Second-year law student Willie Smit swept to a convincing victory in the three-day Bestmed USSA national cycling championships in Port Elizabeth on Friday. Smit, who races for the University of Pretoria and the Bonitas pro team, won four of the five stages and finished third in the final criterium. The 20-year-old took the yellow jersey on day one and did not relinquish it again. Stellenbosch University's Hans-Werner Heuer put in a strong showing to finish second overall, with Marinus Prinsloo rounding out the podium for host institution Shukuma-NMMU. In the women's race, former pro Sarah Chemaly and team-mate Kelley Hess made it a one-two for the University of Cape Town. Ashleigh Blackwell, who rides professionally for the Bestmed ASG outfit, claimed third for Stellenbosch University. "I'm so privileged and happy right now," said a delighted Smit. "My team rode so well. It wouldn't have been possible without them." Their combined performance also helped Tuks to secure the overall victory in the team classification. Shukuma-NMMU took the runner-up spot, with the Maties squad in third. Smit was full of praise for the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's organising committee. "The best thing about this tour was how well it was organised. Everything was perfect – the roads were nice and their route choices were brilliant." The newly crowned champion now turns his attention to his pro racing commitments as he prepares to compete in the Knysna Cycle Tour on Sunday. "This time I'll be working for somebody else but that's the nature of cycling." Earlier in the week, Cape Peninsula University of Technology student Timo Cooper won the mountain biking event on a technical cross-country circuit at Hopewell Trails just outside the city. The women's race was won by Emily Clarke of UCT. Visit www.nmmu.ac.za Issued by: Full Stop Communications Coetzee Gouws 082 575 7991 041 368 . . .
Cape Peninsula University of Technology's Timo Cooper showed his class when he won the national student mountain biking title at the Bestmed USSA cycling championships in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. Cooper, who rides professionally for Team Bridge, demonstrated his technical skills on an undulating 50km cross-country circuit at Hopewell Trails just outside the city. He crossed the line first in 1:36:08, 39 seconds clear of the University of Cape Town's Greig Knox, while CPUT team-mate Adriaan Louw overcame mechanical problems to take third in 1:42:10. "I had a lucky day. It was a proper cross-country course, with loads of technical descents, climbs and good single track," said Cooper, who podiumed with German partner Nico Pfitzenmaier in the recent RE:CM Knysna 200 stage race. "I'm targeting both the mountain bike and road events, so this is a good start." According to Cooper, the race started at a conservative pace on the 7km flat stretch that linked the start/finish area to the 5km loop, which the riders had to do eight times. "It was the type of course where you knew that if you went into the lap first, you'd come out first," said Cooper. Stellenbosch University's Dominic Calitz was the first to show intent when he attempted a breakaway on the first technical downhill, but a puncture put paid to his efforts. Former Wines2Whales winner Louw then set a high tempo on the ensuing climb and, with only Cooper able to follow, the CPUT riders opened up a gap on the chasers. "We got away and rode nicely together," said Cooper. "On the downhill he'd drop me and then I'd ride hard to catch him again on the climb." The two drove the pace upfront on the first three laps until disaster struck on the penultimate loop. "On the fourth lap Adriaan punctured and from then on I just rode on my own to the finish." The third-year sports management student said he had ridden hard enough to win but conservatively enough to sustain his energy levels for . . .
Nine of South Africa's top universities will gather in Port Elizabeth next week when the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University hosts the national student cycling championships. The University Sports South Africa event, presented by Bestmed, starts on June 25 with the mountain bike events and the opening stage of the three-day road tour. The reigning champion men's and women's teams, from the University of Pretoria and the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University respectively, will return to defend their titles against some of the country's top up-and-coming talent. According to NMMU's cycling manager Theresa Le Roux, this will be only the second time that the university has hosted the event. The last occasion was in 2008, when the host institution also walked away with the overall honours. Spearheading the Shukuma-NMMU attack this year will be former national downhill racer and team captain Wesley Augustyn, who is also the brother of international pro John-Lee. Gerrit Nel, Marinus Prinsloo, Waldo Gronum, Phillip Erasmus, Henno Cronje, Sean Bos and Matthew Hayter complete the local line-up. "The top rider at the champs this year will definitely be Timo Cooper from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, who is currently one of the top mountain bike racers in South Africa," said Le Roux. Cooper, who races for a pro outfit, finished third overall at last weekend's RE:CM Knysna 200 alongside his German team-mate Nico Pfitzenmaier. Le Roux said the road programme would kick off at 9am on the Wednesday morning with an 84.4km stage for the men and 62.2km for the women from Altona Primary School. This would be followed at 2pm by a 10km time-trial opposite the back entrance of the university on Marine Drive. "Thursday morning it's a 120km stage for the men and 90km for the women, starting at 9am on our South Campus." The racing finishes on Friday with a 2.4km hill climb on the corner of Seaview and Link Roads in the morning and a . . .
