Burry Stander wins 4th title
BURRY Stander proved his international class when he beat off a massive challenge from the best riders in the country to win his fourth Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill 2 Hill Mountain Bike Marathon from Hilton to Hillcrest on September 18 2011.
The world's fifth ranked rider was locked in a Titanic struggle with a big bunch of riders until the final 25km of the 102km course when he sunk their challenges with a potent surge that decided the winner, but left a talented bunch fighting for the minor placings.
In the women's race Ischen Stopforth was impressive as she overcame the challenge of her teammates and a puncture to claim victory in 35th position overall.
A massive group of 16 riders reeled off the first 25km at record pace before the group was splintered as Stander and Phllip Buys battled for the Marshalls King of the Hills prize at Friesland Hill. Stander won the sprint by centimetres, but once the dust had settled there were eight riders left in contention, Stander, Buys, David George, Kevin Evans, Brandon Stewart, Ben Melt Swanepoel, Mannie Heymans and Marc Bassingthwaighte.
They were still together 55km later as the riders arrived at the base of Barletts Hill where Stewart attacked hard and only Stander and George could stay with him, with Evans a few seconds off the pace. In the technical single track leading to the Rock Garden at Woodcutters, Evans fought back, but as they went into the tricky Rock Garden section, Stander used his technical skills to make his race-winning effort.
Within a few kilometres he had opened a decisive gap which he kept increasing until the finish where he crossed the line in three hours, 55 minutes and 42 seconds.
Behind Stander, Evans was forced to concede his podium place when he was slowed by a puncture and had to stop a couple of times to re-inflate his front wheel. George finally managed to edge away from Stewart as they approached the finish to claim second, four minutes behind Stander, and 14 seconds ahead of Stewart.
Heymans and Buys managed to catch Evans as he struggled with the deflating tyre and they sprinted to the finish line, with the wily Heymans just edging his former teammate by less than a second with Buys a second further back in sixth.
In the women's race Mariske Strauss challenged Stopforth for the first 25km and did enough to sprint to the Marshalls Queen of the Hills before sitting up and riding home in third place.
Stopforth seemed to have things sewn up after she got away from Strauss, but then had to stop three times to re-inflate her experimental tyres after they punctured, and in the end only managed to beat her Bizhub teammate by three minutes after being relegated to second a couple of times.
Robyn Ardendorff claimed a popular hometown result by finishing fourth, just ahead of Julia Kate Colvin.
While the leaders were able to get off the course with finishing times of (in a couple of cases) less than four hours, the searing heat, which was measured at over 45 degrees in places on the course, left the medical staff struggling with many cases of heat exhaustion and dehydration and the challenge for the bulk of the field was simply to finish this tough race.
1 Burry Stander 3.55.42
2 David George 3.59.46
3 Brandon Stewart 4.00.00
4 Mannie Heymans 4.03.02
5 Kevin Evans 4.03.02
6 Phillip Buys 4.03.03
1 Ischen Stopforth 5.00.24
2 Yolandi du Toit 5.03.20
3 Mariske Strauss 5.10.35
4 Robyn Ardendorff 5.13.51
5 Julia Kate Colvin 5.21.12