Tight racing on Stage 1 of sani2c

Day 1 of the 2019 KAP sani2c dished up an exciting opening stage as DSV Pro Cycling’s Arno du Toit and Gert Heyns won a tight end-sprint to take the lead ahead of PYGA Euro Steel’s Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys.

In the women’s race dormakaba’s Sam Sanders and Robyn de Groot claimed the honours on the opening day on Thursday.

It was a frenetic day of racing as the usual suspects flew out of the blocks after the neutral zone with PYGA Euro Steel 1 and their backup team of Phillimon Sebona and Pieter du Toit, DSV Pro Cycling, NAD Pro MTB’s Matt Beers and Stuart Marais, Darkhorse Wheel’s Andrew Hill and Shaun-Nick Bester, and Imbuko Giant Pro Cycling’s Nicol Carstens and Marco Joubert setting the pace.

The DSV Pro Cycling team of Gert Heyns (right) and Arno du Toit. Photo: Gameplan Media

As the day lengthened so did the gaps with DSV, PYGA Euro Steel and NAD Pro managing to create a bit of daylight over the rest and they battled it out for line honours through the rest of the stage.

It was a tough day for Beers and Marais as they spent a lot of the second half of the stage hanging on to the leading two teams. They eventually lost contact with the group in the dice to the line and have a 19 second deficit to overturn on the final two stages.

“It was a pretty quick stage from the start but we expected the PYGA guys to race more aggressively,” Arno du Toit said after the stage win.

PYGA Euro Steel’s Matthys Beukes (left) and Phil Buys. Photo: Gameplan Media

“They were quite conservative and that worked well for us, them and the NAD Pro guys, but we are really happy to pull off the stage win in the end.”

The DSV duo finished second at 2018’s race and are itching to go one better this year. Despite not having a gap going into the ‘Queen Stage’ on Friday, they are happy with the position they are in after stage one.

“Tomorrow is a much longer stage and it will be easier to open up gaps which we are looking forward to,” Heyns said.

“This is a big event for us and we would love to win it. I have won it once before but I would love to do it with Arno!”

Du Toit added that they were in a good space after the first stage.

Two riders weave their way through the timber belt on their way from Underberg to Ixopo. Photo: Kevin Sawyer / Gameplan Media

“We are feeling pretty confident and we achieved what we wanted to do on stage one with no time gaps, but we are going to need to be positive and confident on Friday.”

Beukes and Buys are content to be in a position to push for victory on Friday in a stage that contains some more technical descending and the long Iconic Climb out the Umkomaas Valley.

“Gert and Arno were quick today and we were happy that we didn’t lose any time,” Beukes said. “Friday is a huge stage and to be neck-and-neck going into it is exciting.”

Buys missed out on the KAP sani2c in 2018 and is excited that he can be on the front and fighting it out for another title.

“It’s hard racing but it is great to be back racing at the sharp end of the sani2c! The first stage is always really fast and I think that on Friday we will start to see some more gaps opening up. It’s going to be a big one and we are looking forward to the challenge,” said Buys.

The women’s race leaders surprised themselves when they powered home to the stage win.

The dormakaba duo of Sanders and De Groot are both coming back into racing after enforced lay-offs, but they showed no rustiness as they took control out front and were able to establish a gap without too much exertion.

Matthys Beukes drives the pace on the front of the lead group along the district roads that dominate the early part of Stage 1. Photo: Gameplan Media

“We rode at a tempo within ourselves and I didn’t have any expectations when we started this morning,” Sanders said.

“We just wanted to see how the legs felt and Robs has been off the bike for six months, but she was really strong! It’s cool to have a lead but there are still two long days of racing ahead of us.”

De Groot loved being back in the thick of the action.

“I spent a lot of the day just taking it in and looking around because I missed the race last year and I really enjoyed riding with Sam today.

“I felt really good but we will find out on Friday! I am surprised how I felt and I really enjoyed myself.

Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill were the second ladies team across the line just over four minutes behind the leaders while the Bell Equipment duo of Hayley Smith and Desiree Verwey finished third.

Cycle Nation – Sandton City’s Joanna and Tilj van de Winkel were the first mixed team over the line and hold a five minute advantage over the chasing pair of Sanet Coetzee and Martin van der Westhuizen.

The second stage of the 2019 KAP sani2c takes riders 97km from Mackenzie Club to Jolivet.


Stage One (Glencairn to Mackenzie Club)

1. DSV Pro Cycling (Arno du Toit/Gert Heyns) 02:49:57
2. PYGA Euro Steel One (Matthys Beukes/Phil Buys) 02:49:58
3. NAD Pro MTB Team (Matt Beers/Stuart Marais) 02:50:17
4. PYGA Euro Steel Two (Phillimon Sebona/Pieter du Toit) 02:51:05
5. Darkhorse Wheels (Andrew Hill/Shaun-Nick Bester) 02:51:44
6. Imbuko Giant Pro Cycling (Nicol Carstens/Marco Joubert) 02:52:46
7. Team First Ascent (Luke Evans/Alexander Rohrer) 02:58:59
8. SAI COM (Andrew Mclean/Dawid Cooke) 02:59:56
9. Honey Badgers 2 (Andrew Mark Johnson/Andrew Cairns) 3:00:47
10. dormakaba Mens (Anthony Derrin Smith/Michael Posthumus) 03:01:36

1. dormakaba Women (Sam Sanders/Robyn de Groot) 03:12:54
2. Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph/Sarah Hill) 03:16:58
3. Bell Equipment (Hayley Smith/Desiree Verwey) 03:39:08
4. Team Bestmed (Kristen Louw/Danielle Strydom) 03:47:53
5. Maharg-n-Derf (Simone Jacobs/Jean Meyer) 04:05:56

1. Cycle Nation – Sandton City (Joanne and Tijl van de Winkel) 03:18:22
2. Ryder Innovation (Sanet Coetzee/Martin van der Westhuizen) 03:23:42
3. Tantigatti 1 (Callan Sexton/Fiddy gey van Pittius) 03:26:06

dormakaba’s Sam Sanders (right) and Robyn de Groot cantered home to the stage win in the women’s race on Stage 1. Photo: Kevin Sawyer / Gameplan Media