SA pair win Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek

28 October 2013

Team RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Erik Kleinhans secured a South African victory in the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek in rain-drenched Oudtshoorn on Saturday, with the women’s title going to the Team RE:CM Davinci combination of Denmark’s Annika Langvad and Switzerlands’s Ariane Kleinhans.

“It’s been a dramatic and challenging fifth edition of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, but a watershed edition for sure,” Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management, the race’s co-founder, said in a statement on the weekend.

“The racing was the most exciting we’ve seen yet and a great precursor to the 2014 event, which will have official UCI race grading.”

Final stage

Asrin Cycling’s James Reid (RSA) and Jens Schuermans (Bel) won the final stage of the seven-day international mountain bike stage race from George to Oudtshoorn, which was shortened to 68km due to flooding in some areas.

They outsprinted SCOTT Factory Racing’s Philip Buys (RSA) and Matthys Beukes (RSA) to secure their third stage win of the event, while third place on the stage went to EAI Cycling’s Hanco Kachelhoffer (RSA) and Johann Rabie (RSA).

Woolcock and Kleinhans finished fourth, 54 seconds behind the winners but with their overall lead firmly secure. They ended up beating runners-up Buys and Beukes by almost 10 minutes, with FedGroup Itec’s Brandon Stewart (RSA) and Konny Looser (Sui) completing the podium.

Women’s race

In the women’s race, Langvad, the Danish marathon champion, and Kleinhans, the Swiss marathon champion, confirmed their complete dominance of the event when they claimed their seventh stage win. They beat Wheeler BMC’s Esther Suss (Sui) and Jane Nuessli (GBR) by more than an hour and 35 minutes in the general classification, with defending champions, Klein Karoo Chicks’ Yolande Speedy (RSA) and Yolande de Villiers (RSA), taking third place overall.

“We knew some teams were going to go hard for the stage win and that Philip and Matthys wanted to attack our overall lead, so we really had to make sure we kept them in our sights and kept our risk of crashing or mechanicals as low as possible,” Erik Kleinhans said after securing the overall victory.

“This was probably the toughest week of my bike racing life. The tougher stages were on the four good weather days and the easier stages were made tough by the rain and mud!

‘A great feeling’

“It’s a great feeling to win here again. We had some really strong competition, which makes the win even more special,” added Kleinhans, who won the inaugural edition with Jonny Kritzinger in 2009 and the mixed division with his wife Ariane in 2011.

“It’s a great feeling to win what has been a really tough race. Annika was an amazing partner and so strong throughout,” said Ariane Kleinhans.

“The women’s field was stronger than ever before this year and we never once were able to let our guard down. It’s great to see this women’s category growing in depth and I’m sure this growth will continue in the future.”

Mixed category

Cube Nutswerk MTB’s Birgit Lavrijssen (Ned) and Marco Minnaard (Ned) grabbed their fourth stage win and the overall title in the mixed category on Saturday.

They fought a race-long battle with Asrin Cycling 3’s 2012 winners, Jennie Stenerhag (Swe) and Craig Gerber (RSA), who finished as 2013 runners-up. Third place went to Asrin Cycling 2’s Nizaam Esa (RSA) and Catherine Williamson (GBR).

The veteran division title also went to the Netherlands. The Cube Nutswerk 2 team of Micha de Vries and Rik van den Hanenberg finished second on Saturday to Klein Karoo Vets’ Wynand Mulder (RSA) and Gerrie Beukes (RSA), but the Dutchmen had done enough on the previous six stages to capture the overall title ahead of Mulder and Beukes. Cannondale Blend Vets’ Martin Epstein (RSA) and Stefano Madies (RSA) were third overall.

Masters’ category

Wilde 3’s Izak Visagie and Lieb Loots dominated the masters’ category. The South Africans won all but Saturday’s final stage, finishing second to Brug Meesters’ Charles Nienaber (RSA) and Ergee du Toit (RSA). Loots and Visagie’s overall winning margin more than two hours ahead of Stone Hammer’s Malcolm Dods (GBR) and Zbigniew Wizner (Swe), with Nienaber and Du Toit rounding out the final overall podium.

South African Darren Lill won his third stage in the solo men’s division on Saturday, but Adriaan Louw (RSA), the winner of the other four stages, claimed the overall title.

In the solo women’s category, Dalene van der Leek won Saturday’s stage but ended up as the overall runner-up behind Germany’s Bettina Uhlig, who captured five stage wins in total.