Knys­na Cy­cle Tour kick­starts Oys­ter Fe­s­ti­val

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Sport - – Je­an­ni­ne Or­ze­chow­ski

This y­e­ar’s Pick n Pay Knys­na Oys­ter Fe­s­ti­val kic­ked off with a success­ful Mo­men­tum Knys­na Cy­cle Tour that had thou­sands of cy­clis­ts des­cend on Knys­na for the two-day e­vent.

A­bout 3 500 ri­ders com­pe­ted in the MTB ra­ces on Sa­tur­day, with Matthys Beu­kes, Te­am PYGA Eu­ro S­teel, win­ning the 80km MTB e­vent in 02:47:02. He be­at Gert Heyns (02:51:29) by mo­re than three mi­nu­tes, bre­a­king the cour­se re­cord he set in 2015, of 02:52:12. Thi­rd was Matt Beers, just a split se­cond be­hind Heyns (02:51:30).

Spea­king af­ter the ra­ce, Beu­kes said it went well for him e­ven though he had wo­ken up with al­ler­gies and ne­ar­ly didn’t com­pe­te.

“I thoug­ht I would see how it went af­ter the first climb, but my legs felt qui­te fresh. I got so­me good trai­ning in the last few weeks so I could see the po­wer was the­re from qui­te e­ar­ly on. It was just a mat­ter of trying to ti­re the ot­her guys out a bit. At the 40km mark I put in a big at­tack.”

W­hen Beu­kes won the e­vent two y­e­ars ago, the first wo­man ho­me then was Ro­byn de Groot, who ri­des for Te­am Ascen­dis He­alth. She was al­so the first wo­man ho­me this y­e­ar, with a ti­me of 03:00:10, be­a­ting Can­di­ce Lill (03:01:44) and last y­e­ar’s win­ner Yo­lan­de de Vil­liers who ca­me thi­rd.

Ge­or­ge-ba­sed De Groot said that sup­por­ting a lo­cal e­vent is very im­por­tant to her and she was hap­py that the e­vent had go­ne a­he­ad de­spi­te the fi­res.

Sun­day’s ro­ad ra­ce pro­du­ced two first-ti­me win­ners for the Knys­na Cy­cle Tour 115km e­vent.

B­ren­don Da­vids clin­ched his first Knys­na Cy­cle Tour tit­le, fi­nis­hing in a ti­me of 02:45:30 and be­a­ting Reyn­ard But­ler and T­han­do Zot­he by mo­re than a mi­nu­te. In a sprint fi­nish But­ler (02:47:19 ) be­at Zot­he (02:47:20) by just a split se­cond.

“The te­am (Ro­ad Co­ver) exe­cu­ted the plan re­al­ly well, and t­hey put me in the be­st po­si­ti­on pos­si­ble,” said Da­vids. “We at­tac­ked a­round 65km from the fi­nish and I ma­na­ged to do a sort of a so­lo ti­me tri­al to the fi­nish.”

Car­men Bu­cha­cher al­so took her first win in the e­vent, be­a­ting Can­di­ce Lill by six se­conds in a ti­me of 2:55:46. De­fen­ding wo­men’s cham­pi­on An­riet­te S­choe­man was thi­rd (2:57:46).

“I lo­ve being he­re for the Oys­ter Fe­s­ti­val. I al­ways do the moun­tain bi­ke ra­ce first on the Sa­tur­day, but y­e­ster­day I didn’t ha­ve the be­st legs and was on­ly pla­ced fourth so I think this ma­de up for it to­day,” Bu­cha­cher said af­ter the ra­ce.

Young hand cy­clist Zach Rauch Leg­ward ma­na­ged to ful­fil his go­al to be the youn­ge­st dif­fe­rent­ly a­bled com­pe­ti­tor to com­ple­te the 50km ro­ad ra­ce. He fi­nis­hed look­ing fresh, just as the rain star­ted to fall.

The 10-y­e­ar-old has been cy­cling for the last three y­e­ars on a cu­s­tom­built hand cy­cle and is the youn­ge­st hand cy­clist in South A­fri­ca. He has won gold in the Ou­te­ni­qua W­heel­chair Chal­len­ge three ti­mes, has rid­den Ca­pe To­wn Cy­cle Tour Ju­ni­or twi­ce and re­cent­ly did the The Gun Run.

Zach and his sup­port te­am, he­a­ded up by dad Ge­off Leg­ward, star­ted trai­ning for the Knys­na Cy­cle Tour four mont­hs ago, ri­ding a dis­tan­ce of 13km e­very se­cond day.

The mar­ke­ting di­rec­tor of the Knys­na Cy­cle Tour, Andrew Finn, said he was ex­tre­me­ly hap­py with the wee­kend’s e­vents con­si­de­ring the fact that it was just one month sin­ce the fi­res star­ted.

“We are gra­te­ful to the thou­sands of cy­clis­ts who ma­de the trip to Knys­na to sup­port the Cy­cle Tour and our cam­paign #Ri­deForALo­cal,” said Finn.

Doug E­ma­nu­el, pre­si­dent of Knys­na Ro­ta­ry which coor­di­na­tes the e­vent, said the tur­nout for the Cy­cle Tour was fan­tas­tic. “We we­re a bit anx­i­ous af­ter the fi­res but very soon it was bu­si­ness as u­su­al in Knys­na, and we are very gra­te­ful to all the ri­ders who tur­ned out to sup­port the e­vent, and Knys­na.”

The he­ad of spon­sors­hips for Mo­men­tum, Ca­rel Bos­man, said it was a won­der­ful wee­kend of ra­cing and fes­ti­vi­ties. “Sa­tur­day es­pe­ci­al­ly was a fan­tas­tic day in Knys­na be­cau­se of the unse­a­so­na­bly warm we­at­her. The­re was a gre­at vi­be in to­wn af­ter the pre­vi­ous trau­ma­tic weeks fol­lo­wing the fi­res. The­re re­al­ly is a sen­se that Knys­na is ri­sing from the de­va­sta­ti­on. Mo­men­tum was very in­vol­ved in the re­lief ef­fort, and it is won­der­ful to see lo­cals and vi­si­tors en­joying them­sel­ves a­gain in the out­doors and the suns­hi­ne. I ro­de the ra­ce my­self and I can tell you that the fo­rest is still beau­ti­ful and Knys­na has lost no­ne of its ap­pe­al.”

P­ho­to: Ju­a­ni­ta Ek­steen.

B­ren­don Da­vids, win­ner of the 115km ro­ad ra­ce, knew he had it in the bag. Mo­re pic­tu­res on pa­ge 19.

P­ho­to: Des­mond S­choltz

The wo­men’s win­ners of the 80km MTB ra­ce on Sa­tur­day, Ju­ly 8 we­re (from left) Can­di­ce Lill, Ro­byn de Groot and Yo­lan­da de Vil­liers.

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