HB Kruger and Jennie Stenerhag won the men and women’s marathon titles respectively when they triumphed over strong competition at the final round of the 2017 Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series in the Hemel & Aarde Valley near Hermanus on Saturday.
 
In the men’s race, after the early stages had split the field up, a three-way battle began to develop between Kruger (Team BCX), Dylan Rebello (Imbuko Momsen) and Matt Beers (Red-E Cannondale).
 
Unfortunately for Beers, a puncture just before halfway saw him eliminated from the title contest, leaving Kruger and Rebello to fight it out between them. Kruger managed to surge ahead late in the race to claim the victory in a time of 02 hours 37 minutes 09 seconds. Rebello finished second another half a minute later with Dominic Calitz rounding out the podium places in 2:41:11.
 
It was Kruger’s second race win in two weeks and it signaled an upturn in fortune for the Team BCX rider following his four-week break from racing to recover from a broken collarbone.
 
“It was good to finally win my first TrailSeeker race,” smiled Kruger. “Dylan had real vasbyt today and I was really impressed by his ride. I only got a gap on him on a climb with about two kilometres to go.”
 
In the women’s race, Stenerhag (CBC/Abro), the Swedish marathon champion, confirmed her pre-race favourite status by taking the lead 5km in and extending it steadily by the time she crossed the finish in a time of 3:06:48. Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab) finished second in 3:10:00 with Courteney Webb taking third.
 
Stenerhag won this event in 2015 and her victory on Saturday was the continuation of an impressive year, which includes victories at the Tankwa Trek, Absa Cape Epic, TransAlp and Swiss Epic.
 
“It was a tough route, but a good all-round mountain bike challenge. I really enjoyed the event and am pleased to have good form and good health on my return to South Africa from a strong season in Europe,” said Stenerhag.
 
In the Half-marathon event, Junior Rossouw Bekker was the first male home, while Amy Tait, also a Junior, claimed the female title.
 
The Hemel & Aarde event was the fourth and final round of the 2017 Nissan TrailSeeker Series Western Cape. The final points standings are taken from the best three results for each rider. The final standings will be announced this week.