The ladies started the 115km tour with the Elite Pro men in freezing conditions. More than 6000 cyclists in total entered for this prestigious annual event.
The new road race route, which included the long climb up to the towns of Karatara, turned out to be a shocker for most participants as it is definitely one of the toughest one day races in South Africa. With the pro men making the pace extremely fast from the go, the women were forced to hang on for dear life. Only two ladies, Anriette Schoeman (Africa Silks Bestmed) and Carmen Buchacher (Velocity) from Germany managed to stay with the top men’s teams over the first 4 km climb just outside Knysna. Candice Neethling and Samantha Saunders (Valencia) managed to get back with the leading bunch 16km into the race.Yolandi de Villiers (Head over Hills) lost contact and was left behind.
De Villiers, however, managed to cross over to the leading ladies 30 km into the race just passed Sedgefield. But 2 km later a series of vicious attacks by Telkom and Lights by Linia caused the bunch to break up, leaving Neethling and De Villiers behind. It was clear that the previous day’s MTB race, which De Villiers won, was taking its toll on her.
Samantha Saunders had a mechanical failure, which left her behind just a few kilometers after the turning point of the race. She was forced to chase back for kilometers and managed to catch up to Schoeman and Buchacher outside Sedgefield. On the long and steep climb up to Karatara Saunders lost contact with the two leading ladies.
On the climb heading up to the town of Karatara, Anriette attacked to take the Queen of the Mountains prime. At this stage, Anriette and Carmen lost contact with the top elite men’s bunch, but had opened a 1 minute time gap on Saunders.
With 30km to go, Anriette Schoeman and Carmen Buchacher was leading the ladies race, followed by Saunders and De Villiers.
Buchacher lead out the sprint to the finish with Schoeman tight on her wheel. With 150m to go, Schoeman passed Buchacher to take 1st with Buchacher 2nd and Saunders 3rd.
The ladies MTB race was won by Yolandi de Villier followed by Samantha Saunders in a long sprint to the finish. Carmen Buchacher was 3rd a few minutes later.
Ladies Road Race Overall
1st Anriette Schoeman 3:06:39
2nd Carmen Buchacher 3:06:41
3rd Samantha Saunders 3:10:50
Ladies MTB Overall
1st Yolande de Villier 3:24:26
2nd Samantha Saunders 3:24:28
3rd Carmen Buchacher 3:31:06