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Erik Kleinhans of Team RE∙CM set a steady pace during Stage One of the much anticipated ISUZU Ride The Rock MTB Race that started in the majestic Cederberg Region on Friday, 07 February 2014. Kleinhans claimed victory in a time of 03hours24minutes01seconds. Seen here: Kleinhans in action on the day. Photo Credit ~ Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

Known as the Endurance Stage, Stage One saw riders having to complete a tough 81km route that boasts a 1600m vertical ascent.

According to Kleinhans it’s nice to have some payback. “I’ve had bad luck at the ISUZU Ride The Rock for the past two years. Today we started with an easy pace with round about eight riders breaking away at the first water point. The pace then settled down until Voelvlei. This section is very sandy and I knew it would be ideal for a power rider. Pushing the pace, from there I had a smooth downhill, definitely my best effort of the day”.

“If you can survive this you can survive anything,” continues Kleinhans. “The stage was definitely rougher than in previous years. The rocky terrain was perfect for my Specialized Epic mountain bike. I came here with high hopes and it was very nice to cross the finish line first. Now that I have a lead I can ride more conservatively”. Kleinhans completed the 81km route in an impressive time of 03hours24minutes01seconds. Adriaan Louw came in second, while Dan Hugo finished third.

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Hanlie Booyens was the rider to beat in the women’s field during Stage One of the much anticipated ISUZU Ride The Rock MTB Race that started in the majestic Cederberg Region on Friday, 07 February 2014. Booyens claimed victory in a time of 04hours31minutes02seconds. Seen here: Booyens in action on the day. Photo Credit ~ Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA

Hanlie Booyens was the rider to beat in the women’s race crossing the finish line first in a time of 04hours31minutes02seconds. “This is always a challenging stage,” says Booyens. “The section at Voelvlei is rugged. I definitely took longer there today than ever before. This is my third ISUZU Ride The Rock, but my first stage win at the event. With Ariane not racing, it’s definitely opened the door for us. I think Vera is the rider to look out for on stage two, she’s good on the technical sections. My strategy will be to climb hard and hang on on the decents”. Vera Adrian came in second, while Kim Westbrook finished third.