Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour winner, Cherise Stander, is back on form for the final stage races for the 2014 MTB season.
With Ariane Kleinhans still in Switzerland, Stander teamed up with BMC Velolife’s Candice Neethling for the Isuzu 3 Towers stage race at Mankele, just outside of Nelspruit.
Stander/ Neethling had built up a substantial lead on Stage 1 after climbing away from the other women’s teams early on. 25km into the 75km stage, the pair lost time with a mechanical and eventually finished 30 minutes down on the stage winners.
Stage 2 went to plan with Stander/Neethling making up lost time by winning the stage by 17 minutes and moving into 3rd place overall.
Sunday’s final stage was a quick 45km which meant that the pace was much higher and really intense. Stander and Neethling rode their hearts out and won the stage by 7 minutes and thereby securing the overall win by only 1 minute and 20 seconds over Yolandi du Toit (Garmin) and Samantha Saunders (Team Valencia) and Vera Adrian and Irene Steyn in third.
In the Men’s race, bridge Cape Pioneer Trek hopefuls, Erik Kleinhans and Nico Bell had an unfortunate start as Kleinhans crashed hard in a single track section, and lost over 50 minutes on stage winners James Reid and Konny Looser.
Kleinhans and Bell were unable to make up time on the GC leaders, and decided to use the remainder of the race as preparation for next week’s bridge Cape Pioneer Trek in Oudtshoorn.
Scott Factory Racing’s Phillip Buys and Matthys Beukes won the second and final stages to secure the overall classification.
Looking ahead to the bridge Cape Pioneer Trek next week, the race covers 575km with 12 000m ascent over 7 days in the Klein Karoo. The race starts in Oudtshoorn on Sunday 12, October, and finishes in Oudtshoorn the following Saturday, 18 October.
Erik and Nico will be racing in the Men’s category, with RECM teammate Lourens Luus teaming up with Fairview’s Adrian Louw. With Ariane Kleinhans still in Europe, Cherise will be racing with Isuzu 3 Towers teammate, Candice Neethling, in the Women’s category, against some strong european competition.
For more information on the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, please click here.