Ixopo - Day one of the Sani2C race, from the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains to the coast at Scottburgh, was taken by the defending champions Darren Lill and Waylon Woodcock in 2h45 minutes.
Making up the podium were some strong contenders, including JoBerg2C runners-up, Johan Rabie and Hendrik Kruger in second, 2’10 seconds, and the JoBerg2C champions, Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell in third.
Combrinck and Bell were early race favourite, but they accepted that stage one was going to be tough for them, as it is a bit of an unfancied sprint stage for the endurance specialists.
What made it even tougher was that Combrinck admitted they were feeling their recent JoBerg2C success in the legs having cycled the 900 km route only two weeks ago.
For Lill and Woolcock, it was a solid strategy of heading out of Glencairn farm guns blazing in order to heap the pressure on the chasers going into the Queen’s stage tomorrow.
The two minute-plus lead may not be race defining, but the winners were happy to put the pressure on the chasers and make them do the racing.
In the Women’s race, it was an incredibly exciting sprint finish for the line as the favourites, Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag - from Sweden - were chasing Candice Neethling and Vera Adrian with five kilometres to go.
The pair of Neethling and Adrian however, could not keep up their courageous racing as they fell behind just before the finish line, leaving De Groot and Stenerhag to claim top honours in 3h13.
1: Darren Lill - Waylon Woolcock:- 02:48:15
2: Johan Rabie - Hendrik Kruger:- 02:50:25
3: Gawie Combrinck - Nico Bell:- 02:50:37
4: Adriaan Louw - Matthew Beers:- 02:52:07
5: Matthys Beukes - Gert Heyns:- 02:53:13
6: Derrin Smith - Timothy Hammond:- 02:55:22
7: Andrew Hill - Tyronne White:- 02:58:53
8: Gordon Gilbert - Paul Theron :-03:01:09
9: Nic White - Grant Usher:- 03:02:15
10: Craig Uria - Andrew Duvenage: 03:02:54
1: Robyn de Groot - Jennie Stenerhag:- 03:13:38
2: Candice Neethling - Vera Adrian:- 03:13:53
3:Theresa Ralph - Samantha Sanders:- 03:26:23
1: Catherine Williamson - Johan Labuschagne:- 03:10:39
2: Yolandi du Toit - Ben-Melt Swanepoel:- 03:12:41
3: Brennan Anderson - Cindy Theunissen:- 03:13:27 - Independent Media