This past weekend saw me taking part in my first MTN marathon event. Wellington, hosting round 5 of the series, is mountain biking heaven and its been one race I have always wanted to do. The 110km Ultra marathon is the big daddy, but after examining the route map and profile I decided to do the more fun looking 75km marathon.
Cape Argus champion Anriëtte Schoeman will make her first foray into serious mountain biking at the world’s largest fully serviced stage race, the 251km Nedbank sani2c, in KwaZulu-Natal from Thursday.
The seven-time Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour winner and eight-time national road champion will take on the three-day race from Underberg to Scottburgh alongside another converted dirt roadie Gary Marescia.
It is with great enthusiasm and pride that the organizers of the Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Adventure and Race welcome First National Bank (FNB) as the new title sponsor of these much loved events.
According to Michael Meyer, W2W Director, the W2W MTB events are sure to continue growing in popularity with First National Bank onboard as the title sponsor. “The FNB Wines2Whales celebrates its 5th anniversary this year. The second largest mountain biking stage race in the country, entries for the FNB W2W MTB Adventure and Race have sold out in record times for the past three years. We are excited and look forward to continuing this trend with First National Bank as our title sponsor,” says Meyer.
For the first time ever the UCI MTB & Trials World Championships, to be held in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September, will be preceded by the UCI Masters MTB World Championships, presenting local masters age-group riders with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try and win the coveted UCI rainbow stripes in their own backyard.
While much of the focus will be on these star studded elite line-ups, hundreds of MTB enthusiasts from dozens of countries around the world will descend upon the same host venue, the Cascades MTB Park, a week before the elite competition commences, to battle it out for top honours in their respective age group categories in the UCI Masters MTB World Championships from 21-25 August.
Max Knox (Specialized/EAI Solutions) won the UCI World Series event at the MTN Clarens National Ultra Marathon MTB event over 100km. The race was the fourth event in the MTN National MTB Series driven by Nissan and part of the UCI World Marathon Series, which consists of 15 races around the globe.
Nico Bell (Westvaal/Bell’s Cycles) finished second with Germany’s Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls) third.
Sahm, a three-time winner of the Absa Cape Epic, is now leading the UCI World series with Bell second overall in the MTN National MTB Series.
Former champion Neil MacDonald, riding with new partner Brandon Stewart, notched up his second overall victory in the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race at Scottburgh on Saturday.
The FedGroup-Itec riders completed the 910km journey from Heidelberg in Gauteng to the KwaZulu-Natal south coast in 34:11:05, taking four stage wins in the process.
Lady Luck smiled on race leaders Neil MacDonald and Brandon Stewart as mechanical problems beset their nearest challengers on the penultimate stage of the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.
After a rocky start at MacKenzie Club near Ixopo, the FedGroup-Itec riders overcame a number of obstacles on the 102km stage, which included a much-anticipated technical descent into the Umkomaas River Valley.
They cruised alone into the finish at Jolivet Farm in the Highflats region in 4:06:51 (31:08:21) to claim their fourth stage win and consolidate their overnight lead.
Day seven proved to be the lucky number for Louis-Bresler Knipe and Kevin van Hoovels when they took their second stage win in the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.
The Contego riders, who are both cross-country specialists, came to the fore on a fast and technical 78km stage from Hazeldene farm near Underberg to MacKenzie Club in the vicinity of Ixopo.
They outsprinted race leaders Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald of FedGroup-Itec to take a four-second victory in 2:59:15, with RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus a further second off the pace.