Cape Town - The 2016 Ashburton Investments National MTB Series, South Africa’s National
marathon mountain biking gets underway on Saturday when a number of
international stars will line up at Meerendal Wine Estate, near Cape Town.
Germany’s four-time Absa Cape Epic winner, Karl Platt, will be joined by
Team Bulls team-mate, Tim Bohme for the 101km race, which has an accumulated
elevation of 2 200 metres, starting and finishing at Meerendal, a mountain
bike-friendly wine estate nestled in the Durbanville hills.
Other German riders in the mix are Simon Stiebjahn (German Federation) and
Manual Fumic (Cannondale), a multiple German XCO champion and world
championship medalist. Fumic is currently ranked fifth on the International
Cycling Union’s world rankings and, like most in the field, training for the
2016 Cape Epic, which will finish at the same venue in late March.
Olympian and Absa Cape Epic legend Christoph Sauser and Konny Looser, a Swiss
racer who competes regularly in South Africa, will also be on the start line on
Saturday. Looser was the runner up in the 2015 National Marathon Series and
fourth at Meerendal last year.
Erik Kleinhans, runner up at Meerendal last year, will head up the South
African charge in the men’s race. He will be eager to impress in his first
outing for new team, Topeak Ergon; and the Team USN Purefit pair of Darren Lill
and Waylon Woolcock, will be aiming to be in the hunt for a podium finish.
Other notable South Africans on the start list include Gert Heyns (SCOTT LCB
Factory Racing), the NAD team of Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck, the Telkom
pairing of Johann Rabie and HB Kruger, Matt Beers, Timothy Hammond, Dylan
Rebello (Momsen Bikes) and Adriaan Louw (Contego).
The women will race over a shorter distance, 70km, with 1317 metres of
vertical gain. But their race will be no less intense. Multiple Cape Epic
winner, Ariane Kleinhans (Team Spur), heads up the strong field. Kleinhans was
the runner up at Meerendal last year and will be out to go one place better on
Saturday as she prepares to get her national series title defence off to a
But it will be formidable challenge for the Swiss racer as the Ascendis
Health team of Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag, the South African and
Swedish national champions respectively, confirmed they’re in superb form with
a one-two finish at the Fairview Attakwas ultra-marathon a fortnight ago.
Other prominent names on the start list for the women’s race include
multiple Namibian champion, Vera Adrian, Cape Epic podium finisher, Theresa
Ralph (Galileo Risk) and multiple singlespeed world champion, Amy McDougall
“It’s great to start the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series with such
a strong field again. It confirms that the level of the events in the series
are of the highest international standard,” said Fritz Pienaar of Advendurance,
the company that organises the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series.
“Last year we were treated to a fascinating battle for first place in both
the men and women’s races and it’s likely we’ll have a similar race this year.
The course may not seem that long, but the terrain here is rough and loose and
the gradients are steep, all of which really wears the riders down. There’s
also a high percentage of singletrack, which makes it more technical than most
of the other events in the series. It’s a tough route and it will be a true
allround mountain bike test,” added Pienaar.
In addition to the ultra marathon and marathon, there is a half-marathon
over 42km with 1 108 metres of ascent, an 18km fun race and a 10km fun ride.
Online entries have closed, but line entries, with a late fee, are still
Investments National MTB Series 2016
Round 1, Meerendal Wine Estate, Durbanville, Western Cape:
Saturday, January 30, 2016:
06:00-08:30: Registration and late entries
06:15: Rider briefing
06:30: Start Ultra-marathon Pro/Elite men
06:40: Start Marathon Elite women
06:50: Start Ultra-marathon Amateur men
07:00: Start Marathon A Batch + 3 min intervals other batches
07:35: Start Half-marathon A Batch + 5 min intervals other batches
08:15: Start Fun Race A Batch + 5 min intervals other batches
09:05: Start Fun Ride