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George takes Attakwas win with improved technical skills

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Rwanda's Adrien Niyonshuti pushes the pace

Rwanda's Adrien Niyonshuti pushes the pace
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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A Team Bulls rider looks back over his shoulder.

A Team Bulls rider looks back over his shoulder.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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A rider blasts through a stream crossing.

A rider blasts through a stream crossing.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The leaders approach

The leaders approach
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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This stream crossing required plenty of concentration.

This stream crossing required plenty of concentration.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Two Team Bulls riders were in the lead group.

Two Team Bulls riders were in the lead group.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The main peloton shortly after the start of the Attakwas marathon.

The main peloton shortly after the start of the Attakwas marathon.
(Image credit: Advendurance)
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Standing up to get a little more power out

Standing up to get a little more power out
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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A DCM racer lost in concentration

A DCM racer lost in concentration
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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An unusual sort of spectator

An unusual sort of spectator
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Riders prepare at the MTN team van as the sun comes up

Riders prepare at the MTN team van as the sun comes up
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The bike of Paul Cordes

The bike of Paul Cordes
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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One of the Team Bulls bikes ready for action

One of the Team Bulls bikes ready for action
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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It's almost time for the race to begin.

It's almost time for the race to begin.
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Elite men at the start of the Attakwas marathon

Elite men at the start of the Attakwas marathon
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The peloton

The peloton
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The peloton all strung out on the climb

The peloton all strung out on the climb
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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The lead group of four men

The lead group of four men
(Image credit: Zoon Cronje)
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Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls), Max Knox (DCM) and David George (360life) cross a river.

Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls), Max Knox (DCM) and David George (360life) cross a river.
(Image credit: Advendurance)
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Riders negotiate tough terrain in the Attakwas marathon.

Riders negotiate tough terrain in the Attakwas marathon.
(Image credit: Advendurance)
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Winner David George (360life) is all smiles.

Winner David George (360life) is all smiles.
(Image credit: Advendurance)
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Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka) gives chase.

Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka) gives chase.
(Image credit: Advendurance)
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David George (360life) sets the pace for Team Bulls up the Attakwas climb.

David George (360life) sets the pace for Team Bulls up the Attakwas climb.
(Image credit: Advendurance)
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(Image credit: Advendurance)

David George (360life) was all smiles on Saturday afternoon, and he had every reason to be satisfied with himself, because he had just won the 121km MTN Attakwas marathon from Oudtshoorn to George. This event is generally considered to be one of South Africa's toughest endurance events. Last year George had finished second.

As was expected, the two Germans, Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt (Team Bulls), three-time winners of the Cape Epic, played a major role in the race. Having raced in front with George for approximately the last 50 kilometers, they eventually finished second and third respectively.

Max Knox (DCM) finished fourth and Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka) was fifth.

Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin-adidas) won the King of the Mountains prime.

George explained afterwards that he was on a mission. "360life is one of the newest sponsors in South African mountain biking. It was, therefore, important for me to achieve a good result in order to prove to 360life that their confidence in Kevin Evans and me was justified," said George.

"By winning I have put 360life on the proverbial scoreboard. Hopefully this will be just the beginning. But I certainly have a long way to go as far as my physical condition is concerned. I am definitely not in top form yet."

With his victory, George made sure that the Attakwas title remained in the "family", because last year's winner was his teammate, Kevin Evans, who missed out on the race because he had to undergo an appendectomy three weeks ago.

According to George, the Garmin-adidas riders were the early aggressors who set the pace.

"I am not sure what their tactics were, because by the time we got through the Attakwas, all the Garmin-adidas riders were off the pace. Stefan (Sahm), Karl (Platt) and I were riding in front on our own. Max (Knox) and Adrien (Niyonshuti) were the only two riders who were in a position to catch up with us, but we dropped them towards the end of the race."

George received a slight scare during the last few kilometers when his bike slid from underneath him while he was going through one of the corners. Luckily no damage was done and he was back in the saddle in two ticks. A few drops of blood on his knees were the only proof that he did not ride a totally faultless race.

