Courteney Webb and Amy Tait gave UCT double reason to celebrate on Tuesday, when they matched their male counterparts in winning the second stage of Varsity MTB at Oak Valley Estate in Elgin.
By coming home in 03:45.31,1 the pair of 20-year-olds also claimed back-to-back stage wins to extend their overall lead to 17-odd minutes over Maties, with one more day on the bike to come. Tuks, meanwhile, remain in third – but well down.
The Maties pair of Catherine Pellow-Jarman and Susan Kruger kept in close contact with their UCT counterparts up until the Water Point 2 at Paul Cluver Wines, with the gap only being 14 seconds.
“It was a bit hard in the beginning and quite fast because we were chased by Maties for quite a while but eventually we did manage a gap and kept it consistent like we did yesterday,” Tait revealed.
Stage two of FNB Wines2Whales events is traditionally known as ‘Play Day’, and it was in the famous single tracks of the Paul Cluver estate – Cobra, Mamba and Boomslang – which Tait and Webb broke the resistance of the Maties pair (who have triathlon backgrounds).
“The trails were really nice, not so muddy and more of our thing,” Tait added.
Webb gave a little insight into the pair’s thinking ahead of the final stage of Varsity MTB, which will be a 69km journey from Oak Valley Estate down to Onrus Campsite outside Hermanus.
“Anything can happen [as it did in the FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz event when the overnight elite women leaders suffered a puncture in the final 10km which ended their title hopes], but we worked hard to build more of a gap today so hopefully we can keep it tomorrow and maybe extend it even more… who knows. We’re looking forward to the last day because today was super fun!”
VARSITY MTB STAGE 1 RESULTS – WOMEN
1. Courteney Webb & Amy Tait (UCT) 03:45.31,1
2. Catherine Pellow-Jarman & Susan Kruger (Maties) 03:51.11,0
3. Tanya Kotze & Michelle Benson (Tuks) 04:04.14,5
4. Jean-Marie Roelofse & Stacey Hyslop (Madibaz) 04:09.56,0
5. Nicolene Marais & Ané Jacobs (NWU) 04:31.23,5
Follow race updates via @VarsitySportsSA on social media. For full results, visit www.wines2whales.com/riders/results-archive/.