Today marked the second stage of the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen.
Riders set off from Mossel Bay on a 114km route that would lead them to the next race village at Kervel High School in George.
The stage presented a 2220m elevation gain and included brand new trails into some of the most pristine indigenous forests on this coastal belt.
With the yellow jerseys on their back, Pyga Eurosteel’s Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys completely ripped the field apart.
An elite group of 20 riders stuck together for the early stages of the race, but at around 40km’s Team Pyga EuroSteel and Team NAD MTB’s Matt Beers and Gawie Combrink gradually pulled away and were immediately engaged in a head-to-head battle.
In a true test of man and machine, the leading teams widened their gap on the rest of the field on a climb that is usually included in the infamous Attakwas Extreme event.
It seemed that victory could swing either way until 15km’s to go where Beukes and Buys executed a carefully laid tactical plan:
“I’d actually taken Philip out and showed him that section of the route, and that’s where we’d planned to make our attack. When the opportunity presented itself on the Attakwas climb though, we had to take it. It was a mental game from there knowing that’d we’d attack again later on, but we pulled it off!” said Beukes.
After an enormous effort to close the ever-widening gap, an exhausted Team NAD MTB crossed the finish line in second place.
“This is Matthys’ back garden… he knows these trails better than anybody. The race is far from over though, and there’s still a lot of work that can be done in the days ahead,” said Beers.
Team Spur Specialized’s Simon Andreassen and Alan Hatherly took some strain over the second stage.
As a Cross Country specialist, the 114km route was the longest that Andreassen had ever raced before. With a third place overall, the team will look to make up some time in tomorrow’s time trial.
Despite some stiff competition from Landrover Women in the first few kilometres of the race, Trommer and Brouwer were able to maintain a solid pace that saw them slowly pull away from the rest of the field.
By the time they crossed the finish line, they’d widened the gap on their competitors to an impressive 19 minutes.
“We were very surprised to win with such a big gap! There was no specific attack, we just found a rhythm and managed to keep it. Really enjoyed today’s route!” said Brouwer.
Taking the third spot overall was Team Garmin’s Catherine Williamson and Yolandi du Toit.