21 June 2012
RE: CM 200 another success for team bizhub-FCF
With Gauteng in the grip of winter, three riders from team bizhub-FCF made the trek to Knysna for the RE: CM 200 which took place from the 15th to 17th of June ...
Stopforth issues a reminder in Cullinan
Even with the defence of her MTN Series title in tatters after an early-season crash,
Team bizhub's Ischen Stopforth sent out a reminder of her pedigree when she won
the fifth round of the 2010 series in Cullinan near Pretoria on Saturday.
"Hard work and patience is starting to pay off," Stopforth, who crossed the line
in 3:42:04, said after cruising to a comfortable win over team-mate Yolandi du Toit
(3:51:18) and USN's latest acquisition, Karien van Jaarsveld (3:57:45), in the elite
women's section of the 79-kilometre marathon mountain bike event.
The men's race over 108 kilometres was won by MTN-Energade's Kevin Evans (4:05:56)
in a sprint-finish ahead of SAFindit’s David George (4:05:57). DCM's Max Knox (4:07:57)
completed the podium.
"After my crash (in which she broke her pelvis and collarbone), I was no longer
in contention in terms of the overall series and I had to re-evaluate my goals for
the year," said Stopforth.
"It has been a long road to recovery and it's only recently that I've been able
to test myself in racing conditions," said the 38-year-old from George, who was
equally impressive in winning the Trans Baviaans endurance race with colleague Lisa
Olivier two weekends ago.
Stopforth pointed out that it was a pity that MTN-Energade's Yolande Speedy and
Mariska Strauss weren't in Cullinan due to their World Cup commitments in New York.
"They've been setting the benchmark this season and I would've liked to have measured
myself against them. Nevertheless, today's result shows that I'm competitive again."
Although her winning margin ballooned to nine minutes, Stopforth didn't have things
her own way early on.
"It was a brisk start and very dusty and I fell on a sandy patch about five kilometres
in. A quad went over my back wheel, but fortunately there was no damage."
Stopforth had to give it her all to make up lost ground on early leaders Du Toit
and Specialized-Mr Price's Caitlin de Wet.
"I could see them in front for ages, but I struggled to close the gap. I eventually
caught up with them at the first water point."
Disaster struck for De Wet when she punctured shortly afterwards and her challenge
was over when she "blew up" in the subsequent chase to fade to fifth.
Du Toit and Stopforth entered the reserve with its rocky single-track shoulder to
shoulder, but mistakes by the latter saw Du Toit getting away once more and winning
the Queen of the Mountains prime after about 45 kilometres.
"When I caught up with Yolandi I was really coming into my own and it looked like
she was starting to go through a bad patch. So I decided to give it everything to
Traditionally a strong finisher, the MTN Series champion said her pre-race plan
was to stick with the frontrunners for at least the first half of the race and then
look for an opportunity to get away. "Evidently everything didn't go according to
Stopforth said she was now looking forward to a full racing programme, which would
commence with the three-day Marrick MTB Challenge near Kimberley in late September.