"It was exciting and rewarding for me that I was able to stay with the race leaders, even through the toughest technical sections. Usually, on a super technical race such as the Attakwas, I would be one of the first riders to be dropped," said George.

"I think I have proved to myself that my technical skills have improved since last year."

Knox was not too despondent about finishing one position worse than last year.

"I had a good race. Unfortunately I started to cramp on the last big hill. It became so bad that I had to stop and stretch my muscles for a few seconds before I could continue racing. Even though I was only a few seconds behind the leaders, it was impossible for me to catch up because I was on my own and racing against a headwind."

Ariane Luthi from Contego won the MTN Attakwas women's race. Yolandé Speedy (MTN/Qhubeka) finished second and Ischen Stopforth (Bizhub) was third.

The next MTN South African marathon series race will be on January 29 in Barberton.

"It will be helpful if we can achieve another good result in the series, seeing that we will miss the MTN Clarens and Sabie events due to the Tour of South Africa," said George. "To make sure that we will be competitive, Kevin and I are planning to do some high altitude training beforehand."

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1David George (RSA)5:01:50
2Stefan Sahm (Ger)0:00:02
3Karl Platt (Ger)
4Max Knox (RSA)0:03:16
5Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa)0:06:23
6Brandon Stewart (RSA)0:11:42
7Mannie Heymans (Nam)0:11:43
8Nico Bell (RSA)0:13:14
9Matthys Beukes (RSA)0:16:24
10Philip Buys (RSA)0:18:36
11Ben Melt Swanepoel (RSA)0:20:29
12Lourens Luus (RSA)0:22:07
13Marc Bassingthwaighte (Nam)0:22:10
14Rodney Green (RSA)0:22:14
15Darren Lill (RSA)0:26:01
16Renay Groustra (RSA)0:32:22
17Erik Kleinhans (RSA)0:33:12
18Rourke Croeser (RSA)0:34:03
19Dominic Calitz (RSA)0:34:17
20Paul Cordes (RSA)0:39:18
21Christiaan Kriek (RSA)0:41:51
22Charles Keey (RSA)0:41:55
23Bunnie Loubser (RSA)0:46:25
24Hannes Hanekom (RSA)0:46:41
25Adriaan Louw (RSA)0:46:45
26Timo Cooper (RSA)0:46:46
27Geddan Ruddock (RSA)0:47:04
28Johnni Nielsen (RSA)0:50:14
29Petrus Malherbe (RSA)0:52:28
30Johan Labuschagne (RSA)0:52:47
31Redecker Heiko (RSA)0:54:07
32Louis-Bresler Knipe (RSA)1:01:49
33Gary Marescia (RSA)1:01:51
34Grant Usher (RSA)1:07:46
35Hennie Kriek (RSA)1:14:37
36Arie Olivier (RSA)1:22:22
37Rob Dormehl (RSA)1:32:32
38David Low (RSA)1:33:26
39Craig Boyes (RSA)1:35:09
40Neil Schaffer (RSA)1:40:34
41Rafeeq Safodien (RSA)1:42:04
42Anton Bosman (RSA)1:49:12
43Tossie Steyn (RSA)1:51:38
44Lieuwe Boonstra (RSA)2:01:51
45Ruan Du Toit (RSA)2:30:35

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luthi Ariane (Swi)6:09:36
2Yolande Speedy (RSA)0:04:29
3Ischen Stopforth (RSA)0:09:31
4Hanlie Booyens (RSA)0:10:38
5Jane Seggie (RSA)0:22:59
6Yolandi Du Toit (RSA)0:28:18
7Christine Janse Van Rensburg (RSA)0:34:16
8Karien Van Jaarsveld (RSA)0:39:18
9Esther Lategan (RSA)0:55:47
10Julia Skea (RSA)1:07:47
11Sanet Smal (RSA)1:09:39
12Elda Van Dijk (RSA)2:08:22

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