Yolandi du Toit from Team bizhub signed off her 2010 MTN Series campaign in fine style by successfully defending her title at the MTN Ride Crater Cruise mountain bike marathon over 103 testing kilometres in Parys on Saturday.
Victory in the seventh and final leg of the series will likely see her leapfrog USN’s Karien van Jaarsveld – who was third on the weekend – into second place overall when the final logs are releases later this week, according to series director Fritz Pienaar.
The overall title in the national series will shift from Team bizhub’s Ischen Stopforth to MTN-Energade’s Yolande Speedy – neither of whom took part on Saturday. Du Toit will receive the polka dot jersey as the series’ most consistent climber.
“It (the series) was one of my major objectives for the year, but it started off badly,” said Du Toit, referring to mechanical problems that put a premature end to her season-opener, the Attakwas, in January. “I missed two other events and it was difficult to come back from that.”
She added that it was always good for the morale to win the final race of the season and that it gave her a lot of self-belief for next year. “The series will be my sole objective in 2011,” said the 25-year-old.
Du Toit (4:12:26), who beat off the attentions of Toyota-Cycle Lab’s Yolandè de Villiers (second in 4:18:04) and Van Jaarsveld (third in 4:23:09) in Parys, said her tactics was to ignore the other riders and “do her own race”.
“Many don’t realise just how tough the Crater Cruise is and they go out too hard in the beginning. It is very important to pace yourself – especially when it’s as hot as it was.”
The defending champion said she broke the race down into “portions” and tried to achieve specific goals in each. “It makes it easier when you focus on the task at hand in each section rather than on the race as a whole.”
She was lying in third initially, but moved into second after catching and passing Van Jaarsveld on the intimidating two-kilometre ascent up the rocky Suikerbossie climb that peaked at the 38-kilometre mark.
“I really felt good on the day and just concentrated on keeping a constant tempo,” said Du Toit. This mindset paid dividends as she rode up to De Villiers’ back wheel after 45 kilometres and left her behind on a grassy stretch straddling the river.
Du Toit said the Marrick (which she won with team-mate Stopforth two weeks earlier) was the perfect preparation.
The men’s race was won by MTN-Energade’s Kevin Evans (3:38:06) ahead of DCM Chrome’s Jacques Janse van Rensburg (3:38:44) and Brandon Stewart (3:40:33).
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of: