Riders primed to take on Herald Continental Cycle Tour MTB race
Extreme women’s champion Yolande de Villiers back to defend her title
Riders from across the country are geared up for the first installment of The Herald Continental Cycle Tour with the mountain bike race taking place on Sunday.
Extreme women’s champion Yolande de Villiers will be back to defend the title she won a year ago, but admits the race will be a lot tougher this time around.
De Villiers, who rides for Team Altes Landhaus powered by Madmacs Kawasaki, has contested three national races this year and grabbed three winner’s medals in the process.
“I think my training has been superb. I took a bit of a break late November for about two weeks and got back into it again early December, so it’s been very good,,” she said.
“The thing with mountain biking is that the most important aspect is to protect and look after your bike. The weather can play a big role on the day as well, so one has to be wary of what it could be like on the day but I am ready for anything the race throws my way,” de Villiers said.
De Villiers said she would be going out to do her best in the hope that she can retain the title, but also to try and improve on her time from last year.
“It is going to be a very strong field of women. With the likes of Anriette Schoeman and Siska van der Bijl, it will not be easy but I am going out there and will do my best to make sure I can achieve what I set out to do,” she added.
The race, at Addo Polo Club, will feature three distances including the 80km Extreme, the 60km Adventure and the 30km Leisure ride, in addition to a 5km and 500 metre kiddies race.
A new champion will be crowned at this year’s men’s Extreme race after Malcolm Lange, from agency Lange Sports, confirmed that last year’s champion Gert Heyns will not be back to defend his title. ”
Lange said fellow DSV Pro Cycling rider Arno du Toit will be competing the race on behalf of the team.
Despite taking second place in the Extreme 80km race last year, will not take part this weekend, having picked up an virus recently.
Hill, who races for Team TIB, said the illness had kept him off his bike for a few days and that he was only getting back to training on Wednesday morning.
Another contender gunning for top spot in the men’s race will be Grahamstown’s Jason Meaton, who rides for Team Thule PE. He managed a top 10 place at last year’s event and will return to test his skill against some of the best mountain bikers in the country.
“It’s been three weeks of hard training, and I am now tapering down pre race. It’s been a good lead up to the race. I feel as though I have had more training for this year as compared to last,” he said.
“This time I have focused a lot more on the higher intensity and race pace scenario. So strength work in addition to doing some more technical work to give myself the best chance of gaining a good result,” Meaton added.
The Extreme riders get under way as early as 5.45am with the first group of Adventure competitors leaving at 6 am. The second Adventure group will leave five minutes later. E-Bikes in the Leisure race start at 6.35 am with the normal Leisure riders heading out from 6.40 am. The remaining two races, the 5km and 500m kiddies races will proceed at 6.45 am and 6.50 am respectively.
The Herald Continental Cycle Tour road races take place next weekend.
Registered riders can collect their race packs on the following dates and venues:
Friday, February 15 from 9am-7pm at Pollok Beach, Summerstrand; Saturday, February 16 from 9am-1pm at Pollok Beach; Saturday, February 16 from 6pm-7pm at Addo Polo Club and Sunday, February 17 from 4.30am-5.30am at Addo Polo Club.
Friday, February 22 from 9am-7pm and Saturday, February 23 from 9am-1pm at Race Village, Pollok Beach.
For more information on the races, visit The Herald Continental Cycle Tour ’s website at: www.heraldcycletour.co.za