Overnight leaders Andrew Hill and Shaun-Nick Bester put the hammer down from the start to surge to stage and overall victory on the final day of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain-bike race at Addo today. The TIB-Silverback-Best4Sport team won their second stage of the three-day event at the Zuurberg Mountain Village just outside Port Elizabeth to take the title in 8:53:46. After a sluggish start to the event, RSA Web's Stuart Marais and Renay Groustra placed second on today's 50km stage to rise to fourth in the general classification. Yesterday's winners, Aiden Connelly and Rogan Smart (Bike Shop-Scott-Strocam), placed third to keep their second place in the standings in 9:02:05. East London's Jason Peach and Jason Reed were fourth today to place third overall in 9:05:55. The women's race was won by Ascendis Health-Spur's Ariane Luthi and Robyn de Groot, who dominated the event from start to finish to relegate the experienced Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk) into a distant second. It was the Durban-based Hill's third triumph in four years after back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016, while Bester, from Pretoria, was making his debut in the tough Eastern Cape race. The outcome represented a remarkable comeback by Hill and Bester after a serious mechanical on Saturday saw them lose all but two seconds of their nine-minute advantage. "It really was something of a miracle because we were able to secure the bolt we needed to fix Andrew's problem from another rider who had also suffered a mechanical," said Bester, who turned to mountain biking this season after a stint on the road in Europe. "After that delay, we never thought we would keep our lead but we just went as hard as we could from then on. "Saturday's problem meant we were still stressing quite a bit for today's stage and hoping that we would not have any further problems. "From the start, we decided just to ride as hard as possible to try to build up a lead in case . . .
The young Plettenberg Bay team of Aidan Connelly and Rogan Smart seized the moment to claim victory on the second stage of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain-bike race today. The Bikeshop-Scott-Strocam pair blitzed the tough 88km course in a time of 3:40:49 to beat Jason Peach and Jason Read and Renay Groustra and Stuart Marais (RSA Web) to the finish at the Zuurberg Mountain Village outside Port Elizabeth. Overnight leaders Andrew Hill and Shaun-Nick Bester (TIB-Silverback-Best4Sport), who set the early pace, suffered a serious mechanical before the first water point and later a puncture to cross the line in fourth. They were able to maintain their lead in the general classification, but their nine-minute cushion was slashed to two seconds over the Plett riders - setting up a thrilling grand finale. Peach and Reed are third overall, just under three minutes off the pace. Connelly, 19, said he and his 20-year-old teammate were thrilled with the outcome, even though it "was completely unexpected". "It was really amazing to come home first. This is our first ever stage win in a major race." He said their game plan was to try and stick with the leaders "until we blow". Hill and Bester broke away to take an early lead until they suffered their mechanical, which allowed a number of teams to pass them at the first water point. "At that point we formed a group in front with Jason and Renay and Reinhard [Zellhuber] and Marc [Fourie]," he explained, while Reed and Peach caught them later. The four teams stuck together for a large part of the stage until Reed and Peach gapped their breakaway companions on the way down Gower's Gauntlet with about 25km to go. They were eventually reeled in and dropped by Connelly and Smart with 14km left. "Once we managed to overtake them we put our heads down and time-trialled to the finish," said Connelly, admitting they did not know what to expect in their maiden appearance at the PwC Great Zuurberg . . .
