Cape Town - Overnight leaders Andrew Hill
and Shaun-Nick Bester put the hammer down from the start to surge to stage and
overall victory on the final day of the Great Zuurberg Trek mountain-bike
race at Addo on Sunday.
team won their second stage of the three-day event at the Zuurberg Mountain
Village just outside Port Elizabeth to take the title in 8:53:46.
After a sluggish start to the
event, RSA Web's Stuart Marais and Renay Groustra placed second on Sunday's 50km stage to rise to fourth in the general
Saturday's winners, Aiden Connelly and Rogan Smart (Bike
Shop-Scott-Strocam), placed third to keep their second place in the standings
East London's Jason Peach and Jason Reed were fourth today to place third overall in 9:05:55.
The women's race was won by Ascendis Health-Spur's Ariane Luthi and Robyn de Groot, who dominated the
event from start to finish to relegate the experienced Theresa Ralph and Sarah
Hill (Galileo Risk) into a distant second.
It was the Durban-based Hill's third triumph in four years after back-to-back
titles in 2015 and 2016, while Bester, from Pretoria, was making his debut in
the tough Eastern Cape race.
The outcome represented a
remarkable comeback by Hill and Bester after a serious mechanical on Saturday
saw them lose all but two seconds of their nine-minute advantage.
really was something of a miracle because we were able to secure the bolt we
needed to fix Andrew's problem from another rider
who had also suffered a mechanical," said Bester, who
turned to mountain biking this season after a stint on the road in Europe.
that delay, we never thought we would keep our lead but we just went as hard as
we could from then on.
"Saturday's problem meant we were still stressing quite a bit
for today's stage and hoping that we would not have any further
the start, we decided just to ride as hard as possible to try to build up a
lead in case anything went wrong.
went hard on the climbs and were much less conservative on the descents."
Bester said he had enjoyed his
debut at the Great Zuurberg Trek.
routes were great, with some excellent single-track sections and today the
Hayterdale trails were really cool," he said.
can see the race organisers have put a lot of hard work into the event and I
would recommend this to anyone out there."
Luthi was also delighted with
her maiden event, especially after she had doubts about entering because of her
limited time in SA.
Although she lives in
Stellenbosch, she races in Europe during their summer and returns on Monday to
continue her preparations for the UCI MTB World Marathon Championship in Italy
was only back for two weeks, but as it turns out this was a really worthwhile
exercise and a true African experience," he said.
was the most amazing single-track today and we were able to stay in front,
keeping it steady and enjoying the stage's
She said she had a really good
connection with De Groot, a five-time national marathon champion.
"It's always better to race with someone with whom you
have so much in common. She's a champion and
has so much experience of racing in South Africa."
Silverback Bikes' defending champions Neill Ungerer and Yolande de
Villiers completed a hat-trick of stage wins to take the mixed title for a
second consecutive year in 9:21:39.
Ben Melt Swanepoel and Yolandi du Toit, followed by Nicholas Webb and Kylie
Hanekom, completed the podium.
Shaun-Nick Bester & Andrew Hill (TIB-Silverback-Best4Sport) 2:18:12
Renay Groustra & Stuart Marais (RSA Web) 2:22:51
Aidan Connelly & Rogan Smart (Bike Shop-Scott-Strocam) 2:26:29
4 Jason Peach & Jason Reed 2:27:30
5 Rila Gadabeni & Thabiso Rengane
1 Ariane Luthi & Robyn de Groot
(Ascendis Health-Spur) 2:40:17
2 Sarah Hill & Theresa Ralph
(Galileo Risk) 2:43:03
1 Neill Ungerer & Yolande de Villiers
(Silverback Bikes) 2:32:39
du Toit & Ben Melt Swanepoel (Team Garmin) 2:52:39
Webb & Kylie Hanekom 2:54:45
Willimott & Gail Willimott 2:58:25
Tait & Andrea Shirley 2:59:24
Shaun-Nick Bester & Andrew Hill (TIB-Silverback-Best4Sport) 8:53:46
2 Aidan Connelly & Rogan Smart
(Bike Shop-Scott-Strocam) 9:02:05
3 Jason Peach & Jason Reed 9:05:55
4 Renay Groustra & Stuart Marais
(RSA Web) 9:12:43
Reinhard Zellhuber & Marc Fourie (Home Ice Cream-Garrun Insurance) 9:44:50
Ariane Luthi & Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health-Spur) 9:38:04
2 Sarah Hill & Theresa Ralph
(Galileo Risk) 10:06:02
Neill Ungerer & Yolande de Villiers (Silverback Bikes) 9:21:39
2 Ben Melt Swanepoel & Yolandi du
Toit (Garmin) 10:07:33
3 Nicholas Webb & Kylie Hanekom
4 Lester Tait & Andrea Shirley
Willimott & Gail Willimott 11:56:00