Jean-Paul Burger and Magda Nieuwoudt lived up to their pre-race match hype as the favourites to win yesterdayâ€™s MiWay Cape Ultra titles respectively.
Racing got underway in cool overcast conditions on Sunday morning at 7:30am. The outside temperature coupled with the 14 degree Celsius water temp got proceedings off to a chilly start as the Sprint triathletes made their way into the somewhat empty Theewaterskloof Dam near Villiersdorp.
In the Sprint race, it was a handful of the top men that swam in a pack around the 600m race course with around 10 swimmers all exiting within seconds of each other. Once onto the bike, it was Jamie Riddle and Riaan Shaw who established a healthy lead on the 20km tough undulating bike course. Riddle, still fresh from racing at the World Championships in Rotterdam was playing the patient game on the bike as he waited for the run leg. He managed to take the win in just over 63 minutes with Shaw less than 45 seconds back in 2nd spot. Dylan Pivo was happy to take the final podium spot in the Sprint Event.
In the ladies sprint race, Jodie Berry was looking to stamp her authority over the rest of the ladies from the start as she powered her way into the lead on the bike, with only Maude-Elaine Le Roux and Ashleigh Irvine-Smith playing catch-up and trying to keep the gap to a respectable distance on the bike before they hit the 5km trail run. Berry was in full control however as she crossed the line 1st with Le Roux second and the young lady Irvine-Smith in 3rd spot
The Ultra guys and girls started roughly 30 minutes after the sprint triathletes with a 2 loop swim course. Conditions were not easy at all and a number of athletes had problems with the cold water temperatures as the swimmers snaked their way around the triangular swim course
Kent Horner, one of the pre-race top favourites hit the swim hard, establishing a small lead over the danger man, Jean-Paul Burger during the 1.9km swim. Once onto the bike, Horner kept his lead over the 3 lap 90km bike which had over 1000m of climbing. Burger was biding his time on the bike as the two came into T2, less than 30 seconds apart. Durban boy, Brad Venter was 3rd off with the bike closely followed by Gerhard De Bruin with another pack of 3 containing Donovan Van Gelder, Richard Lawrie and Casper Moodie not too far behind them
Fleet-footed Burger who has some good speed in the legs after a few races on the ITU circuit, put himself into the lead quickly and never looked back as he claimed the win in 4:22. The finish time showing the severity of the race course which although very scenic is not for the â€œun-fitâ€.
The race for 2nd and 3rd spot was starting to hot up with Gerhard De Bruin making his charge on the run to take over 2nd place while behind him, the veteran Van Gelder was eating into the lead that De Bruin had over him. De Bruin cruised in for the 2nd placing while Van Gelder had managed to drop the rest of the strong bikers on the run and claim 3rd spot all for himself.
In the ladies division, Magda Nieuwoudt who has just come off a few races in Europe was favourite from the gun with her strong swim and bike a formidable weapon against the other ladies in the field.
She was however being tracked closely by a strong running Mellusca Toovey, who hadÂ stellar run to keep the gap off the bike to within striking distance should Nieuwoudt falter on the tough 21km off-road run course. The ever consistent top 3 placer, Kelly Van Der Toorn was true to form as she kept the top two ladies ahead of her in sight. Nieuwoudt claimed the win after a string of 2nd place finishes at previous Ultra race events while Toovey was 5 minutes back in 2nd spot with Van Der Toorn close behing claiming the bronze
A fantastic days racing that saw the weather patterns change almost every hour. Next race up in the MiWay Ultra Series will be the last race of the year, the Midlands Ultra Triathlon which is open for entries. www.ultratri.co.za