Knox maintains his series lead with a win in Wellington

With his resounding victory in the South African Ultra-marathon championship (MTN Gravel Travel) outside Wellington Max Knox (Specialized) proved that he is without a doubt one of the tough guys of South African mountain biking.

Riders had to endure the most extreme weather conditions to get to the finish. Not only was it cold, but the rain was pouring down while they were cycling and, to make things even worse, a strong wind was blowing.

It was as if Mother Nature deliberately used all the elements for a concerted effort to test the riders to their absolute limits.

The finish at the Diemersfontein Wine Estate looked like a war zone with mud-caked and drenched riders more or less passing out across their bikes’ handlebars, not able to speak a word.

It took Knox nearly 30 minutes after he had finished, to recover sufficiently to be able to take part in a normal conversation.

Those who saw Knox racing do not hesitate to describe it as one of his best ever performances.

About 25km from the finish, with the weather conditions at their worst, he simply left the rest of the riders behind to finish more than 11 minutes ahead of the rider in the second place, David George (Nedbank360Life) with Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka) in third.

According to Zoon Cronjé, official race photographer, Knox’s ride over the last 15 kilometres was gripping stuff.

"Max was basically frozen on his bike. It was only pure guts that kept him going until the end. At one stage he was wondering who was leading the race, not realizing that he was miles ahead."

The ever modest Knox said afterwards that the reasons why he won was because all the right stars were in line for him and also because he went into the race with a proper game plan.

"Initially it was not my goal to try and win the SA title, but when I won the Clover Road Cycling Tour last weekend, I realized that I was in good form," said Knox.

"I rode the course of the MTN Gravel Travel once before the race and realized that it was going to be a truly hard man’s race. That is why I decided not to over-exert myself during the first half of the race, but rather save my energy for when it really matters."

"For once my luck held, which meant that I had no mechanical problems throughout the race. Going into the second feed zone there were still about 12 of us riding together.

"Shortly afterwards, when the rain really started to pour down, I made my move because I realized that the severe weather conditions would favour me.

"Fortunately I am one of those riders who are not easily affected by the weather, but I knew that many of the other riders would be battling. I actually made the most of the bad conditions."

Ryan Gould commented: "MTN would like to congratulate our newly crowned champions who not only rose to the challenge nature pitted against them but also triumphed over a very classy field. MTN would like to thank everyone making this yet another world class event."

Stander takes unexpected win in demanding conditions

On Saturday (24 August) the female version of the South African Marathon Mountain Bike Championship (MTN Gravel Travel) developed into a classic example of three favourites watching each other, with the fourth riding away with the spoils.

Cherise Taylor (now Stander) (Momentum-Toyota), the current SA time-trial champion, caused one of the biggest upsets in recent years when she managed to outride all the pre-race favourites. This means that she was, in all probability, only the second South African road cyclist who was able to win a national mountain-bike title, as well as a SA road title, in the same year.

Anke Erlank was probably the first rider who managed to do this. Three weeks before the MTN Gravel Travel, Taylor won the first stage of the La Route de France (female version of the Tour de France). These two victories should surely give the selectors and decision makers of Cycling SA some food for thought, especially after the controversial way in which they dropped Taylor from the women's road team for the Olympic Games in London.

One of the female riders commented after the race that Taylor certainly provided CyclingSA with a sticky toffee by winning the national mountain-bike title. Ariane Kleinhans (Contego) finished second and Ischen Stopforth (Bizhub) was third.

Taylor admitted afterwards that the MTN Gravel Travel was one of the hardest races in which she has ever competed.

"I will be honest. Over the last ten kilometres I was constantly on the verge of tears. I was in severe pain and so tired, but I made a promise to myself that, come what may, I was not going to give up. Winning a national mountain-bike title is really special. I basically went into the race blind, not knowing what to expect.

"My only race tactic was to make sure that I stay with Ariane (Kleinhans) because I knew that she was the strongest rider."

What makes Taylor's victory even more special is that she has not competed in a mountain-bike race during the past two months. Stopforth was full of praise for the way Taylor rode.

"Cherise's victory is definitely another 'feather in the cap' of Mr and Mrs Stander.

"It seems that being married to one of the world's best mountain bikers certainly has its advantages."