Andrew Hill and Shaun-Nick Bester exerted pressure from early on to emerge as the team to beat after the first stage of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain-bike race today. The three-day event got under way in good conditions from the Zuurberg Mountain Village, about 70km outside Port Elizabeth, with competitors facing 71km with 1 300m of ascent. The duo, racing in the colours of TIB-Silverback-Best4Sport, completed the course in 2:46:05 to establish a handy nine-minute lead in the overall standings. Reinhard Zellhuber and Marc Fourie (Home Ice Cream-Garrun Insurance) crossed the line in second, closely followed by Aiden Connelly and Rogan Smart (Bike Shop-Scott-Strocam). The women's pairing of Swiss star Ariane Luthi and multiple national mountain-bike champion Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health Spur) swept to first place in a time of 3:04:11. They were followed home by Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill (Galileo Risk), with Imke van der Westhuyzen and Jennifer Cilliers in a distant third. After charging ahead in the first 10km of the stage, Hill said they tackled the Seven Dwarfs Drop into the river valley fairly conservatively. "On this technical descent Reinhard and Marc, probably taking a few more chances than we did, closed the gap," he said. "But on the climb to the first water point we were able to put the pressure on again and managed to create a nice gap." From that point on Hill, who won the race in 2015 and 2016, said they coasted comfortably along the flatter sections while adding some pressure where they could. "It was a case of rolling along, but with some force where possible, while also making sure we kept something in the tank for tomorrow," he added, referring to the 88km queen stage. The final outcome was everything they could have hoped for, he said. "Shaun-Nick is very strong so it's great to have someone like that with you. He has good experience of riding tours and knows exactly what we need to do in a stage race . . .
Cape Town, South Africa: Caveau, the comprehensive software platform and service designed to simplify financial transactions and protect personal and financial data, has announced it’s partnering with Grindrod Travel to reduce its risks of GDPR and PCI-DSS. As one of the most established and respected travel management companies providing corporate and leisure related travel and conferencing services in South Africa, it was imperative to find a solution for safely handling credit cards and personal information of its a broad range of clients. With multiple deadlines for meeting compliance security standards for account and personal data protection looming, Caveau was able to quickly assess the travel management company’s challenges and deliver customized solutions for addressing their unique requirements. The addition of Grindrod Travel to Caveau’s client roster emphasizes the pressing need for flexible and affordable support dealing with compliance regulation worldwide. Says Gregg Scott-Brown Caveau Managing Director, South Africa based in Cape Town, “We’re excited to be working with Grindrod Travel and other hotels, agencies and a broad range of travel-related businesses in South Africa to decrease dangers and liabilities associated with GDPR and PCI-DSS.” According to Grindrod Travel Divisional Executive, Su Moller, being a single division of a large logistics company with its own IT department presented a variety of complexities in finding a solution. “The technology providers I approached to help us insisted on performing a vulnerability scan of the Travel Division, which was difficult to accomplish without including the entire organization. Time was ticking and we had to move fast. When we were referred to Caveau, their team got right to work on developing a secure vault to store our client’s credit card and personal details,” says Moller. Says Brian Dass, Caveau CSO, “Grindrod Travel’s large client database and the sheer volume of daily . . .
York High will be seeking their third title in a row when the South Western Districts leg of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge takes place in George on Saturday. The defending champions will host the event at the Quarry astro and coach Erica Combrink said they were excited to again be part of the tournament. At this stage, four of the qualifying tournaments have been held to decide the provincial finalists who will meet at Woodridge, just outside Port Elizabeth, on August 11. In the mix so far are Kingswood (PE Inland winners), Alexander Road (PE Coastal), Hudson Park (East London Coastal) and Kingsridge (East London Inland). York have been the front-runners in the SWD tournament, edging Oakhill for the honours two years ago and Outeniqua in last year's final. Despite their success in previous years, Combrink knows that it will not be plain sailing when they get down to action on Saturday. "With the shortened 20-minute format of the competition it definitely makes the day very entertaining," said the York coach. "It puts pressure on all the teams and forces a situation where you have to try to create opportunities early in the game to try to get a lead." Combrink acknowledged that each team would have their own strategy going into the tournament, but said the emphasis would always be on scoring goals. A total of eight schools will compete in the Hockey Challenge at York. They are Langenhoven (Riversdal), Point High (Mossel Bay), Oudtshoorn High, Langenhoven Gymnasium (Oudtshoorn), Knysna High, Glenwood House (Knysna), Outeniqua (George) and York (George). While Saturday's tournament brings all the South Western Districts teams together, Combrink said she felt the final tournament to take place at Woodridge was a worthwhile concept. "I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the regional winners to compete against each other as you come up against teams you would not necessarily play in your regular . . .
