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  1. Not since Yolande Speedy, in 2013, has a South African woman stood upon the top step of the Absa Cape Epic podium. In recent years, Robyn de Groot, Mariske Strauss and Candice Lill have had shots at the title, though all three came up short. Local fans will, therefore, be thrilled to read that two of the three will combine as a local super team in 2020. Riding as Faces CST, Strauss and Lill are the first all-South African team with a realistic chance of victory in nearly a decade. Click here to view the article
  2. The ever-smiling Mariske Strauss will partner Candice Lill during the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Shaun Dwayne Senior. South African fans have lamented the fact that the country’s two premier cross-country riders have never joined forces before. Organising their collaboration for the 2020 Absa Cape Epic was not entirely straightforward either. “Where there’s a will there is always a way” Strauss pointed out. “Riding with Candice was part of my discussion when I joined Bart Brentjens’s CST Sandd Bafang team, so now it’s just to put the picture together. I think it is beneficial for everyone and I’m super excited to line up with her” the former National Champion stated. “The team name will be 'Faces CST’ and our separate sponsors will be represented elsewhere on the kit” Lill elaborated. “When Mariske joined CST Sandd Bafang for 2020, we found a way to make it work for both teams/sponsors so that everyone is happy. We are in the process of designing the kit and it is looking really good.” Candice Lill has proven her abilities time and again at the Absa Cape Epic and is looking forward to the 2020 Race. Photo by Shaun Roy. “Though we have never raced together as a team, I feel we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses on the bike more than anyone” Lill added. “We would normally use this in a race situation to try and get the upper hand on one another. But now we have the opportunity to combine our strengths and I can’t wait to leverage the power of that. Our first race together will be the Tankwa Trek; as part of the tune-up towards the Absa Cape Epic.” “This is spot on” Strauss agreed. “It’s part of the reason why I approached Candice earlier last year. Besides being a force to be reckoned with, I feel we will be in tune with one another from the get-go. We will be doing some rides and races together to make sure that when the Absa Cape Epic comes along, we are smooth as butter.” “I know that we have the support of South African mountain biking fans and I can’t wait to get out there and give it our best shot,” Lill said, reflecting on the chances of overall victory. “Of course, we would love it to be a success, but we do understand the unpredictable nature of racing the Absa Cape Epic. That’s why we will shoot for the overall victory but will always make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in during the race. It would make me unbelievably proud if we did manage to pull off a win. Imagine!” “I believe we have a good shot, but of course, as Candice said, this is mountain bike racing and not just any mountain bike race, it’s the Absa Cape Epic – The Race That Measures All” Strauss continued. “From personal experience, I can attest that anything can happen. When racing the Absa Cape Epic, you have to be able to adapt and roll with the punches. That said, I also do not think about what others think about, we have enough on our plate as is, so the pressure we both put on ourselves is enough without adding the expectation of home fans.” Candice Lill is excited to partner Mariske Strauss at the 2020 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Sam Clark. Aside from the Absa Cape Epic, 2020 is a big year for Strauss and Lill. They, along with Cherie Redecker, are battling to score as many UCI points as possible, to qualify South Africa for at least two automatic slots for Tokyo 2020. The women’s cross-country points are calculated separately to the men’s and if they can earn enough points to maintain a ranking of seventh or higher, for the country, two riders will qualify for the Olympic mountain bike race. In December 2019, South Africa was in a position to qualify two riders, the United Kingdom was just seven points behind, while Germany was just eighteen points back in ninth. “Our goal is to see both of us at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Lill said. “We have both worked really hard (separately) to get SA women’s XCO racing on the map at an international level. I am proud of what we have overcome to be ranked seventh in the world as a country. We have now joined forces to get as many points as possible in the early season races to ensure that we at least keep our seventh-place ranking. A major contributor to these points will be the Absa Cape Epic, as it is a UCI HC stage race, and hopefully, we can get a solid double hitter of points for South Africa there.”
  3. Team dormakaba SA (left to right): Candice Lill, Samantha Sanders, Carmen Buchacher, and Nico Pfitzenmaier. Two new cyclists join the formidable team Announcing the sponsorship, Shaun Frayne, Managing Director of dormakaba South Africa, said the contracts with Carmen and Samantha are of huge value to the team. “We are extremely excited about the prospect of these two talented, up-and-coming riders competing in the blue and red dormakaba jersey. We believe they have the potential, competitive spirit and determination to take women’s mountain biking to new heights.” Samantha Sanders (left) and Carmen Buchacher (right). Carmen and Samantha are indeed a good fit for the existing team members, Nico Pfitzenmaier and Candice Lill. Nico has 30 Cape Epic category stage wins (18 Mixed, 12 Masters) and three category overall wins (1 Masters, 2 Mixed) under his belt, while Candice has won a XCO World Championships bronze medal in the Junior category and represented South Africa at the London Olympic Games. At the end of July 2017, Candice also won the Elite women’s title at Round 5 of the Ashburton Investments National Mountain Bike Series the second year in succession. She is also the only South African female to have won a UCI Mountain Bike World Championships medal. New team member Carmen Buchacher was born in 1986 and just eight years later became the youngest female competitor to take on the Argus Cycle Tour. Based in Cape Town, Carmen entered her debut year as a professional local and international athlete in 2016 and has – amongst many other XCM races – an impressive track record of podium finishes, including the Joburg2c, Absa Cape Epic, the Sellaronda HERO in Italy and the National XCM Championships in Austria. She crossed over to mountain biking at the beginning of 2015. This gifted athlete, who completed her degree in sport science via correspondence with a German institution, is determined to succeed. Carmen will be competing locally and internationally again this year. “I am aiming high and determined to achieve new and greater results,” she says. Back in the saddle – Samantha Sanders There is one thing that Samantha Sanders is not short of – a determined, competitive spirit! It is little wonder that Samantha progressed from an amateur to a professional mountain biker. A late starter to the sport with no prior exposure to cycling, Sam has progressively moved from amateur to professional on her own steam. With no professional sporting background and no experienced management guiding her, it has been a journey of trial and error for this talented cyclist. Samantha Sanders (front) and Carmen Buchacher (back). After a year of injuries in 2015, Sam decided to focus on road riding in 2016. She won a silver medal in the individual time trial at the SA Road Championships, gold at the Team Trial at CA Championships and a bronze in the Individual Time Trial (ITT) race. She was selected to represent South Africa at the World Road Championships in Doha, the CA Championships in Morocco and again in Egypt in 2017. What has been the secret to her success? For one thing, there are few riders who have achieved success in cycling’s three disciplines: road racing, cross-country and marathon racing. Says Shaun: “Our four chosen ambassadors have what it takes to succeed in cycling and in life. Not only do they embody the spirit of determination, commitment and hard work which is synonymous with the service provided by dormakaba SA, but also our brand value of trust, performance and courage. We are truly proud to be associated with them.” Watch this space!
