The University of Cape Town’s men’s and women’s cycling teams had stellar days on the muddy trails of the Elgin Valley. Both claimed stage victories on Stage 2 of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage race, which doubles as the Varsity MTB. After the intermittent rain of the opening day, the largely clear skies ensured the trails were drying, on Tuesday 29 October, but conditions were still tough. Perfectly suited it seemed for the men and women from Cape Town, where their home trails snake through often similarly wet terrain on the slopes of Table Mountain.
Richard Simpson and Michael Lambrecht took the stage honours in the Varsity MTB men’s race. The pair had started the day just 35 seconds behind the Stage 1 winners, Andries Nigrini and Antonie Joubert, of the University of Pretoria. “What happened to them?” Simpson asked of Nigrini and Joubert upon crossing the finish line at Oak Valley. “They were two minutes behind us at the Peri Kromco Play Park” the UCT rider pointed out, eager to see if they had done enough to secure the race lead.
Nigrini and Joubert, it transpired, struggled in the muddy and sometimes cold weather. “It was very muddy, but a lot better than yesterday” smiled Lambrecht upon sealing the stage win. “Our legs were feeling a lot better. And despite the mud, the trails were awesome and we had a lot of fun.” Fun, it turns out, is fast, as Lambrecht and Simpson claimed the stage victory by 6 minutes and 5.3 seconds; the results see the UCT team leapfrog into first position overall, 5 minutes and 35.9 seconds up on the Tuks team.
When Nigrini and Joubert crossed the finish line it was clear, from his mud-splattered face, that Joubert had experienced a challenging day on the bike. The partner with the dirtier face is usually the rider who spent the majority of the stage on the rear wheel of his, or her, teammate. Doing so in conditions like the ones which prevailed on Stage 2 of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage is sure to leave a rider with a face mask of mud.
“Ag, we just took it a bit easier” Nigrini stated philosophically. “We are pacing ourselves. We were close to our limit today and the UCT team of Richard and Michael are great competitors and worthy winners today.” “It was a bit cold for me today” Joubert added. “As Andries said, we are taking it a little bit easier. My legs did not feel that good today. But there is still another day of racing coming, so we will see how it goes tomorrow.”
The commanding stage win by UCT puts them in the driving seat heading into the final stage of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage and Varsity MTB races. Their 5 minutes 35.9 second lead, over Tuks, is significant. Though as Robyn de Groot and Amy McDougall proved during the Chardonnay event, anything can still happen.
That is a fact that Courteney Webb and Amy Tait will have to be mindful of. After two stage wins, on the first two days of the Varsity MTB event, the UCT women have a 17 minute and 7.3 second general classification lead. “Today was awesome” Tait began her explanation of how they wrapped-up the Stage 2 victory. “We went a bit hard in the beginning and were chased by the Maties team for quite a while. But eventually, we managed to get a gap and managed to keep it consistent, like we did yesterday, again. The trails were really nice too; not as muddy as I expected” she smiled.
The Maties women’s team, of Catherine Pellow-Jarman and Susan Kruger, crossed the line in second, for the second day in a row. Pellow-Jarman and Kruger are thus one position better off than their male counterparts, Michael Sutton and Morné Hollander. The University of Pretoria women, Tanya Kotze and Michelle Benson are third on the Varsity MTB women’s general classification heading into the final day of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event.
Results: Varsity MTB within the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage
Men’s Stage 2 Results:
- UCT Men: Richard Simpson & Michael Lambrecht (02:54:54.7)
- Tuks Manne: Andries Nigrini & Antonie Joubert (03:01:00.0 | +06:05.3)
- Maties Men: Michael Sutton & Morné Hollander (03:24:06.8 | +29:12.1)
Women Stage 2 Results:
- UCT Women: Courteney Webb & Amy Tait (03:45:35.1)
- Maties Ladies: Catherine Pellow-Jarman & Susan Kruger (03:51:11.0 | +05:35.9)
- Tuks Ladies: Tanya Kotze & Michelle Benson (04:04:14.5 | +18:39.4)
Men’s General Classification after Stage 2:
- UCT Men: Richard Simpson & Michael Lambrecht (05:44:33.4)
- Tuks Manne: Andries Nigrini & Antonie Joubert (05:50:03.4 | +05:30.0)
- Maties Men: Michael Sutton & Morné Hollander (06:36:23.0 | +51:49.6)
Women’s General Classification after Stage 2:
- UCT Women: Courteney Webb & Amy Tait (07:26:49.9)
- Maties Ladies: Catherine Pellow-Jarman & Susan Kruger (07:43:53.2 | +17:07.3)
- Tuks Ladies: Tanya Kotze & Michelle Benson (08:07:41.2 | +40:55.3)
For the full results from the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage race please visit www.wines2whales.com.