Overnight leaders Waylon Woolcock and HB Kruger kept the pressure on their rivals as they won the second stage of the Liberty Winelands Encounter in the Boland today.
The BCX pair will take a telling six-minute lead into the final stage tomorrow after finishing the 57km course from Franschhoek to Wellington in 2:17:21.
They were followed home by Andrew Hill and Marco Joubert (TIB Insurance-Momsen Valley Light), who had a time of 2:20:35, and Jurgens Uys and Nicol Carstens (Versus Socks) in 2:23:00.
The stage’s outcome gave Woolcock and Kruger an overall time of 4:29:00, just more than six minutes clear of Hill and Joubert (4:35:27). Uys and Carstens (4:39:50) are third.
Woolcock said they had maintained their first-day advantage through the first half of the stage.
“The first 15 to 20km were fairly fast and flat, but knowing the trails pretty well, it was a matter of just keeping up the pace,” he said.
“The guys were on and off us the whole time and we had a gap of about one minute when we hit the big climb of the day.”
He added that they wanted to build up a decent gap going up Cascade Manor to the Hawekwa Plantation and were able to relax going down to the finish.
Kruger said they were still in good shape, having maintained their momentum without overdoing it.
Even with a fairly comfortable lead, he said they would not take anything for granted.
“The race is never over and we will definitely have to ride smartly tomorrow,” he said.
“We don’t want to run the risk of any mechanicals or crashes, so we will definitely be on our toes and make sure we are up near the front.”
Swedish Cape Epic champion Jennie Stenerhag and South African partner Katie Lennard built a big lead in the women’s race after finishing in 2:47:10.
This puts them first in 5:22:10, well ahead of Jana Kruger and Ilse Viljoen (Companero), who finished in 3:15:14 for an overall time of 6:23:05.
In the mixed category Corne Barnard and Vera Adrian (dormakaba RA) won the stage in 2:37:03.
They were followed home by Matthew Stamatis and Carmen Buchacher (Home Ice Cream) in 2:37:47 and Pieter Seyffert and An-Li Kachelhoffer (Bestmed-Ellsworth-ASG) in 2:44:26.
Barnard and Adrian lead on 5:04:18, followed by Stamatis and Buchacher (5:09:38) and Seyffert and Kachelhoffer (5:24:50).