  4. Lill used last year’s race as preparation for 2018, a wise head on young shoulders discovering what the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race was all about. Candice Lill. Photo credit: Marc Sampson. Absa Cape Epic. Sportzpics. “I had a very good experience at my first Absa Cape Epic, which is exactly how I wanted it to be,” said the 25-year-old Lill. “I had no pressure. I was there to experience, learn and grow. I finished most days with a smile on my face because I had prepared and was ready for how tough the race can be. “The idea for 2017 was to be part of the race, but always have a little bit left in the tank at the end of the stage. Being a relatively young rider, I am so grateful for the advice I took to approach my first Absa Cape Epic like this. I left the race feeling hungry for more. This is why I’m back in 2018 ready to give it a good go. I am sure it will be totally different ball game, but let’s chat afterwards.” Lill finished sixth in 2017 with Namibian Vera Adrian, but will race the 15th Absa Cape Epic with Adelheid Morath of Germany for Team dormakaba. Morath, who will ride in her third Epic, was fourth last year with Ariane Lüthi, the three-time winner of the Women’s category. “Take one glance at Adelheid, and you know she can climb, very fast! I am sure I will be suffering up many a mountain. I don’t want to give away too many secrets here, but what I believe is Adelheid’s biggest strength is her honesty, communication and ability to look after a team mate. We have different strengths and weaknesses on the bike, but that can all be optimised with the above three aspects. I look forward to working with her and learning from her.” Lill finished the Epic with renewed respect for all who finish the race, saying you cannot have ridden it and not built some solid character. “If I meet someone who has finished the Ansa Cape Epic, I immediately know that they must have a strong mind, have the ability to overcome challenges, and be able to endure some level of pain - be it physical, emotional etc.” Adelheid Morath. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie. Absa Cape Epic.Sportzpics. The two main lessons she learnt last year were that “you are only as strong as your teamwork” and the “race is looooonnnggg and unpredictable”. “To work as a team is a skill that many people don’t possess. It is not given the emphasis it deserves, because it is possibly one of the biggest factors to achieve success. In every situation, think about your partner- how are they feeling? Where are they? Will it be better for them if I do/don’t do this? Will it give them a mental edge if I let them ride on the front? And they must do the same for you.” “This race is not won on any single day. Therefore, do not panic if you are having a bad day or losing time because you had to fix a mechanical. Do the best you can do in the situation and never ever give up chasing. The pendulum swings and the next day you might be playing with a completely different set of cards.” “I think there is a good balance of everything in this year’s route - long stages over 100km, shorter more technical stages, stages with crazy climbing and two ‘time trial’ stages. I am really excited about the Prologue on Table Mountain because I love the atmosphere with the crowds, and the excitement and anticipation in the air. I am also looking forward to the stages in Wellington as I feel they suit my style of riding. I have always enjoyed the trails in that area.”
  5. The breathtaking forest trails at the 2017 Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Kaapsehoop. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Matthys Beukes put the Pyga Euro Steel showdown to rest when we walked away with the Kaapsehoop title. He made an early attack in the race, and managed to get a slight lead on Buys from the 35km mark. He admitted that his victory did not come easy, however: "I had to push extremely hard in those final 2km, and just managed to come out on top!" Buys, who finished in a close second place, showed nothing but pride for his teammate: “All I can say is well done to Matthys! He had a rough season last year, and he made sure to make up for everything he missed out on."The first stage of the event had all eyes on Team Pyga Euro Steel's Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes who have entered into an epic battle for the series title. A lot is at stake for the mountain biking heroes, who took their place at the Kaapsehoop start line today with less than a 200 point difference on the series standings. It was Beukes who came out on top for the first stage of the event, with Buys taking second. Beukes did not fail to live up to his climbing abilities, and was a tough competitor to beat. He tackled the day's 1600m elevation gain with ease, and widened the gap on his teammate on the final climb to the finish line. Elite male riders HB Kruger, Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Reflecting on the season, he added, "So happy with the way it has all ended. This series is important to us - it has the most diversity, prize money and represents our sponsors really well. It's also the ideal opportunity for youngsters to start smashing us elite riders, It's been awesome to see guys like Wessel Botha come out here and actually challenge us,” he added. Team BCX's HB Kruger showed incredible form in the second stage of the event, and managed to narrow the gap on the leading riders to finish less than a minute behind Buys. Rising star Wessel Botha proved to South Africa's mountain biking giants that he is a force to be reckoned with, and finished the stage with a well-deserved fourth place. It was another successful day for Dormakaba's mountain biking star Candice Lill, who walked away with the Kaapsehoop event title and a second place in the popular series. Yolandi du Toit took second and Vanessa Bell charged across the finish line to snatch the final spot on the podium. Elite lady riders Vanessa Bell, Yolandi Du Toit and Candice Lill. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Lill admitted that she was presented with more of a challenge from her female competitors than the first stage: “Yolandi went really hard at the start today, so I stayed with her for quite a while. I managed to get away on a single track that lead to a climb, and had a panic attack when I got a puncture. I sorted it out, luckily, and it felt incredible to keep my lead,” said Lill. Du Toit described the final stage to be extremely tough. "Today was more challenging for me than yesterday. Despite having better conditions, we climbed 1600m in 54km!” she said. Kaapsehoop was a race of unparalleled beauty that boasted exquisite singletrack trails through the De Kaap Valley. Sections of the race took riders through the Blue Swallow Reserve, a countryside that is characterised by rolling hills and Blue Swallows that the area is renowned for. With a clearer visibility in the final stage of the event, Beukes made sure to boast about the beauty of the trail: “We could actually see just how beautiful Kaapsehoop is today, and the trails here are just incredible. Even with all the pressure, I found myself often looking out and taking it all in,” he said. For more results visit https://www.saseeding.org/ Results Full Marathon - men1 Matthys Beukes (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 2:16:16 2 Philip Buys (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 2:17:15 3 HB Kruger (Team BCX) 2:17:35 4 Wessel Botha (Lynnwood Cyclery) 2:19:54 5 Declan Sidey (Specialized Bicycles) 2:20:06 Full Marathon - women 1 Candice Lill (Dormakaba) 2:44:45 2 Yolandi du Toit (Garmin) 2:50:01 3 Vanessa Bell (Bell's Cycling) 2:58:00 4 Dalene van der Leek 3:09:14 5 Melanie Roux 3:09:15 Overall Full marathon - Men 1 Matthys Beukes (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 4:57:29 2 Philip Buys (Team Pyga Euro Steel) 5:00:42 3 HB Kruger (Team BCX) 5:09:15 4 Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) 5:14:11 5 Shaun-Nick Bester 5:15:06 Full Marathon - Women 1 Candice Lill (Dormakaba) 5:57:46 2 Yolandi du Toit (Garmin) 6:13:55 3 Vanessa Bell (Bell's Cycling) 6:52:23 4 Dalene van der Leek 7:00:37 5 Melanie Roux 7:14:02
  6. Photo credit: Em Gatland The race within a race is a 1.3km dash for cash held in the evening after day two’s racing at the Berg & Bush Descent. Beukes winning time was four minutes, 38 seconds, while Lill charged home in a time of five minutes and 55 seconds. Riders start their engines at the entrance to famous Spionkop battle site and rev all the way into the red zone as the head for the summit. First place in the men’s and ladies race each takes home R20 000. The Volvo Spionkop Summit was first held three years ago and has proven to be popular with riders and spectators alike. The race is open to anyone in the Berg & Bush field, but the challenge is usually accepted by the elite riders - and a few enthusiastic weekend warriors - with the bulk of the field lining the Spionkop climb to support the racing. Cash per kilometre, it is probably the richest mountain bike race in South Africa and certainly one of the very few times where mountain biking fans can see the efforts of elite riders up close. Cowbells, raucous cheers and a Drakensberg backdrop dripping in golden light from the sunset make the Spionkop Summit an event to remember. Men’s winner Beukes certainly won’t forget it in a hurry. “Hard. That’s the only word to describe it,” he puffed at the top. After slightly regaining his composure from the lung-busting effort, he continued, “Hard. Hard. Hard.” In a field featuring rising star Julian Jessop, Gawie Combrinck, Nico Bell and Phil Buys, Beukes came out on top, on top, thanks to a superior warm up. Ahead of the race he went up Spionkop twice at race pace. “I went up before the race; I went hard for two minutes, relaxed for two minutes, then went really hard again for the last 40 seconds.” His warm up and subsequent race strategy proved to be a winner. With 100m to go, Beukes was lying fifth in a bunch, but he accelerated when it mattered, crossing the line first while looking over his shoulder for a tiring Bell. In the background, his ecstatic Pyga teammates were shouting prize money spending advise, “Nappies! Baby formula! More nappies.” Photo credit: Em Gatland In the ladies race, Candice Lill was the dominant force. From the halfway mark of the sprint, she was in a bunch with teammate Vera Adrian and Berg & Bush Descent race leaders, Amy Beth McDougall and Sam Sanders. By the time they reached the last twist in the road to the summit, Lill was in a class of her own, crossing the line comfortably ahead of second-placed McDougall. “The plan was always to come and win this,” said Lill. “The racing wasn’t too bad until we all saw the spectators, then the guys just went nuts and started hammering it! I did three warm up rides, so I knew exactly when to lay off and when to kick. This is tough, but it’s great to race in front of cheering people.” Race organiser Gary Green was thrilled with the turnout. “This adds something extra to our event, and I have to say, I’m so impressed with the effort that these guys put in. They are racing during the day, then they still come up here and give it their all. It’s something special and unique for the spectators too; there’s not many opportunities to watch elite riders like this, and I think this race shows everyone how strong these guys are.” Volvo Spionkop Summit resultsMen 1 Matthys Beukes (Pyga Euro Steel) 00:04:38 2 Nico Bell (NAD Pro MTB) 00:04:40 3 Phil Buys (Pyga Euro Steel) 00:04:47 Ladies 1 Candice Lill (dormakaba) 00:05:55 2 Amy Beth McDougall (Valencia Ladies) 00:06:05 3 Sam Sanders (Valencia Ladies) 00:06:08 Planning your next race? Take a look at our events calendar here.