Stopforth admits that she slightly underestimated Taylor.

"On the first serious climb Cherise (Taylor), Ariane (Kleinhans), Theresa (Ralph) and I got away in a break.

"Cherise and Ariane were slightly stronger and managed to open a gap, but I was not too worried because I was confident of catching Cherise on the single-track sections or on the last climb later on."

"It never happened. Cherise surprised everybody during the 'Queen of the Mountain' climb when she managed to drop Ariane to ride in front on her own."

Stopforth was full of praise for the single-track sections.

"I think Pieter van Wyk (route designer) has surpassed even himself.

"Racing the single-track sections was like racing the Sani2C, only better. It was an amazing experience.”


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Senior Men 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Craig Boyes3:29:52
2Lourens Luus0:00:01
3Gertjie Heyns0:09:12
4Jurgens Uys0:28:27
5Johnny Diedericks0:30:48
6Oliver Freyer0:59:05
7Wesley Procter1:05:50
8Marthinus Kruger1:07:06
9Azukile Simayile1:10:00
10Sivuyile Kepelele1:10:14
11Pedro Calderon De La Barca1:14:26
12Charl Van Wyk1:16:42
13Louis Jordaan1:19:02
14Paul Gleed1:22:56
15Rudie Kellerman1:24:31
16Reinhardt Venter1:26:29
17Davide Del Fante1:26:52
18Frank Adrian1:32:04
19Johann Smit1:45:53
20Nicholas Bodenstein1:56:02
21Riaan Kok1:59:10
22Thomas Nortier1:59:12
23Ray Van Breda2:00:06
24Grant Kruger2:01:01
25Johan Badenhorst2:02:46
26Chaz Price2:15:06
27Schalk Burger2:15:31
28Michael Anderson2:16:35
29Dylan Smit2:23:54
30Karel Baranrd2:25:34
31Cj Van Staden2:28:14
32Pieter Naude2:28:34
33Stephanus Francois Nieuwoudt2:30:16
34Abri Van Der Merwe2:31:17
35Jaco Schoevers2:36:01
36Spencer Weyers2:36:40
37John Potgieter2:47:36
38Jaco Venter2:48:56
39Albert Bester2:55:23
40Elton Pomer3:00:44
41Karl Schriek3:31:33
42Billy De Lange3:43:27
43Hendrik Jacobus Retief3:48:23
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Senior Women 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cherise Tayler Stander3:55:59
2Ariane Kleinhans0:03:04
3Mariske Strauss0:11:32
4Samantha Sanders0:18:53
5Amy Mcdougall0:27:41
6Emily Clarke0:43:08
7Cherie Vale0:48:08
8Michel Coetzer0:54:45
9Siska Van Der Bijl1:03:58
10Emma Pienaar1:30:06
11Hilke Rode1:47:21
12Colleen De Oliveira1:54:14
13Yolande Van Der Walt3:32:15
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Sub Veteren Men 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1David Low3:41:52
2Hennie Kriek0:12:16
3Taygan Robson0:14:18
4Pablo Morales0:18:00
5Jan Withaar0:29:45
6Heine Lategan0:34:56
7Matt Osborne0:39:54
8Karl Kielblock0:43:36
9Paul Lagesse0:43:48
10Brendon Wilson0:45:34
11Cillie Hamman0:53:13
12Charl Bleach0:54:44
13Jason Deane0:57:18
14Jason Pienaar1:05:54
15Hendrik De Kock1:06:21
16Roalo Brosius1:06:28
17Nat Iqani1:07:24
18Brendan Currin1:11:06
19Niel Du Pisani1:17:51
20Russel Palm1:19:44
21Glenn Norrie1:24:07
22Michiel Venter1:45:18
23Rolfe Van Breda1:48:06
24David Coupar1:49:45
25Andrew Dewey1:49:46
26Neil Mackellar1:54:04
27Marc Theyers1:54:57
28Mark Gething1:55:46
29Heinz EssmannRow 28 - Cell 2
30Niels Luchters2:02:53
31Riaan Van Tonder2:10:46
32Philip Slabber2:14:45
33Werner Bruckner2:14:54
34Graham Redelinghuys2:17:07
35Dieter Gutschow2:18:14
36Clive Berry2:19:34
37Danie Louw2:30:15
38Wayne Southgate2:36:23
39Songo Fipaza2:40:18
40William Openshaw2:40:41
41Carlo Immelman2:48:35
42Grant Clark2:55:27
43Dirk Dircksen3:08:21
44Albertyn Smit3:11:03
45Chris Tyler3:31:44
