The 2020 KAP sani2c got off to an exciting start with unexpected cool weather and muddy conditions. It was a Stage 1 win for the DSV Pro Cycling pair of Arno du Toit and Gert Heyns in a time of 03:01:07 for the 84km leg from Underberg to Mackenzie Club; and dormakaba’s Amy McDougall and Robyn de Groot were first in the women’s race with 03:26:22.
PYGA Euro Steel’s Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys were over 4 minutes behind team DSV in a time of 03:04:24. The 22 year old Henry Liebenberg took the first solo rider category finishing with the PYGA Euro Steel duo (03:05:25). The third team in was Insect Science’s Brendan van Eeden and Keagan Bontekoning (03:09:45)
Gert Heyns leads Phil Buys through some early singletrack during Stage 1 of the KAP sani2c. | Photo: Anthony Grote
DSV’s Du Toit: “About 5kms before the floating bridges at the first main climb of the day, we made it quite hard up there just testing everyone out, we thought they [PYGA Euro Steel] would be the main competition. From there on we could use our technical skills to our advantage – Sani is not known as a technical race but the mud made it hardcore technical which really suits us. I just followed Gert, he is probably the best line-reader in South Africa.”
Heyns: “The slippery conditions made it a bit more exciting actually, all the trails had pretty good grip for how wet it is. It was more of a mess on the open roads and all the puddles, but we managed to power through them and it looks like we have a good gap.”
Matthys Beukes: “The weather conditions were actually perfect. It was smooth riding, there was no dust, its usually winter time and dry and dusty. I struggled to go into the red zone on the first climb and from there on we were just chasing. Arno and Gert were too strong, we did what we could to manage the losses.”
Phil Buys: “It was a tough first day, tougher than usual. Arno and Gert had us under pressure from early on so it was difficult to keep it cool and reel in the time.
We missed one turn about 15-20 kms to to the end, we did not lose too much time but it added more pressure. Tomorrow we will have to make up time, it is probably the only day we can make up a lot of time, so we just need to keep it cool and make the right calls tomorrow.”
The young Insect Science team take the Young Guns (Under-23) category win and were very pleased with their third place overall.
Bontekoning: “Very happy to be in third place. The beginning was very chilled, then it split up to about five teams, then after the first water bridge, on the climb they really started attacking and DSV got away. We rode with PYGA the whole day, they got away at a few places and then on this last climb they got a gap on us.”
Van Eeden: “We worked well as a team, managed our effort and looking forward to tomorrow.”
The dormakaba women powered through to the finish and were very happy to get the Stage 1 win, with a nearly five minute gap between them and the second women’s team in, Galileo Risk Infiniti’s Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph (03:31:14).
Robyn de Groot cracks a smile as she leads dormakaba teammate, Amy Beth McDougall, up a climb on their way to winning Stage 1 of the 2020 KAP sani2c. | Photo: Anthony Grote
The Absolute Demacon team of Kim le Court and Frances Janse van Rensburg were third in a time of 03:36:58.
McDougall: “We had an awesome ride out there, lovely singletrack and awesome trails, it’s always good to take the win. We were all together until the floating bridge; we kept it steady and got a gap from there.”
De Groot: “Definitely a tough day in the saddle but a fantastic day. It started off dry and as we hit the track it got wetter and wetter out there.”
She said about the gap between them and Galileo Risk Infiniti: “You definitely need to claim what you can especially on a day like today where the weather conditions were perfect. The forecast doesn’t look good for tomorrow, and if it does rain it will be a tough day.”
Sarah Hill: “We are so muddy right now. We all stuck together for the first quarter of the race. As we started climbing the dormakaba girls put in a nice little attack. We tried to keep them in sight, but we need to remember that we are riding for three days and we can’t burn all our matches. That is where Theresa’s pacing is incredible. I feel that we raced better on this first day than last year’s first day despite the conditions. We came in second and we are still waiting for third to come in, so it’s a really good day for us.”
Ralph: “They [dormakaba] are very strong at the moment, we are forever on their heels. It’s phenomenal to have this class of riders, and us in contention with them.”
Le Court: “Very muddy and super fun. I loved the trails. It was tough and I’m exhausted, but we will definitely be back in the next few years.”
Janse van Rensburg: “The trails were really muddy, I had a bit of a fall into a bush, but I really loved it, it was fun.”
Friday’s Queen stage takes riders 97kms from Mackenzie Club to Jolivet farm, with the famous descent into the Umkomaas Valley and the “Iconic” climb back out.
2020 KAP sani2c Stage 1 Leading Results
- DSV Pro Cycling (Arno du Toit/Gert Heyns) 03:01:07
- PYGA Euro Steel 1 (Matthys Beukes/Phil Buys) 03:05:24
- Insect Science 1 (Brendan van Eeden/Keagan Bontekoning) 03:06:49
- Insect Science 2 (Alan Gordon/CP van Wyk) 03:09:45
- PYGA Euro Steel 2 (Pieter du Toit/Francois Theron) 03:13:14
- Dormakaba (Amy McDougall/Robyn de Groot) 03:26:22
- Galileo Risk Infiniti (Sarah Hill/Theresa Ralph) 03:31:14
- Absolute Demacon (Kim le Court/Frances Janse van Rensburg) 03:36:58
- Absolute Motion TCH (Chris Horter/Christie Hearder) 03:41:44
- Mys (Andries van der Merwe/Helen Squirrel) 04:07:20
- Pieke (Philip Piek/Joan Piek) 04:15:21
Source: Maryann Shaw Communications