She and McDougall finished with a total time of 8:56:30, beating Galileo Risk’s Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill into second, with Bush Babes’ Rentia Denissen and Natalie Bergstrom third.
“This was the event’s 10th anniversary so crossing the line in first was honestly a really rad feeling,” said Sanders.
“We certainly had the victory as a goal but also wanted to just give it our best as always.”
The three-day race kicked off with a 75km opening stage followed by a 70km route and a 48km stage on the final day.
“Being a stage race ideally you want to gauge your efforts every day to make sure you have enough in the tank to finish strong and keep the pressure on.
“Unfortunately we had a poor day on the first stage and lost a lot of time, so we couldn’t afford to play it safe the next day and conserve energy,” said Sanders.
She added that they rode a very tactical second stage, using the route to their advantage. It was also a big effort but it paid dividends as they managed to make up the deficit and move into first place overall.
“The last day was relatively short but we had over 1 100m of climbing to get through so we tried to keep the pace steady and conserve our efforts for the last 20km which were more suited to our strengths.
“Everything worked out well and we managed to get a gap on the Galileo girls [Ralph and Hill] and win the final stage.
“The victory was awesome because we had to overcome a tumultuous day one but also because I had never won a 3 Towers before. Being from Nelspruit it’s kind of special winning at home.”
Overall, Sanders felt the opening day was very challenging as McDougall struggled after having done a lot of travelling. She also had to cope with the altitude and heat after coming up from a cold Cape Town.
“We had to focus and really pull together as a team to get through the day, but that’s part of stage-racing and that is what makes it unique. At the end of the day I knew we both gave it our all.”
Sanders said their strategy was to ride their own race and take each day as it came.
“You can have a strategy in mind but ultimately your legs and body can let you down. Fortunately Amy and I always ride super well together. We both love racing and riding our bikes and there is a good level of trust between us, which is vital for the team to function well.”
The 3 Towers was the first race of a series of stage races that the dormakaba pair plan to tackle before the close of their season.