46Lee Glanville4:11:28
47Bertram Hall4:11:50
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Sub Veteren Women 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Theresa Ralph4:08:19
2Yolande Speedy0:07:24
3Hanlie Booyens0:13:02
4Hanlie Costa2:07:47
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Veteren Men 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nico Pfitzenmaier3:41:35
2Andreas Studer0:04:00
3Russel De Jager0:22:59
4Gustav Hefer0:40:59
5Simon Murray0:41:04
6Martin Epstein0:41:54
7Igna De Villiers0:46:10
8Andrew Ratcliffe0:46:46
9Colin Myers0:47:30
10Lawrence Koff1:09:19
11Ian Coleman1:22:58
12Erik Van Es1:24:39
13Pieter Theron1:24:45
14Niall Evans1:26:39
15Marius Sullwald1:27:03
16Anton Davies1:38:25
17Shaun Frayne1:42:15
18Sirk Loots1:46:13
19Wayne Mare1:48:04
20Rikus Visser1:53:02
21Mario Oosthuizen1:54:59
22Wolfram Finger1:55:01
23Johan Human1:58:42
24Mark Isserow2:00:31
25Stuart Hendler2:00:36
26Pieter Malherbe2:00:39
27Vaughn Roux2:00:40
28Jurgen Orzessek2:02:14
29Johan Conradie2:07:43
30Alexander Van Dyk2:11:20
31Alastair Hops2:13:18
32Schalk Engelbrecht2:18:18
33Daryl Sampson2:18:42
34Carl Malherbe2:24:32
35Willie Malan2:29:19
36Rudi Rossouw2:30:43
37John Hanekom2:46:34
38Johan Du Plessis2:55:49
39Gys Green3:11:20
40Johann Du Plessis3:13:30
41Johan Louw3:24:38
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Veteren Women 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ischen Stopforth4:00:00
2Phelia Burger0:58:11
3Desiree Strydom2:02:05
4Sophia Raw2:09:02
5Debbie Loots3:22:19
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Master's men 70km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Stopforth3:56:14
2Juan Van Deventer0:39:09
3Frank Smuts0:39:11
4Chris Purcell0:58:44
5Robert King1:15:36
6Kabous Marra1:29:37
7Tobie Visser1:37:51
8Derek Hughes2:05:30
9Niel Louwrens3:05:23
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Elite Men 110km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Knox4:56:38
2Dave George0:11:56
3Kevin Evans0:22:37
4Renay Grosutra0:30:14
5Greig Knox0:32:12
6Guylin Van Den Berg0:59:38
7Michael Posthumus1:38:35
8Shaun Rubenstein2:43:22
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Senior Men 110km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Adrien Niyonshuti5:09:14
2Nico Bell0:02:59
3Gawie Combrinck0:07:54
4Charles Keey0:07:56
5Louis-Bresler Knipe0:13:42
6Dave Morison0:32:12
7Jarryd Haley0:45:25
8Heine Engelbrecht0:50:46
9Ernst Bruwer0:51:11
10Réniell Matthysen1:13:26
11Nicholas Hops2:12:54
12Richard Damant2:12:56
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Amature Men 110km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tyrone Van Rooyen7:10:00
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Sub Veteren Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Waylon Woolcock5:14:57
2Neil Macdonald0:02:01
3Brandon Stewart0:08:34
4Petrus Malherbe0:28:14
5Andrew Hill0:29:38
6Hannes Hanekom0:43:27
7Pieter Kriel0:45:26
8Simon Swemmer2:03:43
9Kotie Terblanche2:36:02
10Pieter Strobos2:46:58
11Ashley Marsh3:16:34
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Veteren Men 110km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Johann Le Roux7:46:24
2Waleed Baker0:00:02
3Albert Geldenhuys0:15:34
4Christopher Droomer0:23:32
5Tom Bishop0:45:06
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Master's Men 110km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Conrad7:15:25
2Henry Swart0:23:03


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