Agri Eastern Cape president Doug Stern described last week’s landmark agreement between the organisation and the provincial Department of Roads and Public Works as a victory for rural road users in the province. In a letter to Eastern Cape farmers, Stern said the agreement, which was endorsed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, will see Agri EC becoming a formal contributor to the annual provincial budgetary process on roads. “Being granted this facility is highly unusual,” said Stern. “It means that we will be able to make representation and assist in identifying which rural roads require the most urgent attention.” Going forward, he said it was agreed that the organisation would now meet with the Department of Transport’s roads division on a quarterly basis to discuss maintenance programmes on the roads affecting rural farming communities. Stern said a sum of R15 million had been earmarked for urgent road repairs within the next six months. “Should the department run out of money and not be able to allocate the agreed budget, the agreement provides that they must approach both the national and provincial Treasury and all other stakeholders they consider necessary to fulfil their undertaking.” It was also agreed that there would be ongoing judicial supervision by the High Court in Grahamstown of progress made on road repairs and maintenance by the Department of Roads, he said. “The Court has ordered that all costs relating to this case are carried by the Department, which, in my opinion, is significant and constitutes a victory for both our members and rural road users in the Eastern Cape,” said Stern. He said the agreement did not provide for compensation for individual farmers who had undertaken rural road maintenance at their own cost. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
In a superbly contested final, Kingsridge edged Queenstown rivals Girls' High to win the East London Inland leg of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in King William's Town on Sunday. This makes it a hat-trick of titles for the King outfit and they will again represent the region in the provincial finals to be played at Woodridge, near Port Elizabeth, on August 11. Tournament director Bev Forword said it was another wonderful family day of hockey and fun "all made possible by SPAR". "Nine teams took part from as far afield as Aliwal North, Bedford and Burgersdorp," she said. "For some of these schools it is the only tournament they participate in during the hockey season and they certainly enjoyed the festivities. "There was live music, spot prizes, plenty of food and lots of exciting hockey." In the preliminary stage, Kingsridge topped pool A, with Aliwal North the runners-up, while Queenstown Girls' High headed pool B, with Burgersdorp second. "In a super final, Kingsridge narrowly shaded Queenstown Girls' High 1-0," said Forword. "The play-off for third and fourth spot saw Aliwal North come out tops against Burgersdorp, also 1-0." Kingsridge coach Mark Taljaard said they were delighted at winning again, but were also thrilled at the massive support the tournament received from the local community. "I think the people of King and the supporters of schools like Kingsridge, De Vos Malan and St Christopher's were fantastic in the way they got behind the event," he said. "The final was extremely well contested, much like our recent derby, which we also won 1-0. "Queenstown put a lot of pressure on us at the start, but we were eventually able to get the winning goal through Charmone' Theron from a penalty corner." SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said this tournament had a "special feel about it". "It was really great to see schools like Burgersdorp, Aliwal North and Templeton, who . . .
