Ariane Kleinhans from Team RECM secured her second consecutive National Marathon Series victory in Rooiberg.
Rooiberg is the complete opposite from Ballito. Dry, dusty and rocky conditions accompanied by high temperatures insured a greatly contested battle for the victory. Riders were treated to giraffe, zebra and numerous wild species during the race.
Ariane Kleinhans describes the race:
“The relatively flat route made for some tactical racing. Candice Neethling, Robyn De Groot and Cherise Stander and myself got away early on. I could get a gap at some point, but Cherise and Robyn caught me on the flat and we rode together for a while. Cherise had a small tumble and dropped off the group. Robyn was exceptionally strong throughout the race. I tried very hard to drop her on occasion, but she managed to stick to the wheel for the whole race and it came down to a sprint finish. I reacted early and manage to out sprint Robyn in the last corner for the line. It is always a great feeling to win a sprint finish. Hats off to Robyn and Cherise who rode an amazing race. This was my last race in the series and now we wait to see the overall results. My focus now moves to Europe where I will be doing some XC races before returning to South Africa later in the year” – Ariane Kleinhans
Cherise Stander won the QOM at 21km and after a small crash in a loose and dusty descent managed to finish on the third step of the podium.
The mens race did not go according to plan. Nico had a mechanical early in the race and had to fight his way past the field to finish in 7th place while Erik Kleinhans missed one of the moves on a technical climb, but hung on for 5th place.