Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart effectively drew even as their titanic two-team tussle with Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus continued on the rain-soaked second stage of the RE:CM Knysna 200 on Saturday. The FedGroup-Itec riders held off overnight leaders RE:CM in a tense and tactical sprint to the finish at Thesen Harbour Town to win the 68km stage by a single second in 2:31:04. Little more than half a second now separates Evans and Stewart from Woolcock and Luus, who still lead the overall standings in 5:30:23. Bridge riders Nico Pfitzenmaier and Timo Cooper crossed the line third in 2:35:13 (5:42:54) to retain the same position in the general classification. With Stewart showing signs of struggling soon after the start at Rheenendal, Pfitzenmaier and Cooper put in a couple of big early efforts in near-perfect mountain biking conditions. Woolcock and Luus were able to reel them back each time, with a recovering Stewart and Evans rejoining the leaders among the hills of the Garden Route National Park. The three teams reached the first waterpoint, in the vicinity of Millwood around 18km into the stage, as the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain set in. "I said to Kev that my legs were feeling better," said Stewart. "So he said, 'Buckle in and climb!'" They put in several surges on the ascents on the Goudveld forest loop and continued to work hard at the front of the group. The pace eventually proved too much for the Bridge duo, who were dropped on the technical single track section around the 30km mark. "When we saw the gap, we took it and rode away with the RE:CM boys," said Stewart. At the second waterpoint in the Homtini section of the park, approximately 10km later, Pfitzenmaier and Cooper were one minute off the back. RE:CM and FedGroup-Itec turned up the gas on the Rheenendal road and by the time they hit the new single track near Phantom Pass they had opened a more than two-minute gap on the chasing pair. "I . . .
Waylon Woolcock and national marathon series champion Lourens Luus struck the first blow in what is expected to be an epic duel with Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart on the opening stage of the three-day RE:CM Knysna 200 on Friday. The duo, riding in the colours of RE:CM, outsprinted the FedGroup-Itec riders to take the 77km stage by one second in 2:59:18 in a dramatic showdown on Thesen Islands. The Bridge pairing of Nico Pfitzenmaier and Timo Cooper finished a distant third in 3:07:41. Woolcock said it was an important race for his team and that he and Luus were pleased to have won a stage in an event backed by their employer. "We'd obviously like to take the overall win for them too." Another of the pre-race favourites, the RE:CM Rowers, dropped out of contention quite spectacularly when Olympic gold medallist Matthew Brittain, fourth in the recent opening race of the Nissan TrailSeeker series, rode into a cow as he and his dairy farmer partner Rob Dormehl were attempting to pass a herd. "It was quite a small cow but I was going pretty fast. It must be feeling quite sore," he laughed. The top three teams went hard from the start at the Knysna Elephant Park, with Luus setting up the attack on the first climb of the day just 5km in. "We'd warmed up pretty well, so we thought we'd take a gamble and hit it early," said Woolcock. "The sooner we could put damage into the guys the better." Cooper was an early victim, dropping off the pace on the ascent. Although he and his German partner chased hard on the descent, they were unable to rejoin the leaders. Evans and Stewart stayed on the RE:CM duo's wheel on the next long climb out of the forest and through the first waterpoint at Packwood Country Estate after 28km. "We knew we needed to be in the single tracks first because Brandon and Kevin are pretty quick," said Woolcock. By the second waterpoint, on the dirt road before Petrus se Brand at 53km, Woolcock and Luus realised they would not . . .
