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MTN Mountain Bike series kicks off in Dullstroom


The opening event of the world’s largest marathon MTB series, the MTN/Nissan series, began its 2014 season for the first time in Dullstroom recently. With hundreds of riders from all across the country, it proved to be a huge success.


Dullstroom is an exciting new addition on the calendar for the popular series that spans five provinces and eight national events and is sure to become a firm favourite with riders of all abilities. Not only that, but THG has been informed by Ms. Natasha Cunningham of the Dullstroom business community that this inaugural event is only the first in a series. Natasha reports that Dullstroom has in fact contracted with Advendurance, the race organisers, to host this first event of the series season for the next five years. This can only be good news for Dullies businesses, as well as the local economy in general.  


As far as the event itself was concerned, the race attracted an unprecedented 2500 riders with the various distances to choose from: Ultra, Marathon, Half Marathon and Fun Race. The sharp end of the race saw some of the top names in South African cycling fight it out in muddy conditions. Following the event many commented that the altitude and route would have been challenging enough and that the mud made it extremely tough.


In the elite men’s race over 120 km. it was youngster Lourens Luus (Team RECM) - who originally hails from Sabie - who walked off with the laurels and his first major win. The women’s MTN Marathon was convincingly won by Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota). Luus rode a tactically brilliant race and didn't panic when he found himself sandwiched between the two Cannondale Blend riders Waylon Woolcock and Charles Keey in the dying kilometres of the 120 km. event. Woolcock crashed hard on his face after slipping in the muddy conditions and couldn't regain his rhythm to re-join the two leaders.


Luus crossed the line seconds ahead of an emotionally charge Keey following a last minute wrong turn that handed the win to Luus."I am completely overwhelmed with my result and I would have loved to see it come down to the sprint. Fortunately I knew that turn Charles missed coming in to the finish, I walked the course yesterday and confirmed at the briefing." Luus commented in response to the appeal lodged by Keey.


Kevin Evans (Fedgroup) deserves a mention after riding clear of the main field on the King of the Mountains climb. Evans battled with health issues and bad luck during the 2013 season and this were the first signs of him returning to form. It was not to be his day though and an untimely puncture put an end to his surge back to the top. Afterwards a clearly frustrated Evans said that at least he knows that the form is where it needs to be and that he will be staying on the Highveld to prepare for MTN Sabie that takes place in two weeks time.

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