Heyns and De Groot mas­ter mud­dy MTB

George Herald - - Sport -

A mud­dy cour­se and per­fect con­di­ti­ons for moun­tain bi­king ma­de for a bril­li­ant day of cy­cling at the first ma­jor spor­ting e­vent of t­his y­e­ar's Pick n Pay Knysna Oys­ter Fe­s­ti­val.

The Mo­men­tum Knysna Cy­cle Tour kic­ked off with four MTB e­vents: 80km, 50km, 30km and 15km.

The 80km e­vent was won by Gert Heyns in 2:53:59. Se­cond was Knysna ho­me boy Matt Beers in 3:01:00 and thi­rd was HB Kru­ger in 3:03:19.

First wo­man ho­me and n­inth o­ver­all was Ro­byn de Groot in 3:25:14 with Can­di­ce Lill a split se­cond be­hind her. Thi­rd was Sa­rah Hill in 3:25:35.

Gert Heyns said it was "qui­te mud­dy out the­re to­day but not too cold, so in the end it was ac­tu­al­ly good ri­ding con­di­ti­ons. The last 20km was qui­te a lot of pudd­les and you could feel the ge­ars grin­ding a bit, but it didn't re­al­ly af­fect the ra­ce."

Heyns and Beers ma­de a bre­a­ka­way e­ar­ly in the ra­ce and stay­ed to­get­her but Beers ad­mits he did not ha­ve the gas to stay with Heyns.

Said Beers, "It was su­per mud­dy. It was ac­tu­al­ly a lot wor­se than pre­vi­ous y­e­ars. Ob­vi­ous­ly, the fo­rest is al­ways qui­te damp but it was a good ra­ce. We set a hard pa­ce from the be­gin­ning. Gert and I got a­way up Si­mo­la and stay­ed in front for the rest of the ra­ce. We we­re at­tacking e­ach ot­her all day and just on the last climb he at­tac­ked a­gain… he had the stron­ger legs to­day and he took it."

Heyns said he knew that the fi­nish was qui­te fast and that it would be qui­te hard to get a­way. "Last y­e­ar I ca­me se­cond with a sprint a­gainst Matt so I was qui­te con­fi­dent that if I couldn't get a­way for the fi­nish I should still be a­ble to ta­ke the sprint. I felt qui­te good to­day and I think a­bout 10km out on the last litt­le climb I at­tac­ked."

Ro­byn de Groot said that she hadn't re­a­li­sed it had rai­ned so much o­ver­nig­ht. "It was mud­dy out the­re! But it ac­tu­al­ly ma­de for re­al­ly ni­ce ra­cing; it wa­sn't too slip­pe­ry - it was ac­tu­al­ly per­fect."

It was an ex­tre­me­ly c­lo­se fi­nish for the E­li­te wo­men. "I was lying in thi­rd pla­ce most of the way and caug­ht Can­di­ce with a­bout 20km to go, or may­be e­ven less, and then we ro­de to­get­her and sprin­ted for the fi­nish. I was hap­py with that," De Groot said.

Ra­ce di­rec­tor, El­win T­homp­son of Knysna Ro­ta­ry, than­ked the spon­sors, par­ti­cu­lar­ly Mo­men­tum, as well as the cy­clis­ts. "The spon­sors and ri­ders ma­ke it pos­si­ble to ha­ve t­his e­vent e­very y­e­ar and their sup­port and par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on is w­hat e­na­bles Ro­ta­ry to do so much good work in the Knysna a­rea," he said.

The group of pro ri­ders just af­ter the start of the 80km MTB ra­ce with the o­ver­all men’s win­ner, Gert Heyns, far left. Ro­byn de Groot and Gert Heyns, win­ners of the 80km MTB ra­ce.

T­he­se two ri­ders fi­nis­hed the 50km ro­ad ra­ce ... on bi­cy­cles ma­de out of cot­ton wood.

P­ho­to’s: Dei­dré Ka­chel­hof­fer

LEFT: Gert Heyns in pen­si­ve mood be­fo­re the start of the 80km MTB ra­ce at t­his y­e­ar’s Pick n Pay Knysna Oys­ter Fe­s­ti­val. The a­mi­ca­ble Heyns won the ra­ce.

T­ri­stan Nor­tjé, from Ge­or­ge, won the 50km MTB ra­ce.

HB Kru­ger, he­re car­rying his bi­ke up the steep wal­kway, fi­nis­hed in 3rd po­si­ti­on in both the 80km MTB and the Knysna Cy­cle Tour ro­ad ra­ce.

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