Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock (Red-E Blend) won the final stage of the DUTOIT Tankwa Trek mountain bike stage race on Sunday, but the day’s runners-up, Erik Kleinhans and James Reid (RECM), secured the overall title after three days of fiercely competitive racing in the Kouebokkeveld region of South Africa’s Western Cape province.
In the women’s race, Ascendis Health’s Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag secured a third consecutive stage victory and the overall Tankwa Trek title. In the process, they confirmed their status as genuine podium contenders at next month’s Cape Epic. Catherine Williamson (Asrin Cycling) secured another stage win and the overall title in the Solo women’s category.
The final stage over 61km was relatively short, which resulted in a higher intensity and average speed compared to Stages 1 and 2. There was a frantic scramble during the first five kilometres of gravel road by riders eager to reach the long first section of singletrack in a good position. It’s extremely difficult to overtake on singletrack, which can lead to gaps forming and critical time being gained – or lost…
In the men’s team battle, Woolcock and Lill used a climb called Heartbreak Hill, just 11km from the finish to make their move. Both strong climbers, they increased the pace up the gravel road ascent which put Reid into difficulty. Reid’s teammate, Kleinhans, enjoying the form of his life currently, seemed unaware of Reid’s detachment from the leading pack when they entered the next piece of singletrack as he kept setting a high pace at the front.
“This year’s Tankwa Trek felt a lot harder than last year’s. The standard of racing in South Africa is really high at the moment,” said Reid.
In the women’s race RECM’s Arianne Kleinhans and Cherise Stander managed to get into the first section of singletrack in front of De Groot and Stenerhag, but as the race moved onto a gravel road climb, the Ascendis Health pair took the lead, which they maintained until the finish. They clocked a time 2:31:05, two-and-a-half minutes ahead of Kleinhans and Stander, the latter finishing with a lacerated knee sustained in a crash.
For more information and full DUTOIT Tankwa Trek results, visit www.tankwatrek.co.za. For image galleries, like the Tankwa Trek page on Facebook.
DUTOIT TANKWA TREK 2015
Stage 3 – leading results:
1 Darren Lill (RSA) / Waylon Woolcock (RSA) Red-E Blend 2:14:07
Final General Classification
1 James Reid (RSA) / Erik Kleinhans (RSA) Team RECM 9:28:28