The race for the inaugural Bestmed National Cycling Series mountain biking title has been blown wide open ahead of the final event, the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate this coming Sunday.
Series leader Pieter Seyffert (Altech-Autopage) has been forced to miss out on the race after crashing at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge earlier this month.
“I had a bad fall in September and hurt my back. I had recovered well, but then I fell in the last four kilometres of the 94.7 race and hurt it again,” said Seyffert.
With a pair of wins in the Lost City MTB Challenge and Satellite MTB Classic races, he has built up a comfortable overall lead, which he hopes will be enough to clinch the seven-race series.
“I am very disappointed that I have to give Paarl a miss. I will however be following the race closely.
“I saw one or two guys that might be able to pass me on the rankings, but I am holding thumbs that I have done enough to win the series.”
Hot on his heels is a bunch of eight riders, headed by former pro Nic White (EuropcarSA) and Martin Wesemann (Giant), who share the number two spot.
Last weekend’s Ballito Expedition winner Matthew Wilkinson is also in with a chance, as are Michael Pullock, Kobus Burger, Gerrit Rautenbach, Callum Hilton and Alasdair Garnett.
In the women’s series, Ballito Expedition 25km winner Chloe Bateson tops the standings, closely followed by three-time Sondela MTB Challenge champion Ronel van Straaten, with Mandy de Beer third.
The 60km feature race, which is presented by ASG, leaves the wine estate just outside the Western Cape town and covers the northern slopes of Paarl Mountain and contoured trails around the iconic Taal Monument.
The 30km short course starts at 6am, with the longer distance following two hours later to allow all of the almost a thousand participants to enjoy route highlights such as the 9km stretch of fast-flowing single-track into the finish.
Find Paarl MTB Classic on Facebook or follow @PaarlMTBClassic.