The penultimate day of the UCI classified Trans Hajar Mountain Bike Race produced a new stage winner, South African rider Renay Groustra. Groustra has been gaining form throughout the Oman based stage race, finishing in the top ten every day, even after puncturing on day three. Today, Groustra made a break with Team RECM rider and current Trans Hajar race leader, James Reid (RSA), on the descent of Arabia’s highest peak, Jebel Shams (3,028m). The pair held their lead over the final climb of the stage and with Reid unable to respond to Groustra’s sprint for the line, Groustra took a well-deserved victory.
James Reid (RSA) goes into the last day of the Trans Hajar Mountain Bike Race as the overall leader, 13 minutes 19 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and fellow countryman Max Knox (RSA).
British rider and overall leader of the Trans Hajar female category, Catherine Williamson, continued to set her own pace during today’s stage, extending her time advantage over Hungarian Champion Eszter Dosa (HUN) to a formidable 25 minutes 55 seconds.
Today’s stage winner, Renay Groustra (RSA), has found the Trans Hajar Mountain Bike Race to be perfect preparation for his upcoming season and had been hoping for victory on today’s shorter route.
“Coming from a cross-country background I am usually better at the shorter distances so I earmarked yesterday’s and today’s stages as ones I could possibly go for. Unfortunately yesterday I had some mechanical issues in the downhill while I was in the lead so today I had to make up for yesterday and I am super glad I did!”
Open Male Classification – top ten results (Day 4)
1. Renay Groustra (RSA) 02:15.31
2. James Reid (RSA) 02:15.32
3. Craig Boyes (RSA) 02:19.46
4. Lucian Logigan (ROM) 02:19.56
5. Kevin Evans (RSA) 02:21.43
6. Max Knox (RSA) 02:21.43
7. Tudor Oprea (ROM) 02:25.29
8. Jan Pyott (SUI) 02:34.51
9. Matthew Page (GBR) 02:37.43
10. Vanni Balboni (ITA) 02:38.40
Open Female Classification – top three results (Day 4)
1. Catherine Williamson (GBR) 02:44.37
2. Hannele Steyn (RSA) 02:52.05
3. Eszter Dosa (HUN) 02:56.01
As the temperature soared to 31 degrees Celsius today, competitors tackled the shortest stage of the race at just 47km. However, with four major climbs including one with a gradient of 26%, it was no less challenging.
The final day of racing will see the pro and amateur riders take on a predominantly flat but extremely fast stage. With no let up until the very end competitors face a 250m vertical ascent climb as well as a 400m climb to the finish.