Fresh from the national marathon championships this past weekend, the cream of South Africa's mountain bikers will line up for the third edition of the RE:CM Knysna 200 stage race, which starts on the Garden Route on Friday. Among the 300-strong field will be top 10 championship finishers Lourens Luus and Waylon Woolcock, riding in the colours of the title sponsor, as well as Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart of FedGroup-Itec. Luus will make his debut in the three-day event alongside last year's solo category winner Waylon Woolcock. "It will be my first stage race in that area, so I'm looking forward to some great riding," said Luus, who hails from Hazyview in the Lowveld. "Apparently it's a real mountain biker's route with something for everyone. Climbing, technical and scenic sections are what the route designers have in store for us." The Stellenbosch-based rider said his team-mate's knowledge of the 200km route would certainly work to their advantage. "Knowing a route is vital to winning a stage event like this one. Knowing on which sections to go hard, where to pace yourself and what lies ahead before starting is crucial for mental preparation. "Also knowing when technical sections are approaching helps with positioning yourself in the bunch." The racing upfront is expected to include the Bridge pairing of Timo Cooper and Nico Pfitzenmaier, as well as Olympic gold medallist Matthew Brittain and another former SA rower Rob Dormehl. Brittain impressed when he placed fourth, a mere three seconds behind winner Nico Bell, in the opening event of the Nissan TrailSeeker series just over a week ago. Luus said the daily stages, at an average distance of 67km, were shorter than many other events on the calendar but that the racing would by no means be easier. "I think, at this point in the season, it's better as we will be ending a big racing block in Knysna and are a bit fatigued. Also, the shorter, punchier stages will make it a bit more . . .
The opening kilometres of the Kia Walkerville Mountain Bike Classic, presented by ASG, will separate the men from the boys as riders ascend to the highest point in Southern Gauteng on the morning of July 14. The 16th edition of the province's favourite (and coldest) winter challenge will quickly warm the legs as participants spin up the infamous 3km Platberg climb, which starts at the 7km mark and sits 1 830m above sea-level. The agony and the exquisite views are purely for the 60km feature race competitors however, as the 30km bunch detour around the hill. But, says route designer Ken Davies, getting to the top of Platberg is just the beginning, as the descent has eroded over the years, which has created some technical excitement. "Coming down the other side has always been a bit of a challenge," he says. According to Davies, Walkerville, which is one of the long-standing events on the local calendar, has maintained a consistent focus on true mountain biking. "It's always been a proper mountain bike race, with a fair bit of technical stuff and a lot of single track," says Ken. "And it's blimmin' cold!" The 69-year-old, who has been involved with the race since its inception, says the route relies on a rideable mix of single and jeep track, as well as district road to help riders recover. "It's fast and flowing. The total ascent is around 950m and, while there are climbs, they're not too radical. "The course really suits an all rounder – we've never had any roadies shaping on this one." This year, says Davies, the route will pass through the Stirrup Club game farm, via the Eye of Africa Golf Estate, for the first time in three years. "The route climbs past the old slate mine on the farm. The shorter route then loops back towards the finish, while the 60km riders can look forward to some good single track sections through the Eikenhof plots." He says riders will also pass the Windhoek Brewery before hitting a short tarred stretch . . .
Riders looking for a place at this year's FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race will have one last chance when the final call for online entries takes place at 10am on Monday, June 3. According to organiser Gary Green, the eighth edition of the stage race, which rolls through KwaZulu-Natal in October, is almost fully subscribed with just a few slots still available. "All the events will close as soon as they are full," said Green. He said Monday would be the only opportunity for riders to get an entry for the three-day Descent and Great Trek events, as well as the original two-dayer. "Only those riders who are on the waiting list will be able to log in on the website from 10am. "So you must get on the waiting list before Monday. It's first come, first served on the day, so whoever logs on quickly and pays at the correct time will get in." Successful entrants' status will change on the website once their entry payment has been confirmed, he said. Unlike the other two team-based events, the Great Trek would also offer a solo category, said Green. "We added the Great Trek last year due to popular demand. It's an exclusive mid-week event aimed at riders who prefer to ride in a smaller field and enjoy the luxury of individual tents." The FedGroup Berg & Bush starts with the 228km Descent for professional and competitive riders on October 11, with the more intimate Great Trek field tracing a similar 205km route four days later. The event wraps up with the 110km two-day race from October 19. "There have been some major route changes this year to avoid tar roads as much as possible," said Green. "We are always improving and adding innovations to cater for the true mountain biking enthusiast." The Descent and Great Trek start in the Northern Drakensberg near Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State. Unlike previous years, Emseni Camp on the banks of the Tugela River in the Central Berg will be the finishing venue for all three . . .