  7. Samantha Sanders (Valencia) sets a hard pace for the elite women during stage 2 of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Dullstroom. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Despite the absence of the top two ranked riders in the prestigious series, Robyn de Groot and Amy Beth McDougall, who were both ill, it wasn’t plain sailing for Lill, who had to overcome a two-day duel with Samantha Sanders (Valencia) to secure the overall title. On Saturday’s 70.5km opening stage, Lill secured the victory with a strong performance, finishing 15th overall and three-and-a-half minutes ahead of runner-up Sanders. Yolandi du Toit (Garmin Merida) was third. On Sunday’s shorter, more technical 64.2km stage, Sanders showed her victory ambitions from the start, setting the early pace with only Lill able to stay with her. The pair eventually reached the final few hundred metres together with Sanders edging clear of Lill just before the line to secure the stage win and second overall. Du Toit was third again and confirmed her third place overall with Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) claiming fourth and fifth overall respectively. Candice Lill (dormokaba) and Samantha Sanders (Valencia) battle it out on day 2 of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Dullstroom. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za “It was a good two days of racing. Today I suffered quite a lot. I think it might be the altitude and also probably the effort from yesterday. But yes, we had such a fun race out there. It was exciting the whole way and I love that,” said Lill. “I think the two-day format it good. The first day is longer and more of an endurance challenge and the second day is shorter, faster and more intense. It’s proper racing. I like this format. It’s great that the racing is exciting without Robyn, Amy and Vera. So it’s going to be even more exciting when they return,” added Lill. “Today was basically my stage to win or lose. I went out hard and Candice and I got away. She made me work, but I wanted to win the stage and I knew all she had to do was stay with me because we had a biggish time gap between us yesterday. So I’m happy with the way I rode today. I left it all out there,” said Sanders after Sunday’s stage. “Day 1 was a grind for me, so I didn’t really appreciate the scenery much. But today was great fun. The course suited me a lot better so I actually had a lot of fun out there. The guys at Advendurance have really put on another super event. It’s always a pleasure to participate in their events,” added Sanders. Women’s podium (from the left to right) Joseph Pieterse (Ashburton Investments representative) Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) Samantha Sanders (Valencia) Candice Lill (dormakaba) Yolandi du Toit (Garmin Merida) and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za The seventh and final round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series 2017 will take place on 14 and 15 October. The venue is Kaapsehoop, near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. For more information or to enter, visit www.nationalmtbseries.com Ashburton Investments National MTB Series 2017 Round 6, Dullstroom Leading results Marathon Women Stage 1: 1 Candice Lill (RSA) Team dormakaba 3:17:01 2 Samantha Sanders (RSA) Valencia 3:20:35 3 Yolandi du Toit (RSA) Garmin Merida 3:22:40 4 Theresa Ralph (RSA) Galileo Risk 3:29:33 5 Vanessa Bell (RSA) Bells Cycling 3:31:00 6 Sarah Hill (RSA) Galileo Risk 3:32:57 7 Dalene van der Leek (RSA) 3:38:13 8 Kristen Louw (RSA) 3:51:45 9 Heila Meintjes (RSA) 3:59:23 10 Melanie Roux (RSA) 4:02:37Women Stage 2: 1 Samantha Sanders (RSA) Valencia 2:15:08 2 Candice Lill (RSA) Team dormakaba 2:15:09 3 Yolandi du Toit (RSA) Garmin Merida 2:23:30 4 Theresa Ralph (RSA) Galileo Risk 2:25:49 5 Sarah Hill (RSA) Galileo Risk 2:26:01 6 Dalene van der Leek (RSA) 2:29:08 7 Kristen Louw (RSA) 2:42:04 8 Hanli Cilliers (RSA) 2:47:30 9 Melanie Roux (RSA) 2:49:25 10 Heila Meintjes (RSA) 2:51:26 Women combined final positions: 1 Candice Lill (RSA) Team dormakaba 5:32:10 2 Samantha Sanders (RSA) Valencia 5:35:43 3 Yolandi du Toit (RSA) Garmin Merida 5:46:10 4 Theresa Ralph (RSA) Galileo Risk 5:55:22 5 Sarah Hill (RSA) Galileo Risk 5:58:58 6 Dalene van der Leek (RSA) 6:07:21 7 Kristen Louw (RSA) 6:33:49 8 Heila Meintjes (RSA) 6:50:49 9 Melanie Roux (RSA) 6:52:02 10 Hanli Cilliers (RSA) 6:54:00 Half-marathon Females combined – final positions 1 Danielle Strydom (RSA) 4:11:17 2 Frances Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 4:14:40 3 Thana Groenewald (RSA) 4:20:24 For full marathon and half-marathon results, visit www.saseeding.org
  8. Matthys Beukes (Pyga/Eurosteel) cruising through singletrack with no competition in sight, at the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series Bosman. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Both riders were dominant in their respective categories, with Beukes (Pyga/Eurosteel_ winning the men’s 62km race by more than five minutes and Lill (dormakaba) waiting for 15 minutes before the women’s runner-up was known. Both riders come from XC-racing backgrounds, which stood them in good stead on a course with a high percentage of singletrack through some of the most picturesque countryside in the country. In the men’s race, Gert Heyns was the early aggressor, charging into the lead from a small six-rider group. The pursuit of Heyns saw the front group split with only Beukes and Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) left before Woolcock slipped out and lost contact Beukes. Beukes then bridged across to Heyns and the pair set about sharing the pace to build up a firm lead by the 30km mark where Beukes upped the pace to an intensity that Heyns was unable to match. For the second half of the race, Beukes continued to increase his lead, eventually finishing in a time of 02 hours 34 minutes 56 seconds. Heyns began to tire, but managed to hold off a strong-finishing Woolcock to grab second place in 2:40:14 with Woolcock rounding off the podium in 2:41:37. Marco Joubert (Momsen Bikes) and Jurgens Uys (Giant Bikes) completed the top five respectively. “It was quite a good day. The conditions were perfect and the route was so nice. I think it’s probably one of my favourite routes I’ve ever done. Hats off to the Advendurance guys. With the recent rains, the course was super fast. I played my cards right in the first 30 kays and then took off from there,” said a satisfied Beukes. “Matthys was really strong today. I felt a bit tired all day but it wasn’t too bad. I got away in the beginning, but they caught me again. A branch went into my back wheel and I had to stop to remove it, which lost me some time. The route was nice and grippy after the rain though,” said Heyns. “It was super-fast today. The route lent itself to being very technical. Hats off to Matthys for showing good form. In the second half, I was catching Gert (Heyns) on the climbs and he was gapping me on the descents. The rain gave us more traction, but it was a bit slippery at times in some of the shaded areas,” said Woolcock, who maintains his lead in the series with one round remaining. “I am hoping to win the series. It looks like it will be a tussle between myself and Gert. It’s been a great series with some hard, high quality racing on superb routes,” added Woolcock. Candice Lill (dormakaba) using her XCO background to her advantage as she skillfully navigates the singletrack decent at the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series Bosman. