After some exciting racing on the final day in both the men’s and women’s categories at the KAP sani2c, it was the overnight leaders, the PYGA Euro Steel duo of Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys and dormakaba’s Sam Sanders and Robyn de Groot, who wrapped up their respective titles on Saturday.
With a large three-minute lead in the men’s race at the start of the final day, the PYGA pair of Buys and Beukes held all the cards over the chasing DSV Pro Cycling team of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit. The third stage dished up the drama with the DSV team falling off the lead group which opened the door for NAD Pro MTB’s Matt Beers and Stuart Marais to push for second spot on the general classification.
However, there was a new stage winners with the second PYGA Euro Steel team of Pieter du Toit and Philimon Sebona stealing the limelight and winning the end sprint to take a deserved stage crown.
With another strong day in the saddle, NAD Pro’s Beers and Marais claimed second on the stage and did enough to take the second step of the overall podium.
After working hard to gain the advantage on the second stage, Beukes and Buys knew they just had to maintain a good pace and not lose time to the DSV pair and victory would be theirs, so they were happy to allow the backup team to claim the state honours.
“It was a challenging few days and (Friday) was the make or break stage so it was quite hard, but things went well for us and we could just sit on the wheel today,” Beukes said after the stage. “It’s great to come away from this with the win and I think that we planned our ride really well and that worked out perfectly for us.”
Illness meant Buys did not ride on 2018, so to bounce back to the top step of the podium was a great feeling for the former top ranked South African.
“In 2017 it was flat-out racing all the way to the finish and we had some issues, so this year was a lot easier for us,” Buys said. “We are really happy with how the week panned out for us.”
It was a brilliant showing from the young duo of Sebona and Du Toit who came through a tough uphill end sprint to take the stage honours and give PYGA Euro Steel two wins from the three stages, albeit with different teams.
Sebona was thrilled with the result and appreciates the team work that PYGA Euro Steel put in to each and every race.
“We gave our best throughout and stayed positive the whole way through the race and to have guys like Matthys and Phil in the team make me a better rider.
“We look up to them and they are a huge help in our development as riders,” Sebona said.
The women’s race was enthralling throughout with both the last two stages ending in sprint finishes.
The Galileo Risk pair of Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill just grabbed the final stage win to make it two stage wins from three, but they were always going to struggle to overcome the significant time difference on GC after conceding four minutes on the opening stage.
Speaking after the stage, dormakaba’s Robyn de Groot was happy to be racing and is appreciative at how strong ladies racing is in South Africa.
“The level of women’s racing in South Africa at the moment is awesome and from a mountain biking perspective I don’t think that it has ever been this high,” she said.
“It’s so exciting and it also increases the attention for women’s racing and that justifies our push for equality and justifies the effort we put in and the support from sponsors.”
With the less than ideal build up, Sanders and De Groot were relaxed going into the race and to get themselves on the top step of the podium was a huge bonus.
“We just wanted to see how we went really and to get the win is really special,” said Sanders. “Robs is an incredible athlete and I love riding my bike, so irrespective of the situation we are both going to race full taps and that is what we did!”
There was another exciting race in the women’s overall standings with Bell Equipment’s Hayley Smith and Desiree Verwey taking on Team Bestmed’s Kristen Louw and Danielle Strydom for third position.
Saturday’s stage seemed a bridge to far for the Under 23 Bestmed team and that opened the door for Smith and Verwey to take the last spot on the podium.
Joanna and Tijl van de Winkel made it three wins from three when they won the stage for the mixed category. The rest of the mixed category followed the same pattern as Ryder Innovations’ Sanet Coetzee and Martin van der Westhuizen finished second for the third time and Tantigatti 1’s Fiddy gey van Pittius and Callan Sexton took third for the third successive day.
Stage Three (Jolivet to Scottburgh)
1.PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Philimon Sebona/Pieter du Toit) 02:39:55
2.NAD Pro MTB Team (Matt Beers/Stuart Marais) 02:39:57
3.PYGA Euro Steel 1 (Matthys Beukes/Phil Buys) 02:40:19
4.DSV Pro Cycling (Arno du Toit/Gert Heyns) 02:45:09
5.dormakaba Men’s (Mike Posthumus/Derrin Smith) 02:53:01
6.Team First Ascent (Luke Evans/Alexander Rohrer) 02:54:10
7.Imbuko Giant Pro Racing (Marco Joubert/Nicol Carstens) 02:54:32
8.Honey Badgers 2 (Andrew Cairns/Andrew Mark Johnson) 02:57:23
9.SAI COM (Andrew McLean/Dawid Cooke) 02:57:31
10.dormakaba Instect-Science (CP van Wyk/Matthew Stamatis) 02:57:38
1.Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph/Sarah Hill) 03:04:10
2.dormakaba (Sam Sanders/Robyn de Groot) 03:04:11
3.Bell Equipment (Heyley Smith/Desiree Verwey) 03:22:01
4.Team Bestmed (Kristen Louw/Danielle Strydom) 03:31:01
5.Maharag-n-derf (Jean Meyer/Simone Jacobs) 03:45:38
1.Cycle Nation – Sandton City (Joanna and Tijl van de Winkel) 03:14:56
2.Ryder Innovation (Sanet Coetzee/Martin van der Westhuizen) 03:16:13
3.Tantigatti 1 (Fiddy gey van Pittius/Callan Sexton) 03:16:49
1.PYGA Euro Steel 1 (Matthys Beukes/Phil Buys) 08:48:44
2.NAD Pro MTB Team (Matt Beers/Stuart Marais) 08:53:09
3.DSV Pro Cycling (Arno du Toit/Gert Heyns) 08:56:42
4.PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Philimon Sebona/Pieter du Toit) 09:03:18
5.Imbuko Giant Pro Racing (Marco Joubert/Nicol Carstens) 09:14:56
6.dormakaba Men’s (Mike Posthumus/Derrin Smith) 09:31:57
7.Team First Ascent (Luke Evans/Alexander Rohrer) 09:36:08
8.SAI COM (Andrew McLean/Dawid Cooke) 09:37:31
9.Honey Badgers 2 (Andrew Cairns/Andrew Mark Johnson) 09:47:01
10.dormakaba Instect-Science (CP van Wyk/Matthew Stamatis) 09:56:54
1.dormakaba (Sam Sanders/Robyn de Groot) 10:13:55
2.Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph/Sarah Hill) 10:17:53
3.Bell Equipment (Heyley Smith/Desiree Verwey) 11:27:56
4.Team Bestmed (Kristen Louw/Danielle Strydom) 11:46:22
5.Maharag-n-derf (Jean Meyer/Simone Jacobs) 12:55:58
1.Cycle Nation – Sandton City (Joanna and Tijl van de Winkel) 10:37:49
2.Ryder Innovation (Sanet Coetzee/Martin van der Westhuizen) 10:51:31
3.Tantigatti 1 (Fiddy gey van Pittius/Callan Sexton) 10:58:28