Eastern Cape fans will be able to see some of the top mixed martial arts fighters in the country in action at Port Elizabeth's The Boardwalk in June. Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports around the world, and is very popular in Gauteng, with the local events being every bit as exciting as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), says Chris Bright of Imagine Fighting Championships (FC) staged in the United States. Imagine FC decided to stage the event at The Boardwalk to break away from any “cage fighting” stereotypes and highlight the martial arts aspect of the sport, he says. “This shows the versatility of the Boardwalk International Convention Centre. It is big enough to take a ring-like structure surrounded by hundreds of seats,” says The Boardwalk general manager Clifford Ngakane. The spectacle attracts millions of fans from around the world because of its speed and energy. “Mixed martial arts viewership now outstrips boxing by quite some way. “Fights are fast paced because the mixed martial arts format allows for it more than boxing. “In professional fights the duration of a bout is three rounds of five minutes each. “The pace is generally quite high with fighters looking to end the matches from minute one in a variety of ways from knockouts to submissions,” he says. The event will be taking place at The Boardwalk Convention Centre, Port Elizabeth on Saturday, June 15 from five in the evening. The one night event is open to male and females aged from eleven to fifty who wish to come watch eighteen martial arts fighters battle it out. Tickets can be purchased at Computicket for R350.00, R250.00 and R120.00 per person. URL: Twitter: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SiyathethaCommunications?ref=ts&fref=ts YouTube: Author: Christena Crause from Siyathetha Communications. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: One To gain access to One image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this . . .
The 10km Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa on 24 November will literally be an ‘eye-opening’ adventure for the runners taking part in support of ORBIS, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to saving sight worldwide. ORBIS is on a mission to eliminate preventable blindness throughout the world and is hard at work here in South Africa and Ethiopia doing exactly that. Since 1982 ORBIS has worked in 90 countries, enhanced the skill of over 330,000 health care professionals and helped establish services that have provided quality eye care to more than 23.3 million people, 7 million of which were children. ORBIS has been partnering with the Great Ethiopian Run to raise funds for their sight-saving work for the past five years. Last year 41 runners from Ireland, UK and South Africa took part, jointly raising R568 878 whilst having an unforgettable experience. The Great Ethiopian Run was started in 2001 by legendary marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie. Since then it has become Africa’s biggest road race with over 36 000 participants. At over 2 300 metres above sea-level it is also one of the highest road races in the world. It is renowned for its great vibe, as a river of runners in matching t-shirts cascade through the streets of this high-altitude African city. As well as running the 10km race, the ORBIS team will visit the Entoto Mountains, enjoy a traditional Ethiopian meal, meet Haile Gebrselassie and see for themselves the impact ORBIS is making with a visit to Addis Ababa’s ORBIS Paediatric Eye Care Centre. How much to take part? Every ORBIS runner commits to raising a minimum of R25 000: that is a contribution of R10 000 for ORBIS’s fundraising efforts plus R15 000 to cover the full travel package which includes: economy flights between Johannesburg and Addis Abba; airport transfers, four nights 4-star accommodation at the Addis Hilton; meals (breakfasts and dinners); race entry and kit; a tour to the Entoto mountains; a year’s subscription to . . .
Legendary athlete Zola Budd’s dreams of a silver medal in this year’s Comrades Marathon were shattered today, when she had to withdraw from the iconic ultra-marathon due to medical reasons. A devastated Budd saw months of hard training and mental preparation come to nought as she has contracted a viral infection and has been advised by medical experts not to take part in the gruelling race. Budd arrived in the country prior to her second Comrades attempt last weekend and whilst spending some time with her family, started developing mild flu symptoms. As her condition deteriorated with the onset of fever and aching muscles, Budd was taken to the Milpark Emergency Unit, where blood tests confirmed a viral infection. Dr Graham Monteith, head of the Milpark Hospital emergency department, seriously recommended that Budd withdraw from the Comrades. “Although flu symptoms mostly show up as a sore throat or common sniffles, the flu virus can also literally infect your muscle tissue, and the heart is a muscle that can also be affected. Running an event as gruelling as the Comrades could cause heart muscle damage and lead to myocarditis, which can cause sudden cardiac arrest, or a loss of muscle tissue and decreased efficiency in the blood pumping capability of the heart,” explained Dr Monteith. As a competitive sportsman himself, Dr Monteith was sympathetic to her desire to race, but cautioned Budd against competing. “I have seen too many of my fellow athletes compete despite flu symptoms and pay the price. Some died. Many of them never recovered completely to reach their full ability again. If you end up with a myocarditis, you will be out of commission and be unable to even train for up to 6 to 12 months.” Zola is obviously very disappointed as she had been training hard and was set for a silver medal attempt. “I was really happy with my fitness levels and satisfied with my preparations for Comrades. I spent many solitary hours on the road as part of my . . .
