Oct 30, 2017

A Cape Pioneer Trek like no other.  Team NAD took 2nd overall after racing 7 days of racing. The varying terrain over the week of racing made for one of the hardest stage races of the year.
The 1st stage was wet and muddy, with a distance of 96km and 1650 of climbing.  A steady start meant the field could ease into the day before the racing kicked off. After the 40 km mark the leading men (Team Spur/Red_E, Team NAD) broke away from the bunch. A ding dong battle ensued and on the final 10km, Team Spur/Red_E  (Alan Hatherly and Matt Beers) broke away and took first victory on the day. This would set the tone for the 2017 edition of the race.

A tough yet rewarding day for the team.

On the 2nd Stage, dubbed #DIAZDELIGHT, the race started and finished at Milkwood Primary School, Mosselbay. This route had spectacular coastal views, starting with a big climb towards Pinnacle Point descending to the coastline, with a distance of 71 km and 1550 m of climbing. An unforgiving South West wind made for tactical racing and the teams stuck together like glue.

Nico and Gawie set the pace for most of the day and were rewarded with the sprint finish. 

Stage 3 was the first of 2 transition stages, from Mossel Bay George with 2000m of climbing over 99km. With open skies and muddy tracks, Gawie and Nico were feeling good about the day, bodies were ready for the big stage climb. Nico and Gawie initiated the first attack which whittled the front of the field down to 6 teams. Nico pushed hard with only 50km of racing to go and reduced the field even further to 4 teams.

“The Single track was quite untrustworthy, very loose and wet so riders were slipping and sliding on the track. After the 2nd and 3rd tech zone, we broke away, sprinting to the finish to taking 2nd” Nico Bell

On day 4 the team raced the clock in Stage 4’s #Saasveldsingletrack time trial (TT). The shortest stage of 7 - 31km in distance with an ascent of 720 m. With 90% single-track riding through beautiful forests.

"There is a lot of rocks to come with the following stages, so anything can happen” – said Nico
Unfortunately with 2 crashes on stage 4, the team lost 31 seconds to Team Spur/RED_E and placed 2nd.

“One was off a jeep track into a single track with a sharp corner so we were too fast into it, second was open jeep track with lots of mud and  my front wheel went into a big water hole- flying into the bushes, but was fun. Got up quick then we got going” said Nico.

Stage 5 started in George and finished in Oudtshoorn, ascending the Montagu Pass and some sweet new single track.  A stage that covered a distance of 97 km with 1650m of ascent
Day 6, the big Queen Stage where riders had to ascent 2700 m vertically, finishing close to 2000m above sea level and traveling a distance of 95km. The Swartberg Showdown as it is know did not disappoint.
Arguably the final opportunity to put time into their rivals and reduce time to the leaders of the race, Nico and Gawie set a blistering pace from the start. They did 98% of the work and pulled the other teams toward the top of the pass. After leading virtually the complete distance of the days racing, Team Spur emerged in the final 300m to sprint for stage victory. A bitter pill to swallow. 

The final stage was bittersweet.  NAD pulled the bunch throughout the stage and was rewarded for their efforts with a stage victory. While this was not the overall result the team prepared for, it was a great event and we are proud to have finished on the podium.
“It was pretty much full gas all day” Combrinck confirmed. “I really enjoyed the stage. I love this hard, rocky riding.” Gawie Combrinck

Pictures: Zoon Cronje and www.oakpics.co.za

Final Results:

UCI Men | General Classification after Stage 7
1. Team Spur/RedE, Alan Hatherly & Matthew Beers (21:52:57)
2. NAD Pro MTB, Nico Bell & Gawie Combrinck (21:54:39 | +01:42)
3. KMC Fruit to Go, Bram Rood & Gerben Mos (22:17:03 | +24:06)

Gawie Combrinck is coached by PCG Master Coach Hunter Allen


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