Cannondale Factory Racing's Anton Cooper was the quickest out the blocks to claim the hole shot but it was soon the BH-Suntour-KMC's duo of Jordan Sarrou and Victor Koretzky who surged to the front and went about setting a blistering pace.
Disaster struck Koretzky early in the second lap though as he broke his chain, ending his title hopes and leaving it up to Sarrou to fly the team's flag. And fly it he did.
"I'm very happy to have won the first World Cup of the year and to take the leader's jersey!" said Sarrou afterwards. "I went into the lead right in the beginning and I didn't let it go for the rest of the race!
"The course is even better than it was for the World Champs last year. It was very technical and with it being as warm as it was, I'm very happy I felt so good and could get the win."
Giant Pro XC's Michiel van der Heijden recovered from a poor start to finish in second place while betch.nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team's Grant Ferguson claimed his maiden World Cup podium as he claimed third.
The host nation's flag also billowed proudly in the dusty breeze after Trek Racing South Africa's James Reid got the better of Cooper in the final few hundred meters to finish fourth, equaling his 2012 PMB World Cup result.
"It's nice to be up where I was two years ago," said Reid. "I've always believed I've had that kind of shape but it's taken a full two years to get back up to where I was when I last got a fourth in Maritzburg.
"I'm going well at the moment but I took a bit of a knock when I went to the States recently and had my eyes opened to just how fast I actually needed to be so I came and really put my head down and worked hard in the build up to the World Cup."
Slow off the mark meant Reid's top three hopes were dashed early on but the local lad was still happy with the final outcome.
"Today was good. I had a poor start and was slightly off the lead group in the first few minutes which meant it was kind of decided up front already. So I got locked into a bit of a ding-dong battle with (Anton) Cooper.
"It was a tough position to be in because had I tried to go after third I may have gifted fifth a free ride with me.
"Anton and I ended up going a similar speed for much of the middle part of the race before tactics came into play in the last lap. Cooper had been getting quicker little by little so on the last lap I decided just to go for it and fortunately he couldn't stay with me.
"I'm stoked to get the World Cup season off to a good start. Stoked to be in the top five, podium would have been nice but I'll take it!"
Reid also showed his appreciation of the support he received from the home crowd at Cascades.
"I grew up about 20 minutes away from here so there were a lot of old friends here and the Maritzburg crowd really helped me enormously.
"It's also really good for the South African public to see that we do have the cross country potential here in SA," Reid concluded.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jordan Sarrou (Fra) BH-Suntour-KMC||1:22:58|
|2||Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned) Giant Pro XC Team||0:00:58|
|3||Grant Ferguson (GBr) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team||0:01:22|
|4||James Reid (RSA)||0:02:00|
|5||Anton Cooper (NZl) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:02:27|
|6||Victor Koretzky (Fra) BH-Suntour-KMC||0:02:52|
|7||Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spa) MMR Bikes Pro Team||0:03:23|
|8||Julian Schelb (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team||0:04:26|
|9||Julien Trarieux (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team||0:05:37|
|10||Keegan Swenson (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:06:12|
|11||Cameron Ivory (Aus)||0:06:21|
|12||Andri Frischknecht (Swi) Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team||0:06:36|
|13||Peteris Janevics (Lat) DPA||0:06:43|
|14||Martin Frey (Ger)||0:06:49|
|15||Jan Vastl (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Specialized Junior MTB Team||0:07:05|
|16||Iain Paton (GBr)||0:07:31|
|17||Michael Crosbie (Aus)||0:07:34|
|18||Gregor Raggl (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team||0:08:13|
|19||Arno Du Toit (RSA)||0:08:21|
|20||Ben Forbes (Aus)||0:08:48|
|21||Edvard Vea Iversen (Nor) Team Lillehammer Powered By Sport1 & Scott||0:10:10|
|22||Gert Heyns (RSA)||0:10:23|
|23||Ulisse Fieschi (Swi) Fischer-BMC||0:10:55|
|24||Toki Sawada (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team||0:11:43|
|25||Krystof Bogar (Cze) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team||0:12:00|
|26||Christian Pfäffle (Ger)||0:12:43|
|27||Philipp Hediger (Swi) Fischer-BMC||0:13:26|
|28||Jason Meaton (RSA)||0:13:38|
|-1lap||Dylan Rebello (RSA)|
|-1lap||Callan Deacon (RSA)|
|-1lap||Bengareth Roff (GBr) Orange Monkey Pro Team|
|-1lap||Paul Rodenbach (RSA) Kargo Pro MTB Team|
|-1lap||William Mokgopo (RSA)|
|-2laps||Tim Wilkins (RSA)|
|-2laps||Frantisek Lami (Svk)|
|-2laps||Fabian Costa (Aut)|
|-3laps||Tseko Shelile LES19940531 Ace - The Sufferfest - Lesotho MTB Team|
|DNF||Jeff Luyten (Bel) Versluys Team|
|DNF||Brendon Davids (RSA)|
|DNF||Travis Walker (RSA) Kargo Pro MTB Team|
|DNF||Kenta Gallagher (GBr) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team|
|DNF||Steven James (GBr)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jordan Sarrou (Fra) BH-Suntour-KMC||90||pts|
|2||Michiel Van Der Heijden (Ned) Giant Pro XC Team||70|
|3||Grant Ferguson (GBr) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team||60|
|4||James Reid (RSA)||50|
|5||Anton Cooper (NZl) Cannondale Factory Racing||40|
|6||Victor Koretzky (Fra) BH-Suntour-KMC||35|
|7||Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spa) MMR Bikes Pro Team||30|
|8||Julian Schelb (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team||27|
|9||Julien Trarieux (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team||24|
|10||Keegan Swenson (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing||22|
|11||Cameron Ivory (Aus)||20|
|12||Andri Frischknecht (Swi) Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team||18|
|13||Peteris Janevics (Lat) DPA||16|
|14||Martin Frey (Ger)||14|
|15||Jan Vastl (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Specialized Junior MTB Team||12|
|16||Iain Paton (GBr)||10|
|17||Michael Crosbie (Aus)||9|
|18||Gregor Raggl (Aut) Ötztal Scott Racing Team||8|
|19||Arno Du Toit (RSA)||7|
|20||Ben Forbes (Aus)||6|
|21||Edvard Vea Iversen (Nor) Team Lillehammer Powered By Sport1 & Scott||5|
|22||Gert Heyns (RSA)||4|
|23||Ulisse Fieschi (Swi) Fischer-BMC||3|
|24||Toki Sawada (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team||2|
|25||Krystof Bogar (Cze) Betch.Nl Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team||1|