MTB Olympian Candice Neethling used her familiarity with the new course to maximum benefit and a comfortable victory in the 80km Extreme mountain bike race, despite scorching conditions at Addo just outside Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Neethling (BMC-SA) crossed the line in 3:01:18 to make it two in a row, when she rose away from the competition to achieve an emphatic victory in the women’s race in 3:26:38, ahead of Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag taking silver in 3:34:18, and Mariske Strauss (Contego-Giant) placing third in 3:40:40.
Knowing that her nearest rivals would be unfamiliar with the course, which forms part of The Herald VW Cycle Tour, the 20-year-old Port Shepstone rider attacked on the first single track section. “I didn’t really see them again and just kept it steady till the end.”
Neethling said the new route had suited her strengths as a cross-country rider. “Luckily I had practised on it during the week, so that was a big advantage because there are so many corners and it’s really technical.”
Provisional results of the Women’s 80km Extreme MTB Extreme Race, at Addo on 2 February, 2013: 1. Candice Neethling 3:26:38 2. Jennie Stenerhag 3:34:18 3. Mariske Strauss 3:40:40 4. Ischen Stopforth 3:40:41 5. Catherine Wiliamson 4:05:46