Johannesburg’s Adrian Enthoven and Delaney Impey preserved their eight-minute lead to claim overall victory in the taxing three-day Garden Route Rocky Mountain 300 mountain bike race in Knysna on Sunday. The Team Craft pair crossed the line in third on the final stage to secure the honours in 12:32:25 ahead of day one leaders Timo Cooper and Jarryd Haley of Team Rocky Mountain (12:40:15).
Billy Stelling and Riccardo Stermin of Team Daikin Gu were third (12:57:24). Cooper and Haley, from Wellington and Hermanus respectively, bounced back to win the 80km final stage in an exciting three-way sprint in 3:15:07 after relinquishing their overall lead the previous day. They beat Capetonians Stelling and Stermin to the line.
A series of technical difficulties erased Catherine Williamson (Britain) and Yolandi du Toit (Heidelberg) of Team bizhub-FCF’s 15-minute overnight lead to end their title hopes in the women’s race. Fellow bizhub riders Nicci Grobler (Pretoria) and Leana de Jager (Stellenbosch) won the stage in 3:39:41 to take the overall win in a combined time of 14:38:36. Locals Hannele Steyn-Kotze and Chris Nel, of Team Rocket-Medac, made a clean sweep of the stages to win the mixed section in 14:16:33.
Cooper and Haley tried to force an early break by pushing the pace on the first major climb up Phantom Pass, but overnight leaders Enthoven and Impey held on gamely. “We thought we could have a go at them and make up some time, but they just sat on our wheel,” said Haley.
Capetonians Stelling and Stermin also latched on to form a breakaway group of six. “Eventually we all realised we couldn’t get rid of each other, so we decided to pace together and open up a gap on the chasers.”
In his first outing with Impey, Enthoven said he was very pleased with their overall result after he finished runner-up last year. “We took a wrong turn on day one so we had to fight all day to secure second. We started the second day three minutes behind so we rode absolutely flat-out for five hours.
“Today was a bit easier for us. We took it easy, sat in the group and just made sure we didn’t make any mistakes.” He said the race was excellent preparation for next month’s Absa Cape Epic as the conditions were similar.
Enthoven described the 295-kilometre route as “stunning, with a nice mix of forest roads and some of the best single track in the country”. For more info visit www.gardenrouteevents.co.za, follow @In_the_Bunch on Twitter or like the Facebook page.