Even though they took the second stage today, HB Kruger and Matt Beers know there is a lot of work ahead of them to win overall honours in the Liberty Winelands Encounter mountain-bike race in the Cape Winelands.
Despite outsprinting overnight leaders Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit in the final kilometre of the 48km stage near Le Franschhoek Hotel, the ASG-NAD pair still trail their rivals by just under two minutes going into tomorrow’s final stage.
Heyns and Du Toit, of DSV Pro Cycling, did not lose much time today and lead the general classification in 3:34:28, with Imbuko Momsen’s Dylan Rebello and Marco Joubert third.
Kruger, who won the Winelands with Waylon Woolcock last year, said it would not be easy but they were focused on making up the leeway.
“The stages are relatively short so it’s really difficult to create a big gap,” he said.
“But tomorrow has some testing areas, too, so we will definitely not just give it to them.
“We will be trying our best to see what opportunities arise to make up some time.”
Following last month’s Cape Epic, Kruger fell ill and he was on antibiotics for a period.
“So yesterday was a bit of a shock to the system, but my partner Matt is looking really good so it’s nice just to sit behind him and follow his moves,” he said.
In the mixed category, overnight leaders Matthew Stamatis and Samantha Sanders (Home Ice Cream-dormakaba) took the stage honours in 1:56:18.
They finished ahead of Carmen Buchacher and Paris Basson, with Everett and Anna Haywood third.
The stage winners consolidated their lead with an overall time of 4:02:50
Louise Ferreira and Marleen Lourens continued to dominate the women’s category, winning the stage in 2:13:36 and taking a big lead in the overall standings.
Ilse Viljoen and Jana Kruger took second place today, with Alta Kriegler and Sunette Beyers third.
Presented by STANLIB, the final stage tomorrow will see the cyclists tackle a 50km route from Le Franschhoek Hotel to Nederburg Wine Estate near Paarl.