08 Jun, 2015

Huge cycling weekend

Robyn de Groot has taken a hat trick of SA MTB Marathon titles. Photograph by Volume Photography
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio is certainly making waves on the women's pro continental circuit. Photograph by Carli Koch/Lowvelder.

Now we know that the statement is often heard and even more often used, but it really was a huge weekend for South African cycling.

So, in no particular order, the following happened.

South Africa’s ace downhill mountain biker, Greg Minnaar caused a sensation when he won the Fort William UCI Downhill Cup on Sunday 8 June. Thanks to rain, wind and a hectic course, many of the favourites either crashed out or fumbled during a particularly gnarly forest section, but the super-experienced Pietermaritzburg-born superstar and the American Aaron Gwin managed to ride through that particular section without fuss.

Greg’s time was almost two seconds quicker than Aaron’s, however, which meant that Greg is now third on the World Cup series behind Aaron and Frenchman Lo?c Bruni. The whole “shooting match” now moves to Leogang in Austria for the next round.

“Our” golden girl Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio won the final stage of the Auensteiner Radsporttage in Germany for her team Bigla Pro Cycling Team. The race is a “mini” stage race, with time trial and road stages, and is hotly contended by all the pro Continental women’s teams.

Ashleigh, who is the current South African and African Continental road and time trial champion, was closely marked by riders from the Liv-Plantur team, attacked 55 kilometres from the end which whittled the field down to seven riders.

At the 20 kilometre-to-go mark, Ashleigh put in the final attack on a steep but short climb and was able to hold her lead over the top. During the subsequent descent, she was able to increase her lead until the finish.

Team Europecar’s Willie Smit won the PPC Kremetart Stage Race too.

Billed as the only four stage/one day stage race in South Africa, this 175 kilometre race has four stages of 53 kilometres, 48 kilometres, 52 kilometres and 22 kilometres.

Willie was joined on the podium by Bonitas Pro Cycling rider JC Nel and Team Abantu’s Morne van Niekerk.

Charlene du Preez won the elite women’s race with Lynette Burger and Heidi Dalton occupying the two other podium steps. Desray Sebregts won the sub veteran women’s race (Magdaleen van Niekerk was second and Michelle Terblanche was third).

The veteran women’s race was won by Wilma Pienaar with Louwrina Dando second and Teresa Coetzee third. Renata Joubert won the master women’s race with Annelize Hugo and Bernadine Minnaar second and third respectively.

The sub veteran men’s race was won by Richard Baxter with Stefan Oberholzer second and Pieter Avenant third. Samuel de Swart won the veteran men’s race with Conor McGrath second and Andrew Westaway third. The master men’s race was won by Jeff Botha with Anton Duvenhage and Jose Antunes taking second and third place.

And, last but certainly no less exciting, there was serious mountain biking action at Van Gaalens Cheese Factory as the 2015 Ashburton Investments National MTB Series race doubled up as the South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships on Saturday.

The elite men’s race was won by Gawie Combrink, with Nico Bell and Konny Looser occupying the second and third position respectively. The elite women’s race was won by Robyn de Groot with Yolande de Villiers second and Candice Neethling third.

Julian Jessop won the junior boys category, with Reinhard Zellhuber and Martien Venter taking second and third positions in this category. Frankie du Toit was first, Genevieve van Coller was second and Saffron Prinsloo third in the junior girls’ race.

Tiffany Keep won the youth women category with Anjenel van der Walt second and Danielle Strydom third. The youth men category was won by Pieter du Toit with Ryan Conradie taking second place.

The sub veteran “A” men’s category was won by Henry Uys with Andrew Duvenage taking second and Mike Hewan third. Sub veteran “B” category was won by Brand du Plessis with Tom Wetton taking second place and Chris Botha coming in third.

Sub veteran women’s race saw Robyn de Groot taking that category with Samantha Sanders in second and Carla van Huyssteen third. Cobus Slabbert took the grand master men’s category with Tim Lotz in second and Gerry de Boer third.

Warren Price took the veteran men’s race with Nic White in second and Johan Labuschagne third. The veteran women’s race was won by Yolandi de Villiers with Theresa Ralph in second and Diana Carolin in third.

Mike Cronje took the master men’s “A”- division race with Jacques Harmse second and Deon Hanekom third. This category’s “B”-division was won by Cobus Verster with John Parr in at second and Steven Rayner in third.

Bonny Swanepoel won the master women’s “A” category with Jo Muller second and Helen Gibbings third. Retha Theunessen won the same race’s “B” category with Ronel de Buys second and Llind du Preez in third place.

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |