The dust has settled from the first battle at the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and unsurprisingly the Bulls team have drawn first blood. I saw unsurprisingly, because when you look at their palmares you will notice no shortage of results, notably to the South Africans is a 3rd at this year’s ABSA Cape Epic. Hot on their heels were the Scott Factory Racing duo of Buys and Beaukes, who also were favourites to take the stage. In 3rd place today were the Asrin pairing of Reid and Persteiner, it seems as this new relationship has started off on the right foot.
The #buffelsrumble saw us tackle a tough 15km loop in the Cango Mountain Bike Park. Consisting of mostly technical, loose and rocky single track, one had to keep the gas on to be there and there about, but also high on our agenda was to get through safely and mechanical free which I am happy to say we did. A 12th position on the stage for the Ginger Ninja and I, is satisfactory and definitely something for us to work off. I personally didn’t feel particularly smooth on the trails today and so we probably lost some time there. The Ginger Ninja opened up the throttle on the flatter jeep track sections where we would have made some time back.
Defending champions, Erik Kleinhans aka the Lion King and his partner Nico Bell finished comfortably in 8th place (I say comfortably, but really we were all on the rivet for the 40 minute jaunt). Erik had this to say about their ride today: “This tight, technical prologue is not something that really suites Nico and I but natural y we gave it a good go to get the body going, before the serious racing ahead of us. We didn’t take too many risks on the decent which ultimately cost us some time, but we got through safely.” They will surely be a factor this week with consistency and experience being their strength.
With the first of 7 stages out of the way, the prologue has served its purpose. Calm the rider’s nerves, give them a taste of what to expect and establish an early pecking order. Tomorrow the real racing starts with the #redstonerumble, a 100km stage starting in Oudtshoorn and finishing in Calitzdorp where we will traverse the spectacular Redstone Cliffs en route.