De Groot Sprints & Beers Cruises to Victory on Stage 2 of the Knysna Bull

Robyn de Groot outsprinted Anne Terpstra to claim victory on Stage 2. Photo by Seamus Allardice.

Matt Beers claimed his third successive stage victory at the 2020 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, on Friday. The women’s race reached a far more exciting conclusion on Stage 2, than the men’s, when Robyn de Groot edged out Anne Terpstra in a sprint finish. In the Young Bull men’s and women’s competitions Tristan Nortje and Danielle Strydom extended their leads, after a day of singletrack fun in the Cainbrogie and Harkerville trails.

The 53-kilometre-long stage started at SAN Parks’ Harkerville Forest Station. With forest and coastal singletracks on the cards from early on there was once again a sprint for the first singletrack. This time it was Nortje who made the racing to ensure he led into the trails.

With the intension of shaking off his nearest rival, Henry Liebenberg as soon as possible the 18-year-old Imbuko Giant pushed the tempo for the first 15 kilometres. On a kick out of Cainbrogie and back into Harkerville Nortje’s efforts distanced Liebenberg, leaving the Imbuko Giant rider alone at the front with NAD Pro MTB’s Beers.

The pair rode the next 15 kilometres together, until Beers began to distance Nortje. “On a bumpy singletrack I just couldn’t stay with Matt [Beers]” Nortje explained. “Tristan is very light” Beers elaborated. “He doesn’t have the weight to put power down on really uneven terrain. His rear wheel just bounces around. I’d noticed that he had struggled on singletrack climbs like that, earlier in the day, so I put in an attack to distance him on the last indigenous forest climb.”

“I had planned on attacking on the climb to Pezula,” Beers revealed. “But when Pax [Mosterd] explained that the finish would be at the top of that climb I knew I had to attack earlier in the stage.” Beers’ third stage win, in three days, puts him in a near unassailable position atop the general classification. The NAD Pro MTB rider leads Justin Tuck by 23 minutes and 34 seconds going into the final stage.

Beers’ time on Stage 2 was an impressive 1 hour, 55 minutes and 25 seconds. Justin Tuck held off his Gear Change business partner, David George, to take second on the stage; in the men’s category. Nortje and his Young Bull rival, Liebenberg, finished ahead of Tuck and George, taking second and third overall on the stage. They hold the top two positions in the U23 men’s competition. The Imbuko Giant rider extended his lead to 10 minutes and 50 seconds, over the young man in the Absolute Motion colours.

In the women’s race the stage went to the line after a group of four riders had contested much of the stage. Amy McDougall and De Groot, of dormakaba, had gone head-to-head with Ghost Factory Racing’s Terpstra and Barbara Benko. “It was great to have Amy [McDougall] with me for most of the stage today” De Groot commented after sprinting to victory. “I’m sure Anne [Terpstra] felt the same about having Barbara [Benko] there too. It was just a pity Amy dropped her chain in the closing kilometres.”

De Groot and Terpstra had managed to distance Benko half way up the final climb. It then came down to a sprint between the Dutch and South African cyclists, with De Groot edging Terpstra out by a couple of tenths of a second. They shared a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 52 seconds for the stage. Which means that the general classification gap remains effectively unchanged, at 2 minutes and 28 seconds.

The Young Bull women’s race Danielle Strydom extended her category advantage with another strong performance. Frances Janse van Rensburg was, for the second day in a row, Strydom’s closest rival. The Absolute Motion rider could again not quite match Strydom as the race entered its second hour. “It’s my first stage race and my first year as a Under 23” Janse van Rensburg revealed. “I’m loving it, especially because there are so many of us, all good friends, here from Absolute Motion. It’s like a holiday. The racing is tough though.”

Strydom’s winning time for the stage was 2 hours, 23 minutes and 15 seconds. That was enough to hand her the stage honours by 3 minutes and 31 seconds over Janse van Rensburg. The Trek Bicycles rider goes into the final stage with an 8 minute and 43 second advantage.

The final stage of the 2020 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, starts at Eden Brook. It is 52-kilometres long and features 1 350 metres of climbing, concluding with another hill-top finish on the infamous Simola climb. Mountain biking fans can follow the action live on the event’s Twitter, @knysnabull, and Instagram, @knysnabull, handles from 08:00 on Saturday morning.

After the racing concludes the event will wrap up with a finishers’ function, at 19:00, in the Knysna Waterfront race village. There the R100 000 prize cheques will be handed over to the men’s and women’s race winners; as well as the prize money to the top 5 Young Bull men and women. For the non-competitive riders the change to win a Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 is the primary lure of prize giving. Two Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, riders’ names will be drawn from a hat. Then they will go head-to-head in a titanic game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The winner of which will ride away with the bike, thanks to Rush Sports.

Results | Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia:

Stage 2 | Men’s:

  1. Matt Beers, NAD Pro MTB (1:55:25)
  2. Justin Tuck, Gear Change (2:05:34 | +10:09)
  3. David George, Gear Change (2:05:36 | +10:11)

Stage 2 | Women’s:

  1. Robyn de Groot, dormakaba (2:12:52)
  2. Anne Terpstra, Ghost Factory Racing (2:12:52 | +00:00)
  3. Barbra Benko, Ghost Factory Racing (2:13:43 | +00:51)

Stage 2 | Young Bull Men:

  1. Tristan Nortje, Imbuko Giant (1:59:57)
  2. Henry Liebenberg, Absolute Motion (2:04:38 | +04:41)
  3. Wessel Reelinghuys, dormakaba (2:05:15 | +05:18)

Stage 2 | Young Bull Women:

  1. Danielle Strydom, Trek Bicycles (2:23:15)
  2. Frances Janse van Rensburg (2:26:46 | +03:31)
  3. Courteney Webb, LinAqua (2:36:11 | +09:56)

For the full results please visit www.knysnabull.bike.