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za In the women’s race, the withdrawal of South African champion, Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health), saw a weakened field leave the start line. Lill though, brimming with confidence after her strong victory at Round 5 of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series the weekend before, took an early lead, which she never relinquished. Lill set a rapid pace and looked very comfortable on the twisty singletrack finishing an impressive 16th overall and first female in a time of 3:05:42. Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab), who suffered a mechanical and missed a turn, finished a distant second in 3:20:41. Courteney Webb was third in 3:32:47. “It was quite unexpected how beautiful this route was. The singletrack is stunning and I can see there’s been a lot of work put into it. I rode a pace I thought I could maintain for 70 kays and it was fast enough to ride away from the other girls. I wouldn’t say it was easy. There was quite a lot of climbing,” smiled a delighted Lill. “I can’t say I’m not happy with second. I do have to mention that my front fork did collapse. So I had to take it a bit easier on the downhills. A wrong turn didn’t help either. But on the flipside, it’s a beautiful day and the course is phenomenal. If you love mountain biking and singletrack, this course is perfect,” said Buchacher. “It’s my first podium position overall and my best Nissan Trailseeker result so far. There was a lot climbing in the beginning and it was quite cold at the start, so it was quite hard to warm up. About 15 kays in the sun came out and the singletrack started and it was just amazing,” said Webb. In the Half-marathon, Junior Rossouw Bekker was the first male and Junior Allison Morton the first female. Elite women's podium -from left to right- Courtney Webb, Candice Lill (dormakaba), Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab). Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Elite men's podium -from left to right- Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) Matthys Beukes (Pyga/Eurosteel) Gert Hyns (Ascendis Health). Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za 2017 Nissan TrailSeeker Series, Western Cape Round 3, Bosman Family Vineyards, Wellington Leading results: Overall men 70km marathon 1 Matthys Beukes (Pyga/Eurosteel) 2:34:56 2 Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health) 2:40:14 3 Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) 2:41:37 4 Marco Joubert (Momsen Bikes) 2:43:41 5 Jurgens Uys (Giant Bikes) 2:47:11 6 Dylan Rebello (Imbuko Momsen) 2:47:12 7 Robert Hobson 2:51:53 8 Dominic Calitz 2:54:07 9 Chris Wolhuter 2:57:03 10 Nico Pfitzenmaier (dormakaba) 2:57:10 Overall women 70km marathon 1 Candice Lill (dormakaba) 3:05:42 2 Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab) 3:20:41 3 Courteney Webb 3:32:47 4 Lehane Oosthuizen 3:36:50 5 Louise Ferreira 3:39:37 6 Jeanie de Villiers 3:44:36 7 Simone van Aardt 3:47:31 8 Jana Kruger 3:47:53 9 Megan Warner 3:48:17 10 Dene Conroy-De Wet 3:49:55Overall male 40km half-marathon 1 Rossouw Bekker 1:48:16 2 Stiaan Pretorius 1:48:45 3 Thomas Hudson 1:54:54 Overall female 40km half-marathon 1 Alison Morton 2:17:49 2 Stéfke Tolmay 2:17:52 3 Milandi van Zyl 2:23:11 For full results visit www.saseeding.org
  9. Candice Lill (dormakaba) and Samantha Sanders (Valencia) Catching their breath after thrilling duel to the finish line at the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Van Gaalen. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za Lill (dormakaba) clocked a time of 3 hours 29 minutes 14 seconds when she outsprinted Samantha Sanders (Valencia) in the 70km race, which offered a test of complete mountain biking ability, including steep climbs and descents, long climbs and descents, technical sections and twisty singletrack. It is the second year in succession that Lill has won the Van Gaalen round of the prestigious series, confirming how suited the course is to her strengths. Lill comes from a XCO background and is the only South African female to have won a UCI Mountain Bike World Championships medal (Junior category bronze in 2009). Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) crossing water bridge at the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Van Gaalen. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za An off-form South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health), winner at Van Gaalen in 2015, finished third after being unable to stay in the title fight for the final 10km, leaving Sanders and Lill to a thrilling duel in the finale. Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) and Sarah Hill (LIV) completed the top-five respectively. “Before the race I checked out the finish. I knew the first person into the last corner should win. So, happy it worked out,” beamed Lill. “The ladies raced so well today. It was a hot pace from the beginning. The climbing today was tricky climbing, so it was important to be in the front. If somebody puts a foot down then you have to get off and walk. So I positioned myself well and was strong on the climbs,” explained Lill. “Robyn and Sam just kept coming back to me on some of the flat sections. At the end there was a long section of singletrack and myself and Sam managed to get away and we basically had a battle right to the line,” added Lill. “I’m so stoked. This race suits me well. I enjoy the really technical riding. I was hoping I could pull off a win. The course was very rocky and dry and the descents are tricky. You really have to keep your wits about you here, especially at the end when you’re getting fatigued. But it’s proper mountain biking. The work done of the trails is impressive. I actually had