The UCI World Marathon Series headed to the Free State town of Clarens where Nico Bell (Team RE:CM) and Theresa Ralph rode to glory on Saturday, 3 May.
Multiple Cape Epic winner Karl Platt (Germany) of Team Bulls was one of the main protagonists on the day together with the Team RE:CM duo, Nico Bell and Erik Kleinhans, who rode a tactical race.
The lead group formed soon after the start with all the main contenders exchanging blows from the get go. It was Platt who drove the tempo up the King of the Mountain climb where Bell took the honours at the summit, followed closely by Platt and Kleinhans.
The infamous “slick rock” climb delivered the fireworks with Platt attacking the Team RE:CM pair, eventually cracking Kleinhans. Bell applied some pressure in the last 20 kilometres and after realising Platt was suffering a bit, he powered away to claim the win followed by the German.
In the women’s race, Robyn de Groot lost her lead in the final 6km after an unfortunate wrong turn leaving Theresa Ralph to cross the line in first place, followed by Candice Neethling. De Groot managed to find her way and crossed the line in third place.
Summary of results - MTN Clarens Ultra Marathon - UCI World Series event
Elite Men Overall
1 Nico Bell 04:54:47
2 Karl Platt 04:58:17
3 Erik Kleinhans 04:59:20
4 Andrew Hill 05:11:54
5 Adriaan Louw 05:11:59
6 Arno Du Toit 05:12:17
7 Rourke Croeser 05:12:29
8 Timo Cooper 05:13:10
9 Ben Melt Swanepoel 05:14:28
10 Charles Keey 05:15:47
MTN Clarens Marathon Elite Women Overall - UCI World Series event
1 Theresa Ralph 03:25:34
2 Candice Neethling 03:25:43
3 Robyn de Groot 03:30:19
4 Jennie Stenerhag 03:33:26
5 Yolandi Du Toit 03:33:44
For full results and more info visit www.nationalmtbseries.com
Source: MTN National MTB Series press release