Reid grabs early gap

2014-09-15 00:00

JAMES Reid grabbed the slimmest of chances to set up his win in the 2014 Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill 2 Hill MTB marathon yesterday.

The SA Marathon Champion noticed the rest of the lead group of eight riders “were sleeping” as they negotiated a piece of single track and he launched his surprise attack with about 35 km to go. He managed to get a crucial 20-second lead before the tough Hill n Dale climb (formerly Bartlett’s Hill), which grew to over a minute over the chasers led by Andrew Hill.

From there Hill and Cape Town’s Matthew Beers were able to hold, but could not close the gap and Reid raced home to a 70-second victory with Hill second. Beers faded, but comfortably held on to third.

In the women’s category Candice Neethling rode a perfectly judged race to pass defending champion Jeannie Dreyer in the final 15 km and take her first victory in this race.

At the Queen of the Mountains climb 20 km after the start at World’s View, Dreyer broke away from the leading women’s riders and she looked to be heading for a repeat of her 2013 win, when she rode a steady time-trial to victory from there to the finish. This year, however, the diminutive Dreyer has been unable to train as hard. The lack of long rides saw her struggle over the second half of the course, while Neethling, who started slowly after previously battling in the climbs on the final 30 km, moved through the field and raced into the lead to finish.

“I deliberately rode conservatively this year,” said Neethling, who finished third in the Crater to Cruise race in Parys in the Free State on Saturday. “I know the hills over the final 30 km are very tough and I have always taken a lot of strain toward the finish of this race, so I was careful not to go too hard.

“It seemed to work for me.”

Reid, who drove back from Parys overnight with Neethling, but who only did 50 km of the upcountry race due to a puncture, won on the back of tactical awareness that belies his young age. The recently crowned South African Champion “made a statement” at the King of the Mountain, and then took his chance 40 km later when he spotted a chance. “I wanted to get an edge at the King of the Mountain climb,” he said after his victory. “I had to make a statement by winning that sprint. And then when I saw the guys were sleeping in the single track just before Hill n Dale, I attacked and got a crucial 20-second lead. I knew they would all be waiting for an attack on Hill n Dale and not expecting me to go that early, so I attacked and got the gap that gave me a psychological advantage…

— Own Correspondent.

RESULTS

Men: 1 James Reid 3:38:48, 2 Andrew Hill 3.39:58, 3 Matthew Beers 3:42:31,

4 Darren Lill 3:47:26, 5 Tyron Bird3:47:51

Women: 1 Candice Neethling 4:21:09,

2 Jeannie Dreyer 4:23:26,

3 Desiree Verwey 4:34:16, 4 Hayley Smith 4:39:48, 5 Carla van Huyssteen 4:40:19.

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