STEYN ON THE BRINK OF MAKING HISTORY

After winning her fourth consecutive race in the 2010 BSG Energade Triathlon Series at the North-West University Vaal in Vanderbijlpark on Sunday morning, November 14, defending senior women’s champion, Andrea Steyn is on the brink of making history.
 
The Pretoria multi-sport star’s latest triumph has given her a commanding position in the seven-event sprint triathlon competition and a good finish, she doesn’t even need to win, at the finale in Cape Town on December 5 will see her lift a record fifth series title, the first athlete to achieve this in the senior ranks of the 16-year-old competition.
 
Having been crowned champion in 2005 for the first time, Steyn has virtually dominated the competition since winning again in 2006, just finishing as runner-up behind Czech Olympian Lucie Zelenkova in 2007 and then again being victorious in 2008 and 2009.
 
Showing just what a remarkable athlete she is, in her last 18 race starts in the BSG Energade Triathlon Series she has only been beaten twice – on both occasions by SA Olympian Kate Roberts who is currently ranked the seventh best women’s triathlete in the world.
 
In the absence of the injured Roberts, however, second wasn’t a position Steyn gave much thought to as she (Steyn) timed her race at the Vaal to perfection crossing the line in a time of 1:01:01 beating a determined Carlyn Fischer (1:01:17), Carla van Huyssteen (1:02:17) and Rosalyn Laurens (1:03:10) in the process.
 
As has become customary Steyn came out the water after the 600m swim a little behind the early race leader Fischer and a few of the other stronger swimmers in the race like Van Huyssteen and Tayla Glover.
 
This meant the defending champ had to do some hard work on the bike during the 20km cycle stage to catch the lead bunch. As usual she was up to the task and when it came down to the final 5km run leg Steyn was right on the heels of Fischer and it only took her about 100m to move into the lead. From there she motored home but did say after the race she kept an eye on Fischer who came back at her strongly.
 
With Steyn, who runs in the colours of TUKS and is also sponsored by BSG, missing the penultimate race of the series at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, November 28 as she will be competing in the 2010 Pretoria-Tshwane ITU Triathlon African Cup race, the door will be wide open for another athlete to claim glory in the sixth BSG Energade Tri Series race.
 
With Fischer also scheduled to compete in Pretoria Van Huyssteen, winner of the first race of this year’s competition at Roodeplaat Dam (in the absence of Steyn), will be looking for her second victory and a chance to creep closer to the champ on the points leader board.
 
In the men’s race “Mr Consistency” Erhard Wolfaardt also recorded his fourth win in a row in the series and is, like Steyn, on track to retain the senior men’s title, bar any misfortune.
 
Early pressure at the Vaal was applied by Claude Eksteen and Jeff Norton in the swim leg with Wolfaardt just marginally off the pace coming out of the water. On the bike these three and the likes of Hendrik de Villiers and Abrahm Louw jockeyed for position with the race relatively evenly poised as the athletes charged out of transition, with Wolfaardt out first followed closely by Eksteen and Louw, for the final 5km run leg.
 
Wolfaardt, confessing after the race that he was, “A little tired after winning the Olympic –distance 11Global Triathlon Race at Sun City last Sunday”, didn’t look it though and proved he had enough gas in the tank to outclass the rest of the pack and cross the line first in 52:42. Coming in second, after a brilliant run effort, was De Villiers in 52:51 with Claude Eksteen third in 52:54 and Louw fourth in 53:30.
 
With the reigning champ also competing in the African Cup event in Pretoria a different winner can be expected in the men’s race in PE. A likely candidate is the young Namibian-born Louw who will be at Pollock Beach while the majority of other top men’s athletes have indicated they will also be competing in the ITU event.
 
With a record field of over 1000 athlete once again competing at the Vaal, triathletes who plan to compete in the last two races, in PE on November 28 and Big Bay, Bloubergstrand in Cape Town on December 5, are urged to pre-enter online at www.bsgenergadetriseries.co.za to make their participation a hassle free experience.
 
Other category race winners at the Vaal were:

Junior (15-19): Rudolf Naude (men) and Mnandi Weber (women)
20-29 age group: Ruan Naude (men) and Angela Bott (women)
30-39 age group: Wilhelm Steyn (men) and Nickey Barnard (women)
Vets (40-49): Glen Gore (men) and Lorraine Barry (women)
Masters (50+): Kevin Whelan (men) and Lynette Fischer (women)
Corporate Team: Team Smart
Open Team: Harmony 2 Team

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