Erik Kleinhans and Matt Beers (Full Sus/Topeak Ergon/Red-E) won the opening stage of the 2016 Cape Pioneer Trek in Mossel Bay on Sunday.
The South African pair sped around the 13km prologue stage in 28:31 to secure themselves the first leader’s jersey.
The next fastest were Peeter Pruus and Peeter Tarvis (KOMO/RMW), who finished in 29:33, with 2012 winners Gawie Combrinck and Nico Bell (Team NAD) rounding out the top three in 29:38.
The hopes of stage favourites James Reid and Julian Jessop (Team Spur) were scuppered when Jessop had a puncture. They didn’t lose too much time, though, and finished fourth, with Jeroen Boelen and Erik Groen (Stappenbelt Specialized) in fifth place.
“We expected to be up there, but we weren’t sure of the Estonians,” said Kleinhans.
“Obviously we knew James (Reid) and Julian (Jessop) would be quick on this course. We are very happy and we have a reasonable lead, which a bonus.”
The OMX Pro team of Cherie Redeker and Mariske Strauss secured a comfortable stage win in the women’s category.
As XCO specialists, the short, fairly technical stage, dubbed #PointPursuit, suited the South Africans and they clocked an impressive time of 35:02.
There was an exciting battle for the minor stage positions, with Britain’s Catherine Williamson and South Africa’s Leana de Jager (Klein Karoo Ladies) clocking 39:22 to take second place.
They were just six seconds faster than Yolandi du Toit and her Mauritian team-mate, Aurelie Halbwachs, (Team Garmin) in third.
“It was a good day. We paced it well, taking it easy in the beginning. We tried to focus on having fun because there’s still a long way to go,” said Redeker.
Monday’s stage one, dubbed #GondwanaGlory, is a 95km leg that starts and finishes in Mossel Bay.
View the results here.