such fun,” said Lill. “I’m disappointed I didn’t win that sprint. But shew! It’s such an awesome race route. The terrain is so diverse here, so much singletrack. We had a good old tussle. Robyn, Candice and I were together at the front up until the last climb,” said Sanders. “On that last climb I put in an effort to try and get away and took a few risks on the descent. Candice and I got a gap on Robyn and stayed away until the finish. I guess I’ll just have to be happy with second. It was very rocky and dry and being smooth and staying upright was most important,” added Sanders. Aerial view of elite women, lead by Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) Candice Lill (dormakaba) Samantha Sanders (Valencia) and Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) at the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series Van Gaalen. Photo Credit: www.zcmc.co.za “Van Gaalen is always a good event. The racing was tough; I suffered. Van Gaalen is known for its rugged trails. It’s really rocky, loose, sharp rocks. You work really, really hard. It’s a route where you can’t hide. I knew coming into the race that I wasn’t in peak form, so it was just damage control and holding onto the series lead,” said De Groot, who scored enough points to maintain her overall Series lead. Round 6 of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series 2017 will take place on 2-3 September at Dullstroom in Mpumalanga. The early spring two-day event is expected to attract a large field. For more information, or to enter, visit www.nationalmtbseries.com Ashburton Investments National MTB Series 2017 Round 5, Van Gaalen Marathon Women:1 Candice Lill (dormakaba) 3:29:14 2 Samantha Sanders (Valencia) 3:29:15 3 Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) 3:30:31 4 Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) 3:42:41 5 Sarah Hill (LIV) 3:45:34 6 Adrienne Moolman 3:53:40 7 Andrea de Boer 3:56:24 8 Sanet Coetzee 3:59:33 9 Chantal du Chenne 4:05:05 10 Melanie Roux 4:05:46 Half-marathon Women: 1 Danielle Strydom 2:00:04 2 Thana Groenewald 2:03:27 3 Frances Janse van Rensburg 2:08:50 For full marathon and half-marathon results, visit www.saseeding.org
  10. Buys is all power as he leads his PYGA Euro Steel partner Matthys Beukes up a technical climb on the final stage of the 2017 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The PYGA Euro Steel duo tumbled back to third midway through the 82km final stage from Jolivet Farm to Scottburgh, after crashing and then battling with chain problems in the treacherous conditions caused by the heavy cold front that gripped the region, and victory seemed almost impossible. The Beukes and Buys, and Sanders and McDougall pairings were the men's and women's winners respectively after the opening stage of the event on Thursday. After Friday's long Queen stage was neutralized, the fast final stage from Jolivet to Scottburgh – where it is normally tough to make up significant amounts of time – was the only chance for teams to overcome the deficits after Stage 1. However, the mud – the aftermath of the heavy rain which forced the neutralization of Stage 2 – created massive drive-train issues for all riders and meant the race became a dramatic case of stop, repair and chase back for all the leading contenders. NAD Pro's Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell, who started the day in second overall, were quickly out of contention when their muddied chains choked their hopes early in the stage. They eventually took fourth on the stage and fourth overall, just ahead of TIB Insurance's Andrew Hill and Julian Jessop. Fourth after the only racing day before Saturday, Matthew Beers and Tim Hammond (Ryder RED E Spot Africa) seemed to have dodged most of the early drama and even looked to have the final stage under control as they built a solid lead midway through their journey to Scottburgh. At one point they were timed at over two minutes ahead of Team BCX, and three ahead of the PYGA duo – advantages which effectively gave them the race lead. Team dormakaba's Vera Adrian (left) and Candice Lill are muddied but happy after winning the final stage of the 2017 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh on Saturday and taking the overall win. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Waylon Woolcock and HB Kruger from Team BCX, just 53 seconds behind PYGA at the start of Stage 3, were thus in second position on the road, but when Kruger hit a rock at a river crossing and punctured, they were thrown out of contention for the win. The two former road riders managed to repair and finish third on the stage and third overall. But up front Buys, who also crashed heavily and later said he "was in pain", and Beukes fought back bravely and had all but caught the early leaders when Hammond suffered from chain suck. As Hammond stopped to clear his drive train, Buys and Beukes gratefully swept past and incredibly were able to take the stage win, and with it an overall victory by just over two minutes. "I don't know how we got back to win," said an incredulous Buys after crossing the line. Hammond and Beers remounted and sped to the finish to claim second on the stage and second overall. "It is great to defend the title that I won last year and we have been in great form this year, so the confidence was there for us and despite our challenges today we knew that we just needed to stay calm and we could win," said a muddied Beukes after the finish. "To have another sani2c title is great and I am glad that Phil and I could pull off the victory." Buys was a bit more descriptive of their dramas out on the route: "We had some serious problems today but that was going to happen if you looked at the nature of the stage. ";My chain slipped a couple of times and then I had a fall in a donga which set us back a bit. "It was far from the perfect day of mountain biking but its really satisfying that we can win in these conditions," he added. In the women's race, Lill and Adrian fought a rabbit-and-hare dice from soon after the start as they steadily built a lead over Sanders and McDougall. Midway through the stage they had enough of a lead on the stage to be leading on the road, however, just when it looked as if they had victory sorted, the Valencia pairing began to eat into their lead again – only for more mechanical problems to finally scupper their hopes. Riders carve their way through a cane field during the final stage of the 2017 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh Beach on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Eventually the dormakaba pair reached the finish four minutes ahead which was enough for a