It doesn’t matter how many world titles, medals or victories for Christoph Sauser a winning start to the season remains important. The Swiss Master won the 2015 Fairview Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike Challenge for the second time in three years. The race started at the Chandelier Game Farm outside Oudtshoorn and finished at Groot Brak.
Sauser’s winning time for the grueling 121km was 4 hours, 51 minutes and 59 seconds. Stefan Sahm (4:56.24) and Gert Heyns (4:59.39) joined him on the winners’ podium. There was no clear effort for a new record (4:47) and not even close to the R100 000 incentive time of 4:30. After all the rain on Friday the sun was out on race day and no mud to make life harder for the riders. “I am super-happy to win not only my second Attakwas, but to win my first race of the season. It is always good to start your season with a win. It is also nice to see how the training is going…giving yourself a check,” said Sauser.
According to Sauser, who also won in 2013, the race started very slow. That was until the front group hit the Attakwas. “From there it was just three of us – Gert, Stefan and myself. We went through it safely, but at a good tempo. Going over all the rolling hills it was just Stefan and I. It was at the last feed zone that I rode away. I was on my own for the last hour and half of the race. I still had some left in the tank after the slow start.”
Heyns won the King of the Mountains in the Attakwas.
Ariane Kleinhans won the woman’s race in a time of 5:30.58. South African marathon champion Robyn de Groot was second (5:38.12) and Jennie Stenerhag (5:55.08) took the last spot on the winners’ podium. Stenerhag was also Queen of the Mountains. She looked like the winner for awhile until mechanicals brought an end to her challenge.