Defending men’s solo champion Billy Stelling shrugged off a broken rib to take his second successive stage victory on the third day of the TransCape mountain bike race between Van Wyksdorp and Riversdal in the Western Cape today.
Almost halfway through the seven-day, 690km journey from Knysna to Franschhoek, the field were confronted with an 81km route today after the lengthy 135km queen stage yesterday.
The 47-year-old Stelling, who is from Sea Point in Cape Town, was again home first in 3:09:12 to move into second overall on an aggregate time of 13:08:34.
Belgian Karl Dossche stayed in front overall after finishing second on the day in 3:19:38 (12:59:16).
Willem Tollig was third home in 3:19:53, but Alan Tilling’s ride of 3:26:02 (13:18:42) keeps him in third overall.
Stelling injured his rib last Monday in an incident while moving house and said he almost did not make it to the start line.
“However, I decided I would ride and have been taking a cocktail of tablets to manage the pain,” he said.
He said he took it easy on the first day, but had ridden with some faster groups on the next two stages.
Stelling added he would not put any pressure on himself and would just take it day by day to see how it all panned out, making sure he enjoyed the experience.
“It is one of the top three races in my book. The atmosphere is great, the accommodation is fantastic and the food is brilliant.
“I ride mountain bike races for the soulful experience and the vibe on this one is up there with the best.”
Overnight leaders in the men’s team category, Pieter Seyffert and Travis Walker, maintained their position at the top, coming home in 2:54:56 (11:45:06).
Belgians Eddy Feliers and Kristof de Neys, who represent Cicero Baik, lie second after finishing today’s stage in 3:16:25 (12:39:50), with Bromance’s David and William Wertheim Aymes third in 3:19:52 (12:47:47), the same position they occupy in the overall situation.
Ellsworth-ASG’s Seyffert said the race was helping him to set up a new combination with the 25-year-old Walker from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The first two days were a big test for us because we have different styles of riding,” said the 30-year-old from Helderkruin on the West Rand.
“I don’t start the climbs as quickly as he does. He has speed while I try to keep it constant and then go harder over the top.
“They say you race like you train, so this is a very good opportunity for us and the best way to get to know each other.”
Women’s pair Catherine Williamson and Hannele Steyn, who have opted to compete in the mixed category, won the stage in 3:09:13 ahead of Ian and Jane Seggie in 3:48:21 and Matthias and Denise Kubli in 4:07:13.
Williamson and Steyn, who race for Spar, now lead the overall standings on 12:32:37, followed by the Seggies on 15:13:21 and the Kublis on 15:47:26.
In the women’s solo category, Alma Colyn stayed well in front when she crossed the line first in 3:19:55 (13:00:59).
Second and third went to Mandy Langebrink in 3:44:23 (14:50:03) and Chandre Wertheim Aymes in 4:02:00 (17:13:41) respectively.