Race leaders HB Kruger and Stuart Marais will be focused on avoiding any final day pitfalls when the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter ends in Franschhoek tomorrow.
The ASG-Ellsworth outfit won the sixth stage of the 614km event today when they covered the 74km route from Greyton to Houwhoek in 2:44:31.
In doing so, they doubled their lead in the general classification to 22 minutes and the Paarl-based Kruger said they would be aiming to keep focused tomorrow.
“We will take it steadily, try to make sure we do not get any mechanicals and keep the bikes in one piece all the way to the finish line,” he said.
“Another stage win would be nice, but our main goal is to keep the GC and make sure we win the race.”
He and Marais are almost 22 minutes ahead of Norwegian professionals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon), who were second across the line today, 11 minutes behind the leaders.
Third place on the podium today went to Japan’s Yuki Ikeda and South African partner Grant Usher, riding for Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack.
However, the French-German team of Antonin Marecaille and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) remain third overall.
Today’s stage win was built on an attack about 8km into the stage, on the first single-track climb up Bakenskop.
“We decided to test our rivals early on and we hammered it up the first climb,” he said.
“We knew it was steep and rocky, which is quite technical and gives you a chance to put up a bit of a gap.
“After that we just rolled through the rest of the stage steadily and the gap grew quite significantly.”
He added that the neutralisation of yesterday’s stage had made it a bit easier to push hard today.
“Physically we are feeling strong still and obviously yesterday was a bit easier and helped with the recovery.
“I must admit we still did 110km and spent about five hours in the saddle, but as we were not racing it did help to save the legs a bit.”
German rider Udo Mueller won his fifth stage in a row to maintain his place at the top of the overall solo men’s standings. He finished today in 2:56:52 for an overall time of 18:04:49.
British rider Catherine Williamson and Belgian partner Kristof de Neys (LawPack) continued to reign supreme in the mixed category, winning today’s stage in 3:15:06.
The fourth edition of the 614km race, supported by STANLIB and Volvo Cars, finishes at La Couronne Wine Estate in Franschhoek tomorrow. The final stage from Houwhoek covers 73km with 1 850m of vertical ascent.