University of Johannesburg student Jeromy Andreas has stepped out of obscurity into the spotlight after winning the national elite 10km road title last week. The track specialist said he surprised even himself when he beat seasoned roadrunners to the title in Durban last Sunday. “I just went there to run for fun as part of the USSA (national student) team. It wasn’t my intention to win at all,” said the 21-year-old, who has already qualified for the world university championships in Russia in July. But when he saw the pace in the closing kilometre, the U23 national 1 500m champion said he knew he could take the win. “On track we run much faster and finish much stronger. So when I saw what these road guys were doing with a kilometre to go, I knew there was no way they would outsprint me.” The second-year transport management student, who has a personal best of 3:48 over 1 500m, turned on the afterburners and sprinted the last 500 metres to claim his first senior national title in 29:03, after winning the junior section three years ago. Andreas said the victory had now thrust him into the spotlight. “People are now asking, ‘Who’s Jeromy and where does he come from?’” Among them is former 10 000m Olympic silver medallist Elana Meyer, who is hosting a camp for young athletes who show potential for the Rio Olympics in 2016. “My goal is to go to the 2016 Olympics and do the 5 000m or 10 000m event. Then I want to medal at the next one, possibly in the marathon.” Andreas, who will take part in the 1 500m and 5 000m races in Russia, said he was working up to the longer distances. “If you go for the longer distances too soon, you can mess your whole career up. “I’m focusing on track for now. But by the age of 25 or 26 I’d preferably move onto the road and try to improve my times there.” He said road running presented a fresh tactical challenge for him. “On track we just run fast and qualify. But on road you must wait and have patience . . .
Some of the country’s top mountain bikers will head a capacity field when the third edition of the RE:CM Knysna 200 stage race rolls out on June 7. The title sponsor’s Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus, who finished second at the recent Old Mutual joBerg2c, will be looking for a rematch with champion Brandon Stewart, who saddles up with solo category winner Kevin Evans under the FedGroup-Itec banner. Also in the mix at the three-day Garden Route race will be last year’s runner-up Timo Cooper, riding alongside Germany’s Nico Pfitzenmaier in the colours of Bridge. The women’s race will feature the likes of 10-time Absa Cape Epic finisher Hannele Steyn and eight-time national road champion Anriëtte Schoeman, who made her off-road debut at last week’s Nedbank sani2c. The event will also be sporting celebrity firepower in the form of TV doctor Michael Mol, ex-Springbok rugby player Victor Matfield and two Olympic athletes – pole-vaulter Okkert Brits and rower Matthew Brittain, who was sixth at joBerg2c. According to race director Patric Mosterd of Garden Route Events, the 200km route through tough terrain was ideally suited to riders with moderate to advanced technical abilities and fitness. “It’s definitely a challenge for the average rider who works for a living but is passionate about getting out into the mountains. “It’s also perfect for the racing snakes to race from beginning to end.” Mosterd said the race had grown by 40 percent from the previous year, forcing organisers to cap the field at 300 entries to ensure a premium experience for riders. “That means no queues, lots of personal attention and maximum rider enjoyment, which ensures a quality event for everyone, including our sponsors.” The 75km first stage, which includes 1 580m of ascent, starts at the Knysna Elephant Park and heads out towards Wittedrift before climbing up towards Protea Wilds Retreat. Mosterd said the leaders would probably have an opportunity to open a gap . . .