The ‘Race with Soul’ Champions were crowned in front of the Queen’s Hotel in Oudtshoorn today.
After six spectacular stages and 530 km’s in the saddle, Team Pyga Euro Steel’s Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys stormed to victory at the 10th edition of the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen.
It was a first-time win as a team for South Africa’s mountain biking giants. Buys enthused, “It feels so good to be back to racing form! I haven’t done a serious stage race in ages, and was quickly reminded of how sore the legs get from competing at this level! I’ve never won this event before – it’s all been incredible.”
Beukes, who grew up in Oudtshoorn, is a familiar favourite at the iconic event. With high-priority races like the ABSA Cape Epic coming up, he explained, “I know these trails really well. We get to encounter some tough terrain out there that put our bikes and bodies to the test. This race is really good preparation for the major events on our international racing calendar.”
The highly competitive Team Spur Specialized made it a heart-fought win for Buys and Beukes.
After his 2017 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen victory, Alan Hatherly teamed up with Denmark’s Simon Andreassen with a strong drive to defend the coveted title.
After a week of fighting tooth and nail, Hatherly, Andreassen, Beukes and Buys set off for the final 64km stage through Chandelier Game Reserve.
With the brutal Klein Karoo terrain to conquer, a puncture or mechanical could have ended the race for either team. Caution was thrown the wind, however, as they threw down the gauntlet and engaged in a head-to-head battle with the hope of forcing a mistake from their competitors.
It was Hatherly who actually crossed the finish line first, but with Beukes and Buys only seconds behind him, Pyga Euro Steel secured the victory overall.
“Having such tight competition was great! It’s really good for mountain biking as a sport in South Africa, and it forced us to push beyond what we thought we were actually capable of,” said Buys.
Taking the final spot on the podium was NAD MTB’s Matt Beers and Gawie Combrinck.
The women’s field saw an international victory from the German-Dutch pair of Cemile Trommer and Karen Brouwer.
With the pink jerseys on their back and overall lead, yet another stage win today proved that Trommer and Brouwer have forged a newly-formed formidable duo.
After her first trip to South Africa, a beaming Trommer commented on the coastal to Klein Karoo experience in the Southern Cape:
“We work so well together, and have similar strengths. This was my first trip to South Africa, and words cannot describe what an incredible experience it was. I’ve never encountered such diverse terrain in one week – not a single stage was like the other! I can honestly say it was the best stage race I have ever done.”
In second place was Team Garmin’s Yolandi du Toit and Catherine Williamson.
Despite starting the week off feeling ill, Willliamson will be happy to have finished the event strong with the added bonus of a stage win earlier this week.
Rounding out the ladies podium was Simone van Aardt and Sarita Louw from Team Faith.
Champagne flowed at the finish line as close to 500 riders celebrated the culmination of a week’s hard riding and many happy miles soaking up the uniquely South African scenes and spirit of the Cape Pioneer.