deceptively large three-minute win. "Candice and I have become such a good combination because we are both technically really good and we compliment each other," said Adrian. "We were strong today and rode really well together in some really tough conditions. It was great to win this year but it was a really tough day for the Valencia Ladies and you never want to see others have problems like that. "We were looking forward to the second stage but it was definitely the right decision to cancel to drop in the Umko and we knew we had to work really hard today." Defeat was tough to accept for Mcdougall, who is normally one of the most consistent and toughest riders in the women's races. "I had so many problems today, I am usually really good and enjoy the mud but today just wasn't my day," the dejected runner up said after the finish. "It cost us a lot of time today but that is mountain biking and I still really enjoyed riding with Sam (Sanders) and the whole race." 2016 Olympian James Reid made a quick foray away from his studies at UCT to compete for the first time in 2017 and with South African Triathlete Mari Rabie was a convincing winner in the mixed category, finishing 11 minutes ahead of Sanet and Dana Coetzee. Provisional Results (with stage time and overall time) 1.PYGA Euro Steel (Philip Buys/Matthys Beukes) 2:50:08, 5:38:04 2.Ryder RED E Spot Africa (Matthew Beers/Tim Hammond) 2:50:17, 5:40:12 3.Team BCX (Waylon Woolcock/HB Kruger) 2:54:37, 5:43:26 4.NAD Pro MTB (Gawie Combrinck/Nico Bell) 2:56:39, 5:45:19 5.Team TIB (Andrew Hill/Julian Jessop) 0 2:56:45, 5:48:28 6.William Simpson (Derrin Smith/Michael Posthumus) 0 3:05:07, 6:04:32 7.Ballito Bicycling Company (Pieter Seyffert/Andrew Johnson) 0 3:07:35, 6:04:39 8.Home Ice Cream (Matthew Stamatis/Thomas Jessop) 0 3:06:22, 6:05:20 9.Urban Fitness Outdoor (Jonathan Cloete/Nicholas Porteous) 0 3:20:51, 6:20:39 10 Time Freight eTeam (James Burne/Aiden Nugent) 3:13:57, 6:22:26Women 1.dormakaba (Candice Lill/Vera Adrian) 3:09:45, 6:18:31 2.Valencia Ladies (Samantha Sanders/Amy Mcdougall) 3:13:42, 6:21:20 3.Team Ascendis Health (Robyn de Groot/Mariska Strauss) 3:19:08, 6:37:18 Mixed Team 1.Private Client Holdings (James Reid/Mari Rabie) 3:23:47, 6:37:53 2.Omnico Team (Sanet Coetzee/Dana Coetzee) 3:27:26, 6:48:19 For more information on KAPsani2c: Info@KAPsani2c.co.za or www.sani2c.co.za
  11. RoadCover’s Kent Main ticked a significant item off his bucket list when he was crowned Bestmed Tour of Good Hope champion in a sensational finale at the Taal Monument near Paarl today. Click here to view the article
  12. In one of the tightest finishes to any road tour in South Africa, Main powered his way up the steep climb to make up a 51-second deficit on Pro Touch’s overnight leader Myles van Musschenbroek to snatch the title by a single second. RoadCover’s Kent Main claimed the biggest win of his career when he was crowned champion on the final day of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope that finished at the Taal Monument near Paarl today. Photo: Robert Ward It was an agonising outcome for the 24-year-old Van Musschenbroek, made more excruciating by a wait of about 15 minutes before the timekeepers were able to confirm the final standings. Main ultimately clocked an overall time of 8:31:22 over four stages after the penultimate stage was cancelled due to extreme winds yesterday. His teammate Eddie van Heerden completed the podium in 8:32:22. After forcing his way into overall contention with a fourth-place finish in Tuesday’s individual time-trial, Van Musschenbroek put in a desperate effort to protect his lead up the final climb, but Main’s power on the hills ultimately made the difference. Kent Main of RoadCover stops the clock after his surge up the climb to the Taal Monument near Paarl earned him victory by one second on the final day of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope near Paarl today. Photo: Robert Ward Stage honours went to Dimension Data’s defending champion Stefan de Bod after he also won Tuesday’s Buffet Olives time-trial, followed by teammate Joseph Areruya. Main took third place on the day. Afterwards, the 21-year-old Main, from Linden in Johannesburg, said he felt the first major victory of his career was a result of a more structured programme he implemented last year. “With the help of my brother I set up a plan halfway through last year aimed at training for this tour, but I always knew it would be hard to win. “I have often said to my mates this is one of my favourite races and one I always wanted to win. Now that it’s happened, I’m really happy and it will boost my career going forward.” He paid tribute to his Johannesburg rival, who fought all the way to protect his overnight lead. “Myles was able to manage everything that came his way today and his team looked after him really well. “We could not have done more to attack him and to eventually win it by one second is more than I could have hoped for.” Pro Touch’s Myles van Musschenbroek recovers after a desperate, but ultimately unsuccessful bid, to retain the yellow jersey on the final day of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope at the Taal Monument near Paarl today. Photo: Robert Ward Van Musschenbroek, who lives in Rosebank in Johannesburg and works full time, was exhausted by his final effort and said he “was seeing stars and felt dizzy” at the end. “Our team has never been in this situation so from the start it was a learning experience. But my teammates rode perfectly to control the race. “I was a bit stressed out during the stage, probably from putting pressure on myself, and I gave it absolutely everything I could on the last climb. “But Kent put up a great fight. It was fantastic for the race and he deserves the win.” Pro Touch’s Myles van Musschenbroek (back to camera) congratulates Kent Main of RoadCover after he was officially confirmed as the winner by one second on the final day of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope at the Taal Monument near Paarl today. Photo: Full Stop Communications Main also won the King of the Mountain competition, with Alfa Bodyworks’ Irish import Philip Lavery taking the points competition. Candace Lill of dormakaba claimed the women’s title by finishing fourth on the stage to comfortably protect the two-minute lead she had going into the final day. Ariane Luthi of Team Spur leads the bunch ahead of dormakaba’s Candice Lill on the final stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope from La Paris Estate to the Taal Monument near Paarl today. Photo: Robert Ward British rider Chanel Mason and Bestmed-ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer had