RENAY Groustra of South Africa and Daniel Gathof of Germany won the third and final stage of the Rocky Mountain Garden Route 300 mountain bike race in Knysna on Sunday to secure a comfortable overall victory.
The Rocky Mountain-RSA Web team's time of 3h 10min 11sec over the final 80km was two seconds faster than that of first-stage winners Timo Cooper and Adriaan Louw, who had relinquished their overall lead the previous day.
Billy Stelling and Rob Dormehl finished third in 3:15:17.
Groustra and Gathof completed the third edition of the 300km race in an aggregate time of 12:18:59.
Cooper and Louw, with an overall time of 12:27:46, were more than eight minutes behind after mechanical trouble effectively sealed their fate on the second stage. Neil Bradford and Tim Osrin rounded out the podium in 12:55:43.
Groustra said the win was particularly meaningful as it was his first outing with Gathof, who is a two- time TransAlp winner in the mixed category.
He said they now hoped to secure funding to ride the Absa Cape Epic.
Their lead of close to nine minutes going into the final day put pressure on Cooper and Louw. Louw rose to the challenge within the first 10km on Phantom Pass, but Groustra and Gathof were able to match them all the way to the summit.
The two teams stayed together until Louw initiated a breakaway on the big Hydro climb 30km into the race.
"We were climbing out of the valley after the first water point when Adriaan went hard off the front," Groustra said.
Cooper and Louw opened up a 40-second gap on the climb, but a patient Groustra and Gathof reeled them in shortly afterwards.
In the women's race, an under-the-weather Ischen Stopforth and in-form partner Yolande de Villiers relied on their first two stage wins to secure overall victory in 14:04:35.
Catherine Williamson and Nicci Grobler claimed second overall in 14:25:12, with Janine King and Jackie Moore third in 15:26:47.
Final day honours went to Williamson and Grobler in 3:31:26, with Stopforth and De Villiers second in 3:31:26. King and Moore placed a distant third in 3:50:22.
Hannele Steyn and Charl du Plessis were unchallenged in the mixed category. They took the fast and furious final stage in 3:36:50.
They were followed by Lindi Dorfling and Graeme van der Nest in 3:50:09 and Tanja and Jon Oosthuyse in 4:03:48.
The teams occupied the same positions on the general classification.
Knysna-based Steyn, who is aiming to become the first woman to finish 10 Cape Epics this year, said it was always great to win in her hometown.