Justin van der Linde and Albertus Jooste won the 70km final stage of the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter from Grabouw to Franschhoek on Sunday, 10 February, to clinch the overall title for the first time.
The Rustenburg team began the last day of the 591km, seven-stage mountain-bike race with a handy cushion and completed a successful week by crossing the finish line at Holden Manz Wine Estate in 3:38:33.
They were followed home on the day by Dirk Haentzschel and Mario Hakim Abu-Id, who won the third and fifth stages, with stage one winners Damien Ingram and Stuart Cathcart filling third place.
Riding in their second TransCape, which is powered by Volvo, Van der Linde said they had no great expectations at the start of the week and were “really just looking forward to the experience”.
In the final stage, he said they rode in the bunch until they were able to break away up the Franschhoek Pass to complete the stage win and the overall victory.
Germany’s Udo Mueller retained his solo category title he won at the first attempt last year and said it had been “another wonderful race”.
He won the stage in 3:26:29 and was followed home by compatriot Stefan Hackl and South African Jan Braai.
“The outstanding feature of the TransCape is that you are so well cared for once you finish your stage until you start the next day,” he said. “And then you also have the experience of riding the beautiful trails through the Western Cape.”
“It’s a race I will recommend to anyone and after there were just two of us from Germany last year, this time there was a group of six. So maybe next year there will be even more.”