Brown times it well, to catch up on leader King

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

A GAME of cat and mouse was played through­out the third stage of the Berg River Ca­noe Marathon yes­ter­day.

Those chas­ing race leader Lance King gave it their all, but the man in the yel­low jersey main­tained his con­trol – while Jenna Ward pow­ered into the lead of the women’s race.

De­spite hav­ing ev­ery­thing thrown at him, King was up to the task and met ev­ery punch of his com­peti­tors with a pow­er­ful coun­ter­punch, not will­ing to give an inch.

“My main goal was to make sure I didn’t lose any of my lead so I’m re­ally pleased to have done that and that I still have a bit of a gap go­ing into day four,” said King.

It was for­mer World Marathon champ Ben Brown of Bri­tain who claimed a nar­row stage vic­tory as he edged out Graeme Solomon, Ivan Kruger and King in the fi­nal sprint.

Not even the mam­moth 75km third stage could sep­a­rate the four as Brown made his pres­ence felt.

“My goal was al­ways to try to get ahead of three guys in front of me and to win the stage so I’m pretty stoked with how to­day went for me,” said Brown.

“I got my nu­tri­tion pretty much spot on to­day, which meant I didn’t get tired at all and I also had a lit­tle bit left in the tank when it came down to the sprint at the end,” he added.

Solomon fin­ished a nar­row sec­ond, so­lid­i­fy­ing his sec­ond place over­all, how­ever did have small cause for cel­e­bra­tion as he out-sprinted Brown for the stage’s bridge prize. He will how­ever now be forced to find a near three kilo­me­ter run in his legs af­ter the sud­den news of a com­pul­sory portage shortly af­ter the start of day four due to a hy­acinth block­age.

The portage could well play an im­por­tant role in the out­come as few would have pre­pared them­selves ad­e­quately for an ob­sta­cle of this na­ture.

Louw van Riet, Pier­reAn­dre Ra­bie and Edgar Boehn Jnr. con­tin­ued their ding dong bat­tle for fourth po­si­tion ex­cept this time they crossed the line with­out their part­ner-in-crime of the first two days, Lee McGre­gor, the 61 year old man­ag­ing to hold onto eighth po­si­tion over­all, be­hind Brown, de­spite suf­fer­ing a third swim in as many days.

Stage three will be one Jenna Ward will re­mem­ber fondly for many years to come as she put in a re­mark­able per- for­mance to not only slash the five minute gap be­tween her­self and leader Kirsten Pen­deris, but open up a near two minute lead of her own.

“I got away early on but the group I was pad­dling with was fly­ing so I de­cided to sit up a lit­tle and wait for the next group, which I pad­dled with across the dam,” said Ward.

“Af­ter the put-in I dug deep and just tried to push as hard as I could and ev­ery time I wanted to go a lit­tle eas­ier I thought that any sec­onds I lost to­day may just be the sec­onds that cost me the race to­mor­row.

“I de­cided to do Berg as good base train­ing when I was se­lected for the SA marathon team go­ing to Den­mark so now to be in a po­si­tion to win is amaz­ing. Lots can still hap­pen though so we’ll have to just wait and see,” she added.

Young­ster Mthobisi Cele re­gained the lead in the un­der 18 boys cat­e­gory whilst third­placed Ivan Kruger and Ward still com­fort­ably lead the un­der 23 men’s and women’s cat­e­gories re­spec­tively.

John Hishin/game­plan Me­dia

MAK­ING A SPLASH: Ben Brown out­sprints Graeme Solomon to claim vic­tory in the third stage of the Berg River Ca­noe Marathon yes­ter­day.

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