One lucky rider's raffle ticket paid handsome dividends when he walked away with R50 000 worth of unit trusts at the recent RE:CM Knysna 200 mountain bike race. Unlike many other stage races, which put the emphasis on prize money for the professionals only, the three-day Garden Route event set out to reward participants across the board. The lucky draw prize, courtesy of the title sponsor, was won by Digby Webb of Little Mowbray in Cape Town. A delighted Webb, who finished 71st overall alongside team-mate David Jones, said he had thoroughly enjoyed his debut at the event. "Despite the chilly wet weather, the vibe was festive, my bike held out and we had a very consistent result. "The organisation was great, the food was perfect and of course the mountain biking and routes were top-notch. I even got to ride a bit with Victor Matfield – how awesome is that?" The 44-year-old said he had decided to enter the R250 raffle because it was in aid of a good cause. All proceeds went to the development of underprivileged youngsters at the Knysna Sport School. Webb, who works in IT infrastructure consultancy and sales, said he already had plans for his long-term investment. "I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is saving for my two daughters' tertiary education." In an increasingly tough economic climate, he said the investment fit perfectly with his existing portfolio. "One always feels as though, with inflation, you can never be too confident that you have all your bases covered." According to RE:CM chief executive officer Jan van Niekerk, the prize perfectly echoed the event's rider-centric focus. "It was also imperative for us to give back to the community in the region." As a sponsor of professional mountain biking, Van Niekerk said it was appropriate to support an initiative that developed future sporting talent. "Naturally, RE:CM has an objective of not only sponsoring the race to build brand awareness, but to turn that . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
Fresh from his success at the Old Mutual joBerg2c, Olympic gold medallist Matthew Brittain is set to be more than just a celebrity guest at the three-day RE:CM Knysna 200 mountain bike race next month. Brittain, who finished sixth overall alongside Rob Dormehl in the nine-day event, will once again team up with his fellow rower to take on the Garden Route race from June 7. The 26-year-old oarsman said he hoped his recent achievements on the bike meant that he would be taken seriously in the competitive stakes. “I would way rather be a racing snake than a celebrity guest! When I go slowly ‘for the fun of it’ I don’t really enjoy myself; to me it’s more fun to race a bit and go for it.” This year, he also notched up a 27th place finish in the Absa Cape Epic with Olympic team-mate James Thompson. Brittain said the Knysna race would be an interesting test, as he had only participated in the longer stage races. “I would guess the shorter distance would suit me better but I don’t have the experience to really know where I stand relative to the competition. “I know the terrain down there is incredibly steep so I will be bringing a granny gear and expect the legs to feel like they have done double the distance!” The Centurion resident said he was looking forward to riding the 200km route in and around the Knysna forest. “It will probably be muddy but the route will be spectacular with fantastic riding because it’s in the most beautiful part of our country and renowned for phenomenal trails.” He said Sedgefield farmer and trail builder Dormehl’s knowledge of the area could give their team a slight advantage. “This is Rob’s backyard and I couldn’t wish for a better partner to hit the hills down there with. “But a little knowledge is dangerous as it can lead us to focus on the wrong things. No amount of local knowledge will help us if we can’t compete physically in the actual race, so that’s where 99% of our attention must go.” Brittain . . .
Group 1 Hyundai has announced the launch of the new 2013 Hyundai Veloster at their showrooms in Midrand and Knysna Johannesburg, South Africa 15 April 2013: Group 1 Hyundai has (http://www.group1-hyundai.co.za/) unveiled its latest showroom floor addition with the launch of the 2013 Hyundai Veloster in their Midrand and Kynsna branches. The Hyundai Veloster is the very latest vehicle to be launched by Hyundai in South Africa and comes standard with a host of vehicle extras, including a 7” LCD touch screen display, full Bluetooth integration with video streaming, the iconic 2+1 door configuration the car is known for, 60:40 folding rear seats, a rear-mounted camera with parking assist, automatic climate control, and a host of vehicle safety features. The Hyundai Veloster (http://www.group1-hyundai.co.za/hyundai-veloster.aspx) has looks and styling that incorporate the company’s Fluidic Sculpture Design Ethos and is aimed at the younger market. According to Hyundai South Africa the vehicle is a “unique combination of style, practicality and economy”, all qualities that Group 1 clients look for in a vehicle. Please Note! The Veloster is available in Group 1 showrooms and around the country in Hyundai showrooms from the 5th of April 2013, with prices starting from R259,900 for the 1.6l GDI. END Press release submitted by Justin Atkins at WSI, Cape Town on behalf of Group1 Hyundai. For more PR information, please call WSI Web Marketing Cape Town on 021-913 4382. URL: http://www.group1-hyundai.co.za/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Group1Hyundai Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Group-1-Hyundai/521985357841770 YouTube: Author: Justin Atkins from Group 1 Hyundai. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. . . .
Renay Groustra of South Africa and Daniel Gathof of Germany won the third and final stage of the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 mountain bike race in Knysna on Sunday to secure a comfortable overall victory. The Rocky Mountain-RSA Web team’s time of 3:10:11 over the final 80km was two seconds faster than that of stage-one winners Timo Cooper and Adriaan Louw (Bridge), who had relinquished their overall lead the previous day. Billy Stelling and Rob Dormehl (V&A Market on the Wharf) finished third on the day in 3:15:17. Groustra and Gathof completed the third edition of the 300km race in an aggregate time of 12:18:59. Cooper and Louw, with an overall time of 12:27:46, were more than eight minutes behind after mechanical trouble had effectively sealed their fate on the second stage. Neil Bradford and Tim Osrin (Harvest Foundation) rounded out the podium in 12:55:43. Groustra said the win was particularly meaningful as it was his first outing with Gathof, who is a two-time TransAlp winner in the mixed category. “Our sponsors are also title sponsors of this race, so it means a lot to them and us.” He said they now hoped to secure funding to ride the Absa Cape Epic together. Their lead of close to nine minutes going into the final day had put the pressure firmly on Cooper and Louw. The latter rose to the challenge and turned up the heat within the first 10km on Phantom Pass, but Groustra and Gathof were able to match them all the way to the summit. The two teams stayed together until Louw initiated a breakaway on the big Hydro climb 30km into the race. “We were climbing out of the valley after the first waterpoint when Adriaan went hard off the front,” said Groustra. Cooper and Louw opened up a 40-second gap on the climb but a patient Groustra and Gathof reeled them in shortly thereafter. “And then it was easy after that because they knew they couldn’t get away from us and we felt we didn’t need to open up a bigger lead,” said . . .