The dormakaba pair finished with an overall time of 9:57:49. Andrea de Boer and Hayley Smith placed second in 11:08:15, with Kristen Louw and Danielle Strydom third in 11:13:27.
“Going into the final stage our goal was to maintain our lead, finish safely and take the win – but also ride a good time and race hard,” said Sanders.
She added that they had a solid lead going into the last day and knew it was a fast and often underestimated stage.
“Mountain-biking is so unpredictable and there are so many uncontrollable elements that can cost precious time, so our aim was to never let off the pressure and still race hard, irrespective of the time buffer.
“We went off hard with the leading men and hung on for as long as possible and then settled into our own race and tempo. We caught a few teams along the way and had an incident-free day.”
Sanders said sani2c was special and never became any less enjoyable.
“This was my first time going up ‘Iconic’ and as tough as it is, I feel it’s a brilliant change to day two’s stage. It eliminates the long district road drags we used to do … for me, it’s simply brilliant.
“Day one is always such fun singletrack [racing] . . . it makes you smile and fall in love with riding.”
Sanders said they were super chuffed with their race and although they didn’t have pressure from any of the other teams they still went out and raced hard every day.
“I think our times and overall position proves that. We love riding our bikes and racing and that’s what we did every day, irrespective of our lead.
“We were so incredibly impressed with the young ladies teams in second and third. They were fearless and raced their hearts out every day.”
McDougall said it was great racing with Sanders again and for the first time as team dormakaba.
“There may not have been much competition in the ladies field for us, but we used the race to test ourselves for future events and rode flat-out just because that’s what we love doing.”