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South African Marathon National Championships - CN
Stellenbosch, South Africa, August 3, 2008
2007 Results Results
Speedy sent off to Olympics with new title
Evans makes it three in a row
Yolande Speedy and Kevin Evans won the 2008 South African marathon mountain bike championships in Stellenbosch this weekend.
For Speedy (IMC Racing Activeworx), it was a timely confidence boost ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games where she will represent South Africa.
Speedy didn't just win the title; she dominated the 66km race, which doubled as round four of the 2008 Mazda MTN National Series. She clocked a 3:13:10, a full 12 minutes faster than her nearest rival, Hanlie Booyens (Jeep), who finished second in 03:25:21 with Tania Raats (Fox) rounding out the podium in 03:30:50.
"I went hard on the first climb which was soon after the start and managed to get a gap which I just worked on extending for the rest of the race," said an elated Speedy. "It's a pity the race wasn't closer among the women but it still feels good for me to retain my title."
Speedy decided to push the climbs and flats and ease up on the downhills, despite being a skilled descender.
"With a big lead it wasn't worth taking any high-speed risks with the Olympics so close by, so I just took the descents cautiously," said the 32 year-old Speedy, who said that despite the lack of rain, the course was still slippery and wet.
Samantha Oosthuizen (Garmin DCM) and Caitlin de Wet (Red Mongoose) were fourth and fifth respectively, the latter claiming her first national junior marathon title.
Kevin Evans confirmed his status as the country's marathon mountain bike racing king when he won his third successive title.
Tipped as the pre-race favourite, Evans wasn't troubled once by his rivals as he took the lead from the very first climb shortly after the start and used his fitness, strength experience and skills to stay ahead until the finish, where he led a podium clean sweep for his MTN Energade team.
Evans wasn't completely alone out front though, joined for most of the race by team-mate, Mannie Heymans, a multiple Namibian national champion, helping Evans achieve one of his major goals for the year.
"As the first 11km went straight up, I tried to force the split early on and put everyone else on the back foot," said Evans, who broke clear of the pack and then eased up slightly just before the King of the Mountain prime when he saw Heymans riding across the gap to join him.
"Once Mannie joined me, we drove it really hard, he was pacing the flats and descents and I was doing the pacing on the climbs," said Evans, who rode away from Heymans on the final climb, 8km from the finish, and secured the win in a rapid 2:36:10.
"Even though the distance was short for a 'true' marathon, the route still had over 1,500m of climbing in it," said Evans. "With that much climbing in that distance and of course the mud, it was a tough course by anyone's standards."
Heymans, not quite at full health and just two weeks away from his third Olympic Games, was caught and passed by team-mate Melt Swanepoel in the final few kilometres. Swanepoel's time was 2:37:40 with Heymans coming home in 02:38:32. Renay Goustra (Red Mongoose) finished two minutes later with Brandon Stewart (USN) rounding out the top five.
Evans was able to extend his lead in the MTN National Series, with three events remaining, looks likely to secure the series' title for the fourth consecutive year. Round five, the next round, is the Dirty Harry in Harrismith on September 6.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Theo Grobler
Overall women 1 Yolande Speedy (IMC Racing Activeworx) 3.13.10 2 Hanlie Booyens (Jeep) 12.11 3 Tania Raats (Fox) 17.40 4 Samantha Oosthuizen (Garmin DCM) 20.25 5 Caitlin de Wet (Red Mongoose) 24.52 Junior women 1 Caitlin de Wet (Red Mongoose) 3.38.02 Senior women 1 Sarita Swart 3.40.41 2 Heletjie van Staden 17.28 3 Ashleigh Moolman 34.15 Sub-veteran women 1 Hanlie Booyens (Jeep) 3.25.21 2 Aileen Anderson 39.55 3 Lisa van den Heever 41.11 Veteran women 1 Woudie Saaiman 3.47.10 2 Elzaan Visser 27.33 3 Catherine Gibbings 36.44 Overall men 1 Kevin Evans (MTN Energade) 2.36.10 2 Melt Swanepoel (MTN Energade) 1.30 3 Mannie Heymans (MTN Energade) 2.22 4 Renay Goustra (Red Mongoose) 4.17 5 Brandon Stewart (USN) 5.23 6 Francois Theron (USN) 5.27 7 Philip Buys 6.16 8 Matthys Beukes 8.33 9 Johnny Kritzinger (Schwinn) 9.02 10 Rourke Crouser (Red Mongoose) 9.07 Junior men 1 Rourke Crouser (Red Mongoose) 2.45.17 2 Adriaan Louw 7.31 3 Bryce Munro 12.18 Senior men 1 Carl Pasio 2.53.04 2 Reginald Barry 5.22 3 Marthinus Esmeyer 8.51 Sub-Veteran men 1 Paul Cordes 2.47.25 2 Nico Pfitzenmaier 4.08 3 Jock Green 4.53 Veteran men 1 Robert Sim 3.10.47 2 Craig Wicker 7.40 3 Arnie Olivier 18.09 Master men 1 Christopher Brand 3.09.12 2 Bryan Strauss 4.18 3 Lieb Loots 13.10 Grand Master men 1 Johan Botes 4.26.52 2 Cedric Peens 6.34 3 Art Stokoe 9.22