Windhoek — The KIA Mountain Bike Series kicked off in astonishing style last weekend with the Klein-Aus Vista challenge in the south of the country marking the first of five races due to take place this year.
A total of 124 riders tackled the difficult but scenic track at the Klein-Aus Vista Lodge, which forms part of the Gondwana Collection. The race was stretched over two days, Friday and Saturday, and was sub-divided into two race distances with the half-marathon being 70km long while the riders also had to overcome the 140km distance during the full marathon.
In the men’s elite category, defending champions Tristan de Lange made no mistake in securing his second consecutive title after the energetic 16-year-old crossed the finish line just after the second day of the competition in a total time of 6:30:37. De Lange had covered the first 70km on the first day in an impressive time of 3:20:35, and went on to clock a remarkable time of 3:10:02 during the final 70km’s on the second day. The second place went to Kia Namibia’s rider Martin Freyer who clocked 6:34:07. His teammate Michael Pretorius had to settle for fourth place after losing the third place to the young Herbert Peters.
Costa Raul Seibeb, primed as one of the hot favourites before the race began, bowed out of the race due to a crash on the second day of action.
Irene Steyn presented herself in top shape once again. The member of the Namibian cycling team that will travel to the Commonwealth Games later this year clinched first place in the women’s category with a time of 8:53:32. Second-placed Michelle Vorster needed nearly a quarter of an hour more (9:19:43) to cross the finish line after the gruelling 140km.
The men’s master category, also stretching over the full marathon distance, was won by a dominating Piet Swiegers who clocked an amazing time of 7:29:17, with Fanie Steenkamp in second (8:53:32) and Hans du Toit in third (8:04:25). Lee-Anne Palmhert emerged victorious in the master woman’s category with a time of 9:49:59 hours. Caroline Janik made second place in 12:07:38 ahead of Anneke Steenkamp