Kingsridge are not taking anything for granted as they seek a hat-trick of wins when the East London Inland tournament of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge is played in King William's Town on Sunday. As the hosts, Kingsridge will be competing in familiar territory, but coach Mark Taljaard said there would be plenty of tough opposition as nine schools vie for the title. Since the inaugural tournament in 2016, Kingsridge have twice won the Inland event to qualify for the provincial finals and they will be fielding an experienced line-up. Taljaard said they had lost only three players from last year, which helped to maintain a sense of continuity. But he acknowledged that there would be no easy games in a tournament played over a shortened format of 20 minutes for each match. "Our form has not been bad this year, but Girls High School from Queenstown are going to be a very tough outfit," said Taljaard. "They are a quite different team from last year and although we beat them 1-0 in our annual derby at the weekend, they will be a side to watch." He said they would be delighted to win the event for the third straight year, but felt that teams such as Aliwal North and Burgersdorp would also provide stiff opposition. "The format of the tournament means anything can happen in 20 minutes, so we will take every game as a final. "Our strategy focuses on trying to keep possession and aim for a goal early in the game. "If you can do that it puts pressure on the opposition and they start chasing the game, which sometimes opens an opportunity to sneak a second goal. "But, in saying that, sometimes you also like a closer game and try to get ahead in the last two or three minutes. That puts a lot of pressure on the opposition to make up the deficit." Taljaard said the SPAR Hockey Challenge continued to be an integral part of their annual programme. "SPAR have really done well with this initiative," he said. "It adds some . . .
East London real estate entrepreneur Xoliswa Tini is to expand her 15-year old business to other provinces later this month and become the first black 100% owned female franchise in South Africa. The University of Cape Town graduate says that key role players like investors and developers are excited about the development and see opportunity for a strong black African brand with a nationwide presence. The teacher-supermarket owner-turned-real estate entrepreneur started Xoliswa Tini Properties (XTP) in 2003 after a successful two years career with one leading national estate agency brands. Fifteen years later Xoliswa Tini Properties is a tried and tested brand, with massive possibilities of growth and this, in turn, means opportunities for black entrepreneurs,” explains Tini. The business has had a good run and now has a footprint in East London, King William’s Town and Gauteng with over 70 agents and 12 permanent employees. But it is the difficulties that she faced as one of the first black agents in the city, that has helped Tini create a compelling vision for the business and the drive to leave a legacy for other black entrepreneurs and address the market schism in the industry. She explains that only eight per cent of the more than 50,000 registered estate agents in South Africa are black, an improvement on the four per cent in 2007 but nowhere close to the target of 35% that was meant to be achieved by 2012. This doesn’t come as news to Tini who understands the challenges for new entrants. “This is a commission-based business so entrants need to be financially-sufficient for anything around six months. In addition, they need workplace experience and a supportive mentoring and training system,” she explains. “That’s why we established an accredited black academy in the Eastern Cape which provides NQF 4, NQF 5 and RPL training and workplace experience,” she says. But the Burgersdorp-born Tini explains that “we need to find ways to . . .
Hudson Park reclaimed the title in the East London Coastal tournament of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in a thrilling final against Clarendon in East London on Sunday. Hosted by Stirling, the third edition of this competition produced another exciting day of hockey, with the matches taking place in fine weather and in an excellent spirit. The Hudson Park outfit were the East London Coastal winners in 2016, but saw Clarendon claim the honours in last year's competition. Clarendon went on to win the provincial title. This time, however, Hudson had the edge in a final which tournament director Bev Forword said delivered a high-quality contest. "In all, eight teams took part, with Cambridge, Stirling, Clarendon and Hudson reaching the semifinals," she said. "Clarendon beat Cambridge 2-0 and Hudson beat Stirling by the same margin to go through to the final. "In a fine display of skills from both sides, the final developed into a fast-moving game from one end of the field to the other. Hudson eventually ran out winners 2-0." The Hudson team will now join other regional winners Kingswood (Port Elizabeth Inland) and Alexander Road (PE Coastal) in the provincial finals to be played at Woodridge, just outside PE, in August. SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said they appreciated the support received in the East London event. "It was another fun-filled, sunny SPAR Hockey Challenge made a little bit extra special with some Mothers' Day hampers and surprises," he said. "There was a really wonderful turnout from families and support groups." He added that just as SPAR sprang plenty of shopping surprises on their customers, so did the teams at the Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge throw up surprises of their own. "While Clarendon seemed very organised and well set to control events in the preliminary rounds, the Hudson Park team always looked like an outfit who could upset the applecart," he . . .