Dominic Calitz and Matthys Beukes charged to victory in Grabouw on Friday to win the 70-kilometre first stage of the much anticipated Contego Wines2Whales MTB Race powered by Maserati in an impressive time of 3hr 17min 26sec.
The first stage was from Lourensford Estate in Somerset West to Grabouw and Calitz said his game plan on the day was just to keep up with Matthys.┬áÔÇ£We took the lead one kilometre after the start.┬áFrom there it only grew to one minute, but we worked really hard to keep the gab.┬áThe portage section over Gantouw Pass was insanely tough.┬áWe’ll definitely feel the pressure tomorrow, but we’ll do our best to maintain our lead.┬áI’d like to thank the organisers for the excellent track that we got to experience today,ÔÇØ says Calitz.
Team Blend Elite’s Christiaan Kriek and David Morison came in second, while Team Contego Giant’s Adriaan Louw and Louis-Bresler Knipe finished third.
Defending Mixed Team champions, Yoland├¿ de Villiers and Johan Labuschange proved to be fighting fit on the day, taking gold in a time of 3:50:36.┬áFor De Villiers winning stage one was a bonus.┬áÔÇ£I really didn’t expect to win today.┬áCandice Neethling is young enough to be my daughter and I thought that youth would have the upper-hand. Although the route was tough, with the portage section feeling longer than ever, it was brilliant, featuring a bit of everything including the most amazing single track.┬áWe’re looking forward to stage twoÔÇØ, says De Villiers.
Team BMC Mr Price Bizhub’s Neethling and James Reid came in second, while Team Unleashed’s Hilana Marais and Mark Moir finished third.
Catherine Williamson and Ischen Stopforth’s finishing time of 3:52:39 secured the first place position in the women’s team category.┬áWilliamson said stage one was really good, but hard.┬áÔÇ£The race featured a tough start with a long climb followed by some very technical single track.┬áI’ve only been mountain biking for a year now and although I enjoy the technical single track, I still have a lot to learn.┬áAll in all we had a fantastic day.┬áThe route is just amazing and beautiful.┬áOur plan for stage two is to ride as hard as possible and hopefully we’ll be able to maintain our leaveÔÇØ, says Williamson.
Team Contego Girls’ Ariane Kleinhans and Mariske Strauss came in second, while Team Develop’s Caitlin De Wet and Yolandi Du Toit finished third.