It often takes a number of months for the contest to take shape with riders finalising plans close to the event and 2019 has been no different with a number of shuffles and re-shuffles to some of the race favourites right up until race week.
One of the last decisions made was who was going to partner defending women’s champion Sam Sanders for the three days.
Sanders and Amy McDougall cantered to the women’s crown in 2018, but in the absence of McDougall dormakaba’s Sanders was out on a limb and in search for someone to help her defend her title.
The call was made to one of the country’s most decorated marathon racers, Robyn de Groot.
De Groot is still recovering from surgery in January but she responded to the call and the pair of De Groot and Sanders, riding for dormakaba, will be one of the favourites for sure.
In the men’s race it is going to be another exciting instalment with a number of high profile teams and riders set to take on the pristine trails to the coast.
Defending champion Matt Beers of NAD Pro MTB Team was also at a loose end when he was without a partner following some unfortunate incidents at NAD Pro.
Following a stellar career, sani2c veteran Gawie Combrinck chose to retire from competitive riding earlier this year for medical reasons and Beers’ partner from 2018 Nico Bell had to undergo surgery in his stomach.
This coupled with the fact that Wessel Botha was going to be overseas racing on the World Cup circuit meant that Beers was short of a partner.
At the recent African Cross Country Championships in Namibia Beers approached seasoned cross country star Stuart Marais about teaming up for sani2c.
Marais, who was born in Ixopo and lives in Howick, has never ridden in the sani2c, so the opportunity was too good to refuse.
They might have the pedigree but there are a handful of other teams that will be eyeing the top step on the podium.
DSV Pro Cycling’s Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit finished in second place last year and have shown that they are always going to be contenders and this year should be no different.
There will be two PYGA Euro Steel teams on the start line with Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys teaming up along with the youngsters Phillimon Sebona and Pieter du Toit making up the other team.
Beukes teamed up with young Julian Jessop at 2018’s race and finished third but he and Buys are experienced hands and will push to replicate their race win in 2017.
Sebona and Du Toit flew under the radar slightly in 2018 and put in a promising performance to finish in fourth place overall after the three days.
Despite a disappointing withdrawal in 2018, Team Darkhorse Wheels’ Andrew Hill and Shaun-Nick Bester will be back to put their nightmare of twelve months ago behind them.
They are coming off a dominant win at the joberg2c but the quality of the field at the KAP sani2c will mean they will have their work cut out for them if they are to get a top five.
Fighting it with dormakaba for the ladies honours will be Galileo Risk’s Teresa Ralph and Sarah Hill as well as the Bell Equipment duo of Hayley Smith and Desiree Verwey.
Hill and Ralph are in good form following their tenth place overall showing at the 29019 joberg2c so the fight for the top step on the podium should be an exciting one when they set off on Thursday.