Cyclists participating in this year’s Knysna Cycle Tour presented by Knysna Rotary were faced with windy conditions and a downpour just after the start at the first major sporting event of this year’s Knysna Oyster Festival. The event kicked off with four MTB races – 80km, 50km, 30km and 15km.
The 80km event was won by Gert Heyns, his second consecutive win in two years, in a time of 3:18:16. Second was Marco Joubert in 3:20:58 followed by Robert Hobson in 3:24:27.
Gert Heyns said he was very happy to take the win again after last year’s victory.
“It was quite a good way to test my form ahead of SA MTB Marathon Champs next weekend,“ he said. “It was perfect conditions out there today, a bit windy but not too slippery. It was a very enjoyable race.
“I got away just past halfway with Marco Joubert. We rode together for quite a bit and then I managed to get away from him and just stay out in front. It was quite hard, but I was feeling good.”
Heyns said he enjoyed the new route that Knysna Rotary designed this year.
“There’s quite a few nice new sections of single track at the beginning which makes it more interesting,” he said. “It makes everyone a bit more tired early on. It’s quite a fast three hours but it’s a good route.”
First home in the Elite women’s race was defending champion Robyn de Groot in a fast 3:47:48, with Hayley Preen more than 15 minutes behind her in 4:04:04. In third place, Courtney Webb was almost 10 minutes behind Preen in 4:14:35.
Robyn de Groot said that the race was “slightly different to last year with interesting single track at the start, which was really fun. Also, coming into the finish on the field was quite different.”
De Groot took the lead early on in the race. “I think already in the school single track I was away, so it was a bit of a lonely day out but a good session none the less. The changes to the route this year were fantastic, and the vegetation was really nice. Well done to everyone who participated under tough conditions – with the rain and the wind it was quite hard.”
Race Marketing Director Andrew Finn said that the event was a great success despite the weather. “Most of the registered riders turned up for their events and we’ve had great feedback so far about our new routes. The finish on the field worked very well for spectators. Finn thanked the sponsors, particularly Elite Marquees, SPUR, Coca-Cola and Powerade, and Allsound, as well as the cyclists. “The sponsors and riders make this event possible and their support and participation is what enables Rotary to do so much good work in the Knysna area every year,” he said.
Tomorrow sees the Knysna Cycle Tour Road Races and the SPUR Children’s Tour. The start and finish of both events are on the Knysna High School sports field which makes for great spectator viewing. There are food and sports clothing stalls on the field, a beer marquee and music for the adults and lots of entertainment for kiddies at the SPUR Race Village.
Winners of the 80 km MTB race Gert Heyns and Robyn de Groot