The 97 kilometre second stage of the KAP sani2c lived up to its billing as the Queen Stage on Friday as PYGA Euro Steel’s Phil Buys and Matthys Beukes took control of the race with an emphatic stage win.
In teh women’s race there was also a new stage winner with Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill winning the end sprint but could not unseat dormakaba’s Robyn de Groot and Sam Sanders as the overall leaders.
With the famous Umko Drop down into the Umkomaas Valley followed by the infamous Iconic Climb, there was plenty of opportunity for attacks, and it was the PYGA Euro Steel duo who were the aggressors and they had turned a one-second deficit into a three-minute lead at the finish.
“I wasn’t feeling too great yesterday and we knew how important today was going to be so I didn’t put in too much effort on stage one,” Beukes said after their stage win. “I wanted the legs to be in good shape for today and luckily it worked out well for us in the end.”
The pace was fierce on the front for a large part of the day and Buys hoped that he and Beukes could put the others under pressure early but they had to bide their time before they stretched the chasers enough to get a gap.
“It was a tough day and we tried to hurt the guys before Iconic Climb but it wasn’t easy for us to get away at first.
“When we managed to get that gap we settled into a nice rhythm and extended the advantage a little bit and I think we have a good lead going into the last day,” Buys added.
The second stage of the sani2c is the make or break for a lot of the leading teams but with a three-minutes buffer, the PYGA Euro Steel team know that they will need to make sure they avoid any mistakes on Saturday.
“We still have to be awake and watch the other teams because three minutes can be lost very quickly if you make one mistake,” Buys stressed.
“Luckily we have Pieter (du Toit) and Philimon (Sebona) as a backup team that can look after us, but we need to keep it clean and stay with the guys right up to the finish and then decide if we want to make a move or not.”
After their stage one win the DSV Pro Cycling [air of Arno du Toit and Gert Heyns would have been confident going into the second day, however a few issues curtailed their attempts to stop the PYGA Euro Steel charge.
“Going down into the valley I slide out a bit and then had to stop further along to straighten my handle bar,” Heyns said.
“We were still in the mix with Phil and Matthys but in the climbs just before Iconic they put the pressure on and we were a bit tired. Then on the climb they were a bit too strong for us.”
Du Toit gave credit where is was due following a tough second stage.
“I was hurting today and Gert was really strong but hats off to the PYGA guys and much respect for the strength they showed today.
“Anything can happen in mountain biking but tomorrow is a really fast stage. We will definitely throw in some punches and go for it!”
Consolidating their third place overall was the NAD Pro MTB Team of Matt Beers and Stuart Marais. They makeshift teams will go into the final sprint for the coast with a deficit of almost five minutes.
The ladies race produced all the drama with the lead changing hands throughout but it was the Galileo Risk team of Ralph and Hill that had the extra juice in the tank to take an epic stage victory.
“We just thought that if we could finish with the dormakaba girls today then that would be an achievement in itself!” Hill said with a huge smile at the end.
“We had never got a stage win against such strong opposition and at a stage I thought that I was going to be the weak link but I had some fruit … thank goodness for fruit!
“It was the most exciting day of racing that I have been a part of considering how the lead changed and it came down to an end sprint which was so exciting!
“I would do it all over again! We went so hard but it was so worth it,” Hill added.
The nature of the ladies race on stage two was that it was a fight to see who was going to gain the upper hand and dormakaba were made to work hard to hold on to the Galileo Risk pair right to the finish.
“Sarah and Theresa were really strong today,” Sanders said. “They set the pace from the start and it was hard.
“I struggled a bit today. I think I was still feeling the effects of the flu so I am happy that we were able to hang on to the GC and recover for Saturday’s final stage.”
Finishing in third on the stage was the Bell Equipment team of Hayley Smith and Desiree Verwey, however they only hold an advantage of under a minute over the Bestmed Under 23 pair of Kristen Louw and Danielle Strydom.
Cycle Nation – Sandton City’s Joanna and Tilj van de Winkel consolidated their lead in the mixed race and are over seven minutes ahead of Ryder Innovation’s Sanet Coetzee and Martin van der Westhuizen.
The third and final stage of the 2019 KAP sani2c will take riders 86km from Jolivet to the Scottburgh Golf Course via the main beach.
Stage Two (Mackenzie to Jolivet)
1.PYGA Euro Steel 1 (Matthys Beukes/Phil Buys) 03:18:26
2.DSV Pro Cycling (Arno du Toit/Gert Heyns) 03:21:35
3.NAD Pro MTB Team (Matt Beers/Stuart Marais) 03:22:55
4.Imbuko Giant Pro Racing (Marco Joubert/Nicol Carstens) 03:27:37
5.PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Philimon Sebona/Pieter du Toit) 03:32:18
6.dormakaba Men’s (Mike Posthumus/Derrin Smith) 03:37:18
7.SAI COM (Andrew McLean/Dawid Cooke) 03:40:03
8.Team First Ascent (Luke Evans/Alexander Rohrer) 03:42:57
9.Honey Badgers 2 (Andrew Cairns/Andrew Mark Johnson) 03:48:50
10.White Inc. (Nic White/Sean Henderson) 03:51:36
1.Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph/Sarah Hill) 03:56:44
2.dormakaba (Sam Sanders/Robyn de Groot) 03:56:50
3.Bell Equipment (Hayley Smith/Desiree Verwey) 04:26:46
4.Team Bestmed (Kristen Louw/Danielle Strydom) 04:27:27
5.Chirpy Chicks (Nadine Nunes/Debra Thomas) 05:01:48
1.Cycle Nation – Sandton City (Joanna van de Winkel/Tijl van de Winkel) 04:04:30
2.Ryder Innovation (Sanet Coetzee/Martin van der Westhuizen) 04:11:35
3.Tantigatti 1 (Fiddy gey van Pittius/Callan Sexton) 04:15:31
1.PYGA Euro Steel 1 (Matthys Beukes/Phil Buys) 06:08:25
2.DSV Pro Cycling (Arno du Toit/Gert Heyns) 06:11:33
3.NAD Pro MTB Team (Matt Beers/Stuart Marais) 06:13:12
4.Imbuko Giant Pro Racing (Marco Joubert/Nicol Carstens) 06:20:24
5.PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Philimon Sebona/Pieter du Toit) 06:23:23
6.dormakaba Men’s (Mike Posthumus/Derrin Smith) 06:38:55
7.SAI COM (Andrew McLean/Dawid Cooke) 06:39:59
8.Team First Ascent (Luke Evans/Alexander Rohrer) 06:41:58
9.Honey Badgers 2 (Andrew Cairns/Andrew Mark Johnson) 06:49:38
10.Darkhorse Wheels insured by TIB (Andrew Hill/Shaun-Nick Bester) 06:54:02
1.dormakaba (Sam Sanders/Robyn de Groot) 07:09:44
2.Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph/Sarah Hill) 07:13:42
3.Bell Equipment (Heyley Smith/Desiree Verwey) 08:05:55
4.Team Bestmed (Kristen Louw/Danielle Strydom) 08:15:21
5.Maharag-n-derf (Jean Meyer/Simone Jacobs) 09:10:19
1.Cycle Nation – Sandton City (Joanna van de Winkel/Tijl van de Winkel) 07:22:53
2.Ryder Innovation (Sanet Coetzee/Martin van der Westhuizen) 07:35:17
3.Tantigatti 1 (Fiddy gey van Pittius/Callan Sexton) 07:41:38