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Anna Marx - 1st Nipper Girls

A total of 18 different categories meant riders from all shapes, sizes and ages signed up for the day. The 4km loop combined a good mix of climbs and descends with more than half of the route visible from the spectators' viewpoint near the finish line. The long climb close to the start quickly sorted the men and women from the boys and girls and it was clear who was serious about winning. The winding singletrack switchbacks tested the riders' cornering abilities and with passing impossible on the narrow singletrack, it very often lead to riders bunching up. A quick sprint through the mini forest took the riders around the dam, wrapping up a lap around the track.

Elite men's winner Renay Groustra completed his 8 laps in 1.26.23, with elite women's winner Lolita van Aardt, completing her 6 laps in 1.24.41.

"The route wasn't very technical, but it was quite bumpy. I was running on a hardtail and probably put a bit too much pressure in my tires, so it hurt me in the end. I put in quite a bit of work in the gym this week, so my legs were pretty sore in the beginnig but as the race progressed they opened up a bit. I love racing cross country and it was good to come out today and win the race. I'm really pleased with the amount of money and effort Paarl Media put into the event, and I just want to thank my sponsor RSAweb for supporting me." ~ Renay Groustra, 1st Elite Men

"Its great to see that XC racing in South Africa is on the up. There's more support and spectators and young guys coming through. The route was technical enough - they put in a good effort in building a nice, interesting track. Still we need more technical and tougher tracks, to prepare more for the international scene, but we are heading in the right direction." ~ Nico Pfitzenmaier, 2nd Elite Men

Full results to of all the categories can be found here.

A big thank you goes out to the sponsors Paarl Media Group, Durbanville Commercial Printers, NMC Construction Group, Cycle Funatic, Gecko Cycles, Dragon Sports, Red Bull, Price-Waterhouse Coopers, Mondi and Rob Starke for making Contermanskloof MTB Trails available.

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Alec Coleske - 1st Nipper Boys

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Luke Moir - 1st Sprog Boys

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Riders lead out the first climb of the track - separating the men and women from the boys and girls

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Almost there

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Carla Hollander - 1st Sub Junior Girls

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Sarah Van Der Walt - 1st Sprog Girls

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As harsh as Contermanskloof can be during the summer, just as glorious is it during winter with lush green rolling hills as far as you can see

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Michard Meets - 1st Sub Junior Boys

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Title sponsor Paarl Media did a great job at organizing the 2014 WP Champs XCO

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Matthew Keyser - 1st Youth Men

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Hannes Hanekom - 1st Sub Veteran Men

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And then, within a couple of minutes, the mist completely engulfed the track

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Robert Sim - 1st Veteran Men

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Not much you can do with low visibility - Bigshot Media shooting for SuperSport

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Doug Brown - 1st Master Men

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Lolitha Van Aard - 1st Elite Women

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Marie Kempf - 1st Under 23 Women

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Diana Carolin - 1st Sub Veteran Women

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Amy Williams - 1st Junior Women

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Paarl Media & DCP pits

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With so many age categories, and a spectator friendly track, the event was suitable for the whole family to join

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Some catering to keep the spectators happy - and as quickly as it came, the mist disappeared

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Jurgens Uys - 1st Under 23 Men

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Harrie Malan - 1st Junior Men

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Renay Groustra being chased hard by Nico Pfitzenmaier - but Renay would claim top spot with Nico in second

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The views from the top of the singletrack switchbacks with the start/finish line down there in the gulley

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The day turned out perfect for racing

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Renay Groustra making light work of the technical parts of the track, taking the overall win

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Nico Pfitzenmaier pinned through the mini forest on his way to 2nd position

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XCO WP Champs Elite men's podium

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XCO WP Champs Elite men's winner, Renay Groustra

Words and images: Ewald Sadie

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