an intense duel for the stage honours on the climb up to the Taal Monument, with Mason just outlasting her rival. Team Spur’s Ariane Luthi finished third. Lill took the title in 10:46:48, followed by Mason in 10:48:41 and Kachelhoffer in 10:49:50. The overnight leader, from Sun Valley in Cape Town, said she went into the stage with her priority being to defend the yellow jersey and that she had to contend with some attacking racing throughout the stage. “The women really gave it their all today – I know there were five seconds between third and fourth so people were fighting for the podium,” said the 25-year-old. “I think that’s great. That’s the sort of aggressive racing we want to see in women’s cycling.” Lill said the final climb had been a real test for the riders. Candice Lill of dormakaba (centre) was crowned Bestmed Tour of Good Hope women’s champion after the final stage at the Taal Monument near Paarl today. British rider Chanel Mason (right) came second and An-Li Kachelhoffer of Bestmed-ASG (left) third. Photo: Robert Ward “This climb has everyone on their limits and it’s just a matter of hanging in there until the end.” With a strong background in mountain biking, she was delighted to secure her first win in a road racing event. “I’m so happy I came out on top, but I think in a way I was quite surprised. “Obviously I’m training for the Cape Epic so I’m fit. To win a road race was a big accomplishment for me and this was a good test.” Results and general classification:Stage 5 86.7km La Paris Estate to Taal Monument, Paarl Elite men results 1 Stefan de Bod 2:03:13 2 Joseph Areruya 2:03:28 3 Kent Main 2:03:30 Elite men GC 1 Kent Main 8:31:22 2 Myles van Musschenbroek 8:31:23 3 Eddie van Heerden 8:32:22 King of the Mountains: Kent Main Elite women results 1 Chanel Mason 2:46:22 2 An-Li Kachelhoffer 2:46:23 3 Ariane Luthi 2:46:38 Elite women GC 1 Candice Lill 10:46:48 2 Chanel Mason 10:48:41 3 An-Li Kachelhoffer 10:49:50 Men 30+ GC 1 Jaco Cronje 2 Neil Timm 3 Franco Ferreira King of the Mountains: Jaco Cronje Men 40+ GC 1 Thys Oosthuizen 2 Johan Naude 3 Jamie Anderson King of the Mountains: Jamie Anderson Men 50+ GC 1 Paul Kraus 2 Douglas Burger 3 Shane Daniel King of the Mountains: Douglas Burger
  13. African continental U23 time-trial champion Stefan de Bod capitalised on his skills against the clock to seize the yellow jersey on the second stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope road cycle race at Boland Agricultural High School just outside Paarl today. Click here to view the article
  14. Dimension Data rider Stefan de Bod surged to victory in the Buffet Olives individual time-trial at the Boland Agricultural High School just outside Paarl today to claim the yellow jersey on the second stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope. Photo: Robert Ward The 20-year-old Dimension Data rider, who grew up in nearby Worcester, showed his superior speedwork to win the Buffet Olives individual time-trial in 33:15 to erase an overnight deficit of 54 seconds. Slotting into second and third respectively were RoadCover’s Willie Smit (33:59) and Dimension Data’s Nicholas Dlamini (34:43). De Bod, who provisionally heads the general classification on 2:55:08, will take a narrow overall lead into the third stage of the five-day, 490km race, which is presented by the City of Drakenstein and Scicon. Smit sits in second on 2:55:52 and Pro Touch’s Myles van Musschenbroek in third on 2:56:06 with tomorrow’s queen stage, which finishes on top of Du Toitskloof Pass, looming. Before the race, De Bod had identified the time-trial as a key part of his strategy and he was satisfied with the outcome. “I felt comfortable during the ride, but I would have liked to have gone a little bit faster,” said the defending champion. “But that is part of the game and I’m still happy with my result.” With the course reduced from 37km to 26km this year, De Bod said he knew he could go “full gas” from the start. “The route is a bit hilly but it’s fast, with long descents and nice rollers. “Being a bit shorter does make a difference because I normally start my first 10 minutes quite controlled before increasing to maximum effort. But the distance allowed me to go from the start.” Being a specialist in the discipline, De Bod said the time-trial played an important role in his tour strategy. “You always want to try to make as much time as possible on the GC contenders,” he said. “There was a bit of a wind on the road towards Paarl and then coming back there was a crosswind, which was a bit tricky with a disc wheel. “However, coming to the finish the wind helped me and I was happy with my power.” Despite her relative inexperience as a time-triallist, Dormakaba’s Candice Lill took the honours in the women’s race in 39:50 to move into the overall lead. Candice Lill, of Dormakaba, overcame a lack of experience to take the honours in the Buffet Olives individual time-trial at the Boland Agricultural High School just outside Paarl today, claiming the yellow jersey on the second stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope. Photo: Robert Ward She was followed by Namibian team-mate Vera Adrian, who clocked 41:45, with Chanel Mason of Café Riders third in 42:07. After two stages, Lill sits on an overall time of 3:40:59, followed by Adrian (3:42:54) and Mason (3:43:16). Having not done many time-trials, Lill said she had been guided through the process by her coach and husband, Darren. “He basically taught me the details of how to pace yourself and the position on the bike, so I listened to that as much as I could. “Also, I have done a lot of mountain biking where the kind of effort needed is very similar to that of a time-trial. So I knew I could do well if everything went according to plan.” The 25-year-old from Sun Valley in Cape Town said she had found the stage a bit harder than expected. “But that is what a time-trial is all about and I’m happy with my effort. “I had no real expectations going into the stage and not much idea of the other girls’ ability. All I could aim for was to put in my best effort and I managed to achieve that.” The Bestmed Tour of Good Hope finishes in Paarl on Friday. Results and general classification: Stage 226.3km individual time-trial Boland Agricultural High School, Paarl Elite men results 1 Stefan de Bod 33:15 2 Willie Smit 33:59 3 Nicholas Dlamini 34:43 Elite men GC 1 Stefan de Bod 2:55:08 2 Willie Smit 2:55:52 3 Myles van Musschenbroek 2:56:06 Elite women results 1 Candice Lill 39:50 2 Vera Adrian 41.45 3 Chanel Mason 42.07 Elite women GC 1 Candice Lill 3:40:59 2 Vera Adrian 3:42:54 3 Chanel Mason 3:43:16
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