The German Team Bulls pairing of Tim Bohme and Simon Stiebjahn charged around the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge trails to win the prologue time trial and take the early overall lead in the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race near Oudtshoorn, South Africa on Sunday.
Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag and South Africa’s Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co.) secured the win in the women’s category.
The prologue time trial followed a fairly twisty 15.3km course around Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, an appropriate scene setter for the sixth edition of South Africa’s newest UCI-graded mountain bike stage race.
Starting fifth from last, Bohme and Stiebjahn clocked a time of 36 minutes 07 seconds, which turned out to be 19 seconds faster than South African stage favourites, Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (SCOTT Factory Racing). South African marathon champion, James Reid and his Austrian teammate, Herman Persteiner (Asrin Cycling), rounded out the podium places for the event opener.
“We were actually going for a smooth stage and tried to limit our losses. We knew that SCOTT Factory Racing were the big favourites, as they know this course so well and they won this stage last year. It was a nice surprise!” said a cheery Stiebjahn afterwards.
After finishing third overall at the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic and enjoying good form in recent weeks, Bohme and Stiebjahn fancy their chances of overall victory at the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and will incorporate that goal into their tactics from Stage 1.
“In mountain biking, nothing is certain. We will try and defend the Yellow Jersey from tomorrow for sure. There are another six hard days to come still, but we will make the most of every moment we can to keep the leader jerseys on our shoulders,” added Stiebjahn.
In the women’s race, De Groot and Stenerhag, the national marathon champions of their respective countries, clocked a time of 44:45, also 19 seconds ahead of runners-up, Cherise Stander and Candice Neethling (#iride4burry). Former marathon world champion and Olympic medallist, Esther Suss (SUI) and Theresa Ralph (RSA), riding as Team Meerendal Wheeler 1, rounded out the podium places in 47:15.
“That win was totally unexpected!” remarked De Groot. “We really just wanted to ride a safe prologue more than anything else. To get the victory was a bonus and a good confidence booster for the rest of the race.”
In the other team racing categories, South Africans Jaco Ferreira and Alexander Lamberts of Team Columbia Europcar Bridge were the top Amateurs; South Africans Kobus Barnard and Fienie Barnard (Klein Karoo Mixed) won the stage in the Mixed; Heinz Zorweg (AUT) and Bartie Bucher (SUI) of Team Meerendal Wheeler 2 were the top Masters and South Africans Johan Labuschagne and Gerrie Beukes of Team Klein Karoo Veterans, secured the Veteran men’s win.
In the Solo division, Travis Walker (RSA), Konny Looser (SUI) and Matthew Beers (RSA) were the top three men respectively, while Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Gina Nixon (RSA) and Katja Cauwenbergh (BEL) where the top three women.
Monday’s Stage 1 sees the riders tackle a distance of 100km with 1794m of ascent from Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp.
For more information on the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, visit www.capepioneer.co.za. For race updates, follow @BridgeCPT on twitter and Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek on Facebook.
Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek 2014
Prologue time trial
1 Simon Stiebjahn (GER) / Tim Bohme (GER) – Team Bulls 36min07sec
2 Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) – SCOTT Factory Racing 36:26
3 James Reid (RSA) / Herman Persteiner (AUT) – Asrin Cycling 37:45
4 Ismael Ventura (ESP) / Ramon Sagues (ESP) – ESMTB.com 37:57
5 Waylon Woolcock (RSA) / Darren Lill (RSA) – Cannondale Blend 38:04
1 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) / Robyn de Groot (RSA) – Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co 44:45
2 Cherise Stander (RSA) / Candice Neethling (RSA) – #iride4burry 45:04
3 Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Esther Suss (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 1 47:15
1 Jaco Ferreira (RSA) / Alexander Lamberts (RSA) – Columbia Europcar Bridge 45:22
2 James Tennent (RSA) / David Garrett (RSA) – Giant 2 46:11
3 Jonathan Odendaal (RSA) / Bertus Odendaal (RSA) – Four Brothers 46:30
1 Johan Labuschagne (RSA) / Gerrie Beukes (RSA) – Klein Karoo Veterans 43:21
2 Fanie Venter (RSA) / Wayne McDuling (RSA) – Pynfabriek 45:54
3 Marne Dirks (RSA) / Pierre Griffioen – Bridge Torq Zone Vets 46:05
1 Heinz Zorweg (AUT) / Barti Bucher (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 2 41:11
2 Izak Visagie (RSA) / Lieb Loots (RSA) – Wilde 3 45:48
3 Con Malherbe (RSA) / Collin Stroberg (RSA) – Coffeeberry Café 49:01
1 Kobus Barnard (RSA) / Fienie Barnard (RSA) – Klein Karoo Mixed 44:43
2 Vickus Boshoff (RSA) / Anriette Schoeman (RSA) – Sasol Racing Mixed 1 46:38
3 Nizaam Esa (RSA) / Barbara Benko (RSA) – Asrin Cycling 1 46:45
1 Travis Walker (RSA)
2 Konny Looser (SUI) 37:35
3 Matthew Beers (RSA) 38:18
1 Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 50:52
2 Gina Nixon (RSA) 53:02
3 Katja Cauwenbergh (BEL) 54:42
For full results visit www.capepioneer.co.za