Cape Town - The first
yellow jersey of this year’s Old Mutual joBerg2c went to Johann Rabie and HB
Kruger after they outmanoeuvred Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell at the finish
line in Reitz to win the second stage today.
duo finished the windy 93km stage from Frankfort in the Free State in 3:16:41.
yesterday’s neutral stage in which the entire field received the same time,
Rabie and Kruger now top the general classification on an aggregate time of
them a two-second buffer on NAD Pro’s Combrinck and Bell, who clocked 3:16:43.
Andrew Hill and Tyronne White recorded 3:23:52 to secure third on the day and
neutral zone we came to the railway section and we knew it was quite an
important point to be in front,” said Rabie, who is targeting a third title in
stretch, Gawie and Nico paced quite hard and some of the riders started dropping
off,” said the 29-year-old from Malmesbury in the Western Cape.
looked back I saw a few teams were in difficulty so I also pushed the pace.”
surges, Rabie said the elastic snapped and they, along with Combrinck and Bell,
were able to gap the field at around the 30km mark.
we worked well together. We knew today was a fast but easier stage, so we
didn’t want to expend too much energy.
“We rode a
hard but comfortable tempo to maintain the gap on the chasers.’’
they were confident that they would have the advantage should it come down to a
pretty good. We can see that Gawie and Nico are going to be our biggest
competition – as we expected.”
He said the
next two teams seemed to be slightly off their game but warned that all was not
lost for them.
puncture or crash and make or lose 10 minutes very quickly, so it certainly
doesn’t mean that they are out of contention. But, yes, so far so good.”
who won the last two editions alongside Rabie, said the start of the stage was
tough due to the crosswinds and bumpy terrain.
it very hard until we got away.”
30-year-old from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga was not overly concerned after missing
out on the stage win.
“We knew we
would probably come second in the sprint. It is only the first day of proper
racing, so the race is not won and lost today.”
He said they
would not be sitting back and wait for the leaders to dictate proceedings.
“We are here
to race and will be looking for opportunities. There is lots of hard racing to
come and hopefully we can get a gap somewhere.
get better as the race progresses and I think there are a few stages that suit
Grant Usher and Amy McDougall drew first blood in the competitive mixed
from Johannesburg won the stage in 3:30:58 with former women’s champion
Catherine Williamson (Britain) and teammate Johan Labuschagne second in
international combination of Yuki Ikeda (Japan) and Sonya Looney (United
States) completed the podium in 3:42:33.
who can surf the bunch had a massive advantage on a day like today,” said
Usher, who placed second in the inaugural Munga.
was wide open and you were exposed in the wind, so if you missed a group or
fell out the back you lost a lot of time.”
the start was fast with the men’s teams pushing up front.
“We took it
relatively conservatively initially and then managed to catch Darren and
Candice who were falling off the back of a group.
“It was a
long hard slog for us to get up there, but definitely worth it.”
their strategy was not to have one.
want to disappoint ourselves. We wanted to see how today went. It is such early
days; one couldn’t spend too many pennies today.”
he was hesitant to call their gains a “real lead”.
“But it will
allow us to follow Johan and Catherine tomorrow and it means we won’t have to
past experience, Rabie said he had a good idea how tomorrow’s 122km stage
between Reitz and Sterkfontein Dam on the KwaZulu-Natal border would play out.
“We sort of know it is going to start getting really
hard on those sections before Mount Paul. The split usually happens there and
if you get a gap you can drive it over and into the finish."