International racing heroes Samuel Gaze and Kathrin Stirnermann won the first 2017 National MTB XCO Series race at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate at the weekend.
Gaze, the current U23 world champion and U23 New Zealand national champion, completed the seven laps in 1:29:40 with Swiss riders Mathias Flückiger and Nicola Rohrbach in second and third.
The first South African rider home was Alan Hatherly, who crossed the line in fifth.
“I came into the weekend pretty tired from what was a big week of training, so I was unsure of how it would go. I was expecting to struggle a lot with some heavy legs in the warm up,” said Gaze (Specialized MTB).
“I rode across to (Manuel) Fumic with three laps remaining. He stopped to bomb his front wheel from a slow leak I believe, and from there I found myself in the front alone, so I just rode my pace to the finish.”
Swiss mountain biker Stirnemann (Haibike Otzak Pro Team) completed the five laps in 1:16:21.
British National Champion Annie Last finished second and South African Cherie Redecker crossed the line third.
“I am pretty stoked about this weekend’s race. I went in very relaxed, which I think helped a lot. Knowing I can ride up there with some of the best women in the world is great motivation for the year,” said Redecker.
The second round of the series takes place in Tshwane on April 15.