Himeville – The RECM duo of Ariane Kleinhans and Cherise Stander will be teaming up for the iconic Nedbank sani2c hoping to erase their disappointment at not being able to contest the event last year with a serious women’s title challenge.
Despite four mixed team titles under her belt already, Kleinhans is passionate about contributing to the women’s racing scene and is relishing the taking on this year’s task with Stander.
“Cherise (Stander) and I were meant to do sani2c together last year but she wasn’t well just before the race and so at the last minute we had to make an alternate plan and ended up riding with Lourens (Luus),” explains Kleinhans.
“Having another lady on the [RECM] team this year though makes the decision to ride in the women’s race that much easier though and I’m looking forward to the challenge!
“I love supporting women’s cycling and am passionate about doing my little bit to help contribute to the strength of women’s racing wherever possible so hopefully Cherise and I can be part of a really strong women’s race at sani2c!” she adds.
The pair have not raced together much in the past however Kleinhans’ success with RECM Specialized team mate Annika Langvad at the recent Absa Cape Epic gives the pair a solid foundation ahead of their upcoming KwaZulu-Natal assignment.
“We competed together at Tankwa Trek in February and it will be a huge privilege and an amazing experience to spend three days in the saddle with Ariane (Kleinhans) again at sani2c,” says Stander.
“I know I’ll be on the limit throughout those three days but with Ariane’s help, I’m sure we’ll go well.”
The pair have experienced contrasting yet similar build up campaigns thus far as Stander overcomes a lacerated knee, amongst other troubles, while Kleinhans steadily gets herself back to peak fitness after the battering her body took during the demanding Cape Epic.
“I’ve had a few injuries recently and now I’m a bit sick,” explains Stander. “I’m taking it race by race though and sani2c is a big race for me, one of my majors for the year, so I definitely want to do well there.”
“For me it has been about not doing too many hours and more about getting the intensity up again since Epic,” adds Kleinhans.
“sani2c will be my last race before I head over for the European and World Champs though so it is stepping stone towards those and it would be great to do well there before I go.
“Although a lot comes down to luck on the day, we’re definitely going there to try win, that’s for sure!”
Over and above being in the running to challenge for the women’s title, Stander will draw extra motivation from the added meaning the race has to her having spent some of her most memorable years on KZN’s South Coast prior to the tragic passing of her husband and South African mountain biking legend, Burry Stander.
“sani2c is an amazing race! It was the second stage race I ever did and it is one of the main races I look forward to each year.
“It is a race that has always been very close to my heart and it was definitely one of Burry’s favourites too.
“I did the race with Burry’s brother two weeks before our wedding and so it is a race that comes with a lot of very special memories for me and I’m really looking forward to doing it again this year!”
The 11th edition of the Nedbank sani2c’s gets underway when the Trail event takes place from 12-14 May 2015. The Adventure then unfolds from 13-15 May before the cream of the the country’s top mountain bikers do battle during the Race from 14-16 May. More information can be found at www.sani2c.co.za