The prologue time trial followed a fairly twisty 15.3km course around Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, an appropriate scene setter for the sixth edition of South Africa’s newest UCI-graded mountain bike stage race.
Starting fifth from last, Bohme and Stiebjahn clocked a time of 36 minutes 07 seconds, which turned out to be 19 seconds faster than South African stage favourites, Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (SCOTT Factory Racing). South African marathon champion, James Reid and his Austrian teammate, Herman Persteiner (Asrin Cycling), rounded out the podium places for the event opener.
“We were actually going for a smooth stage and tried to limit our losses. We knew that SCOTT Factory Racing were the big favourites, as they know this course so well and they won this stage last year. It was a nice surprise!” said a cheery Stiebjahn afterwards.
After finishing third overall at the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic and enjoying good form in recent weeks, Bohme and Stiebjahn fancy their chances of overall victory at the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and will incorporate that goal into their tactics from Stage 1.
In the women’s race, De Groot and Stenerhag, the national marathon champions of their respective countries, clocked a time of 44:45, also 19 seconds ahead of runners-up, Cherise Stander and Candice Neethling (#iride4burry). Former marathon world champion and Olympic medallist, Esther Suss (SUI) and Theresa Ralph (RSA), riding as Team Meerendal Wheeler 1, rounded out the podium places in 47:15.
“That win was totally unexpected!” remarked De Groot. “We really just wanted to ride a safe prologue more than anything else. To get the victory was a bonus and a good confidence booster for the rest of the race.”
In the Solo division, Travis Walker (RSA), Konny Looser (SUI) and Matthew Beers (RSA) were the top three men respectively, while Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Gina Nixon (RSA) and Katja Cauwenbergh (BEL) where the top three women.
Monday’s Stage 1 sees the riders tackle a distance of 100km with 1794m of ascent from Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp.
For more information on the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, visit www.capepioneer.co.za. For race updates, follow @BridgeCPT on twitter and Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek on Facebook.
Prologue time trial results:
1 Simon Stiebjahn (GER) / Tim Bohme (GER) – Team Bulls 36min07sec
2 Philip Buys (RSA) / Matthys Beukes (RSA) – SCOTT Factory Racing 36:26
3 James Reid (RSA) / Herman Persteiner (AUT) – Asrin Cycling 37:45
4 Ismael Ventura (ESP) / Ramon Sagues (ESP) – ESMTB.com 37:57
5 Waylon Woolcock (RSA) / Darren Lill (RSA) – Cannondale Blend 38:04
1 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) / Robyn de Groot (RSA) – Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Co 44:45
2 Cherise Stander (RSA) / Candice Neethling (RSA) – #iride4burry 45:04
3 Theresa Ralph (RSA) / Esther Suss (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 1 47:15
1 Jaco Ferreira (RSA) / Alexander Lamberts (RSA) – Columbia Europcar Bridge 45:22
2 James Tennent (RSA) / David Garrett (RSA) – Giant 2 46:11
3 Jonathan Odendaal (RSA) / Bertus Odendaal (RSA) – Four Brothers 46:30
1 Johan Labuschagne (RSA) / Gerrie Beukes (RSA) – Klein Karoo Veterans 43:21
2 Fanie Venter (RSA) / Wayne McDuling (RSA) – Pynfabriek 45:54
3 Marne Dirks (RSA) / Pierre Griffioen – Bridge Torq Zone Vets 46:05
1 Heinz Zorweg (AUT) / Barti Bucher (SUI) – Meerendal Wheeler 2 41:11
2 Izak Visagie (RSA) / Lieb Loots (RSA) – Wilde 3 45:48
3 Con Malherbe (RSA) / Collin Stroberg (RSA) – Coffeeberry Café 49:01
1 Kobus Barnard (RSA) / Fienie Barnard (RSA) – Klein Karoo Mixed 44:43
2 Vickus Boshoff (RSA) / Anriette Schoeman (RSA) – Sasol Racing Mixed 1 46:38
3 Nizaam Esa (RSA) / Barbara Benko (RSA) – Asrin Cycling 1 46:45
1 Travis Walker (RSA)
2 Konny Looser (SUI) 37:35
3 Matthew Beers (RSA) 38:18
1 Christine Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 50:52
2 Gina Nixon (RSA) 53:02
3 Katja Cauwenbergh (BEL) 54:42
For full results visit www.capepioneer.co.za.