Photo credit: Karin Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media

The South African-German pairing of Robert Sim and Nico Pfitzenmaier made up for time lost on Stage 1 with an impressive fifth place overall on Tuesday to reclaim their lead in the very competitive Veteran category. Timo Cooper and Desiree Loubser claimed the stage honours in the Solo men and women’s categories respectively and lead those divisions overall.

Wednesday’s Stage 3 takes in a 109km route from Prince Albert, through the Karoo to De Rust, climbing a total of 1 555 metres and ending with the famous 8km singletrack descent into Meiringspoort.

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Cheered by local school children, race leaders Kevin Evans (nearest camera) and David George (Nedbank 360Life) lead the field off the start line for Stage 2 of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race.

Photo credit: Karin Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media

Regular race updates are posted on twitter @BridgeCPT as well as daily photo galleries on Facebook – Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek 2012. There's a daily race summary and information on the event website – www.capepioneer.co.za as well as find fresh, insightful updates on the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek blog: http://blog.capepioneer.co.za/

Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek 2012

Stage 2 – Calitzdorp to Swartberg Pass

85km; 2 760 metres ascent

Leading results

Open Men:

1 Kevin Evans – RSA / David George – RSA (Nedbank 360Life) 03hr 54min 15sec

2 Matthys Beukes – RSA / Melt Swanepoel – RSA (Cango MTB.com) 04:03:07

3 Nico Bell – RSA / Gawie Combrinck – RSA (Westvaal Columbia) 04:14:41

4 Mattijs Eversdijk – NED / Liwald Doornbos – NED (Cube Nutswerk 2) 04:24:25

5 Chris Wolhuter – RSA / Oliver Munnik – RSA (Asrin Cycling) 04:25:28

Women:

1 Ischen Stopforth – RSA / Catherine Williamson – GBR (Bridge bizhub Ladies) 04:51:34

2 Yolande de Villiers – RSA / Yolande Speedy – RSA (Klein Karoo Chicks) 05:02:32

3 Sarah van Heerden – RSA / Jackie Church – RSA (Wilde 2) 05:23:13

Mixed:

1 Max Fridrich – GER / Nadine Rieder – GER (Ergon 24H Racing Team) 04:37:45

2 Kathrin Stirnemann – SUI / Sandro Soncin – SUI (BH – Halbike – Tigers) 04:45:14

3 Craig Gerber – RSA / Jennie Stenerhag – SWE (Newlinesport) 04:51:32

Veteran:

1 Robert Sim – RSA / Nico Pfitzenmaier – GER (Robert Daniel Momsen) 04:25:02

2 Micha de Vries – NED /Willem van Heerdt – NED (Cube Nutswerk 1) 04:49:05

3 Rex Benson – RSA / Mark Langman – RSA (Bridge USN) 04:54:59

Masters:

1 Barti Bucher – SUI / Ernst Engeli – SUI (Bix-Sherpa Tensing Pedalerie) 04:29:57

2 Neville Ackermann – RSA / Charles Nienaber – RSA (Bridge Masters) 05:13:26

3 Tony Conlon – RSA / Peter Stopforth – RSA (Marsilio Projects Masters) 05:29:41

Solo Men:

1 Timo Cooper – RSA 04:13:58

2 Heinz Zoerweb – AUT 04:15:46

3 Petrus Malherbe – RSA 04:24:50

Solo Women:

1 Desiree Loubser – RSA 05:42:34

2 Diana Carolin – RSA 05:46:14

3 Dianna Ineman – SUI 06:07:29

General Classification after Stage 2

Open Men:

1 Kevin Evans – RSA / David George – RSA (Nedbank 360Life) 08hr 24min 20sec

2 Matthys Beukes – RSA / Melt Swanepoel – RSA (Cango MTB.com) 08:35:19

3 Nico Bell – RSA / Gawie Combrinck – RSA (Westvaal Columbia) 08:47:08

4 Chris Wolhuter – RSA / Oliver Munnik – RSA (Asrin Cycling) 09:09:44

5 Mattijs Eversdijk – NED / Liwald Doornbos – NED (Cube Nutswerk 2) 09:31:53

Women:

1 Ischen Stopforth – RSA / Catherine Williamson – GBR (Bridge bizhub Ladies) 10:11:44

2 Yolande de Villiers – RSA / Yolande Speedy – RSA (Klein Karoo Chicks) 10:31:12

3 Sarah van Heerden – RSA / Jackie Church – RSA (Wilde 2) 11:10:09

Mixed:

1 Max Fridrich – GER / Nadine Rieder – GER (Ergon 24H Racing Team) 09:37:06

2 Kathrin Stirnemann – SUI / Sandro Soncin – SUI (BH – Halbike – Tigers) 09:50:23

3 Craig Gerber – RSA / Jennie Stenerhag – SWE (Newlinesport) 10:03:17

Veteran:

1 Robert Sim – RSA / Nico Pfitzenmaier – GER (Robert Daniel Momsen) 09:35:42

2 Micha de Vries - NED /Willem van Heerdt – NED (Cube Nutswerk 1) 09:42:51

3 Rex Benson – RSA / Mark Langman – RSA (Bridge USN) 10:08:51

Masters:

1 Barti Bucher – SUI / Ernst Engeli – SUI (Bix-Sherpa Tensing Pedalerie) 09:31:30

2 Neville Ackermann – RSA / Charles Nienaber – RSA (Bridge Masters) 10:21:36

3 Tony Conlon – RSA / Peter Stopforth – RSA (Marsilio Projects Masters) 11:16:51

Solo Men:

1 Timo Cooper – RSA 04:43:3

2 Petrus Malherbe – RSA 04:52:11

3 Jonathan Wallace – RSA 05:06:10

Solo Women:

1 Desiree Loubser – RSA 11:39:31

2 Diana Carolin – RSA 11:54:08

3 Dianna Ineman – SUI 12:12:47

For full results, visit www.capepioneer.co.za