Top place finish for TIB Team
265km, 3301m climbing, 9h05min48sec,
The Sani2c is always a favourite event on my calendar and the 2014 event lived up to the previous 10 years before. Being the 10th year of the race the organisers in true farmer style pulled out all the stops and made a memorable 3 days for everyone to enjoy.
Aside from the brilliant single track one major change to the race was the PG bison barn chill zone at the finish each day. This was a huge favourite for all the riders as they could sit and relax in relative comfort to enjoy coffee tea hot chocolate beers, cakes, chocolates, crunchies and much much more. I certainly made use of the cupcakes on both evenings.
The field was possibly the strongest it had been for a long time with many of the top pros standing on the start line for the 3 day event. There weren’t any conflicts on the calendar for many of the top racers and this provided a well stacked start list. I was teamed up with Darren Lill for the race who had just returned from Joberg2C 2nd overall with a number of stage wins under his belt and was really keen to go for an overall win on the GC.
Our day one was fast paced as it normally pans out with an average speed of over 30kmph by the time we crossed the finish line. The Fedgroup team got a small gap on the first climb and it stuck at about 30 seconds ahead of RECM team and another 30 seconds back to our group which included joberg2c winners EAI Johann Raabie and Garwie Combrink and the Kargo Pro MTB team pairing. We managed a 3rd place on the podium and was within 1 minute of the stage 1 winner Fedgroup ITEC.
Day 1 Results:
3rd RED-E TIB
Started as soon as it was light enough to see the single track and this was about 6:15am. The early start is to allow for the 8hr00 back makers to finish in the light and not have to many safety issues on the last couple of kilometres where traffic could be a hazard.
From the gun there was a break away from the young XC stars from Trek and Kargo who opened up a 4min lead over the chasing group of General Classification riders including ourselves. We knew the two teams wouldn’t make it to the finish at the fast high pace rate they went out and decided to watch our closest contenders in the group. At about 40km into the race I had a nasty crash on a slippery wet bridge which resulted in my derailleur hanger being bent and a huge hematoma on my right quadriceps. The pain was intense and we had now lost the chase group on the section of the race that was particularly flat. Darren and I chased hard trying to manage the pain and limit the losses. We regained contact with the group as the attacks went off the front from Fedgroup and RECM. We couldn’t hold the hard pace or the back wheel of team EAI now just up the road and we both knew we had to get onto the group if our GC hope were to be intact by the finish line. The crash had cost us and we just missed the group as they went onto the flat rolling roads 30km to the finish. We crossed the finish line in 4th place on stage and soon learned Erik from RECM had a big crash 3km from the finish damaging his shoulder in the process and he was out of the race. I rushed straight to the medics tent to see if my injuries would allow me to continue the next day. I was given a tentative clear but was warned I would be very sore the following day.
Day 2 Results:
4th RED- E TIB[dt_divider style=”narrow”/]
started only at 11am to allow for a reverse order start time of the entire field. There was a break off the front again from the young XC teams and the GC teams were again left to chase. Darren and I were the two riders in the group that had the most to lose in the chase and we really tried to put as much pressure on the front as we could. My leg which had been taped up and strapped was hurting and the fast paced start didn’t help the cause. Johann Raabie of EAI helped Darren and I to pace us back to the leading 2 teams of Kargo and Trek but the fast paced route left very little room for error and and the time gap came down to what we had though was manageable by putting us in 3rd place. It all seemed to be on track until we hit the final floating bridge and encountered traffic from the back markers of the last batch to leave Jollivets earlier that morning. Our time was running out and as we crossed the finish line we learned that we were 27 seconds off the time needed to secure our podium position. This was very frustrating as the back markers were not part of our race and had ignored instructions from the race organises to get off the bridge when the top teams were approaching. Unfortunately this is racing and you need to take the good with the bad.
Top 5 Mens Result:
Position & Team
1st Fedgroup Itec: Kevin Evans Max Knox
2nd EAI South Africa Gawie Combrinck Johann Rabie
3rd Kargo Pro MTB Team Rourke Croeser Travis Walker
4th Red – E / TIB Andrew Hill Darren Lill
5th Trek Racing Arno Du Toit Brendon Davids