In a quick 84km ride from Highflats that belied the freezing and windy conditions, Team NAD’s Bell and Combrinck were second behind Rabie and Kruger when they arrived at the finish line in Scottburgh, but they had done enough over the previous eight stages to ensure their victory by a convincing 12 minutes.
The Team Telkom duo of Rabie and Kruger knew they had virtually no chance of overturning the 12-minute disadvantage when they took off on the final blast to the sea, but still pushed the pace and were rewarded with their fourth stage victory, matching The NAD riders in terms of wins. However, three of those four stage wins for Telkom were close finishes with only seconds gained in time, while NAD had two days of huge time gains – eight minutes on stage six and seven minutes on stage eight – and were the deserved champions.
In the fiercely contested mixed category, Candice Neethling and Darren Lill took the lead on the penultimate stage to win what is believed to be the biggest payout for a mixed mountain bike race in the world. Lill and Neethling took the title after fighting back from two poor days early in the race. They set a fast pace from the gun on Saturday and duly won their fourth stage in a row to end up convincing winners and keep their fifth position overall in the two-person team event.
Briton Catherine Williamson and Johan Labuschagne, who suffered disastrous mechanical issues on the penultimate stage while holding a big lead, finished second on Saturday and second overall, but were left wondering what might have been.
In the men’s solo category Calvin Beneke was an easy winner as was Patsy Hime in the women’s solo race, while top ladies team of Anriette Schoeman and Samantha Sanders wrapped up their eighth stage win for a clean sweep of victories.
1 Johan Rabie and Hendrik Kruger (Team Telkom) 2.46.36
2 Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck (NAD Pro MTB) 2.46.47
3 Pieter Seyffert and Hanco Kachelhoffer (Altech Karan Beef Pro Cycling) 2.57.15
4 Dalaet Julien and Ischard Frederic (Vojomag Velochannel) 2.57.26
5 Andrew Hill and Tyronne White (Thule PYGA TIB Insurance) 2.57.48
1 Darren Lill and Candice Neethling (Dorma USN Purefit) 2.59.30
2 Amy Mcdougall and Grant Usher (Valencia Lanham-Love) 3.02.03
3 Johan Labuschagne and Catherine Williamson (The Bicycle Company Mitas) 3.02.33
4 Peter Vesel and Ivonne Kraft (MDM Team) 3.06.57
5 Sonya Looney and Yuki Ikeda (FreakShow Defeet Topeak Ergon) 3.09.17
1 Calvin Beneke 2.57.23
2 Charles McFall 2.57.24
3 Brennan Anderson 2.57.26
4 Michael Robinson 2.57.28
5 Malcolm Bruton 2.58.24
1 Samantha Sanders and Anriette Schoeman (Valencia) 3.29.47
1 Patsy Hime 3.26.44
Original source: Bell, Combrinck wrap up joBerg2C