In muddy, misty, cold and windy conditions HB Kruger produced some red-hot form to win his first ever Die Burger Mountain Bike Challenge over 75km in Stellenbosch.
Some 4000 riders started the day at Eikestad Primary and rode the 15km, 30km, 42km, 50km, 60km or invitational 75km to the finish line at the Van der Stel Sports Grounds.
Krurger’s Telkom teammate Johann Rabie was second and Lourens Luus, a former winner of the race, took the last spot on the winner’s podium. Kruger’s winning time was 3 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds.
Robyn de Groot (3:44:45) won the women’s race over 75km. Carmen Buchacher and Frankie du Toit were second and third respectively.
Die Burger MTB Challenge is one of South Africa’s largest one-day mountain bike events; it is renowned for its challenging and picturesque Wineland routes. The race was also once again held in association with the Simonsberg Conservancy.
“It was tough out there, but Johann and I worked well together to make things a bit easier,” said Kruger, who along with Rabie pretty much raced the whole time on their own.
“The idea was to make it hard right from the start and get away so that we can ride together at our own pace to get safely to the finish line. I really had fun riding in these conditions with Johann and to win the race is amazing. The conditions were tough, but it was more a case of slippery sections on the route than too much mud. If I had to give the race a rating out of 10 for toughness it will get an eight.”
On her victory De Groot (Ascendis Health) said: “Today was my first race back after a nine week injury lay-off. So the plan was just to see how the body reacts and I must say it is a great race to make my comeback. The route was amazing. True mountain biking.”
Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, organisers of the 11th Die Burger MTB Challenge, said that the day went according to plan despite the conditions. “It did not rain on the day, but the rain during the week in the lead up to the event did make the routes quite slippery and added to the challenge, but we are satisfied with how it all went on the day,” added Botha.
MEN: 1. Hendre de Villiers; 2. Philip van Schalkwyk; 3. Louis Terblanche.
WOMEN: 1. Danielle Barnard; 2. Olivia Penfold; 3. Anja Lareman.
MEN: 1. WG van der Walt; 2. Eben Basson; 3. Samuel Swart.
WOMEN: 1. Liezel Guy van Pittius; 2. Sonique Louw; 3. Sarah van der Walt.
MEN: 1. Jamie Penfold; 2. Joshua de Freitas; 3. Stian Pretorius.
WOMEN: 1. Allison Morton; 2. Hanlie Cilliers; 3. Mia de Villiers.
MEN: 1. Juan Esterhuize; 2. Dylon Janos; 3. Wayne Mostert.
WOMEN: 1. Desire Strydom; 2. Jo Matterson; 3. Cathy Carstens.
MEN: 1. Robert Hobson; 2. Waldo Zevenster; 3. Lorenzo le Roux.
WOMEN: 1. Joanna Dobinson; 2. Sandy Russell; 3. Jenna Borrill.
MEN: 1. HB Kruger; 2. Johann Rabie; 3. Lourens Luus.
WOMEN: 1. Robyn de Groot; 2. Carmen Buchacher; 3. Frankie du Toit.