The University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University women took the honours when the two-day Varsity MTB Challenge came to a conclusion at the Nederburg wine farm near Paarl today.
In a turnaround after the Maties men’s outfit won yesterday’s stage, UCT hit back for an impressive victory, shading their rivals by just under 30 seconds after trailing by 74 seconds on the opening day.
Luke Evans and Martin Freyer, with support from Alex Rohrer, led the way for UCT in the race, sponsored by First National Bank, which saw the top varsities in the country compete in three-rider men’s and women’s teams.
Maties however remained firmly in control of the women’s race, with Frances du Toit, Nicky Giliomee and Marie Kempf retaining the title they had won in the inaugural event last year.
Evans said their strategy had always been to take the race to Maties on the last day.
“We felt it would be pointless hanging back and trying for just a stage win. We always wanted to apply pressure and knew there would be more single-track today, which we felt would be to our advantage.
“This really means a lot to us because Maties were the winners last year and there has always been a strong rivalry between us. They have often had the edge, so it was great to come out on top in this one.”
The Cape Town varsity finished the second stage over 58km in 2:33:31 for a general classification time of 4:42:52, just under 30 seconds ahead of Maties.
The latter stopped the clock on 2:35:01 for an overall time of 4:43:18, followed by University of Pretoria who came home in 2:49:05 for a combined time of 5:02:06.
The Maties women won their second stage on the trot when they crossed the line in 3:10:26 for an overall time of 5:49:05.
University of Pretoria finished runners-up in 6:00:49 after coming home in 3:18:09, with North-West University completing the podium in 6:16:27 after finishing the stage in 3:26:45.