Professional mountain bikers Erik Kleinhans and Adriaan Louw were the source of much excitement during stage one of the 50km Cell C Arabella MTB Challenge in Kleinmond on Saturday, 23 April 2016.
A sprint finish was the deciding factor with Kleinhans pipping Louw to the finish in an impressive time of 02 hours 11 minutes 30 seconds. “It feels strange to win a race when I was never really in the lead,” laughs Kleinhans. “Adriaan Louw, Dylan Rebello and Stephan Senekal went full blast up the first climb, but I kept my own pace. At one stage I was round about 8th or 9th overall. I caught Stephan on a section of the route that featured rugged terrain. I managed to catch Dylan on a technical single track section, while Adriaan was caught in the last 200 meters. The route was fun. I enjoy the rougher route because it’s real mountain biking. The Cell C Arabella MTB Challenge is not just about riding your bike though, it’s about socializing. I plan to enjoy a round of golf this afternoon. To save the legs I might consider booking a golf cart.” Adriaan Louw came in second, while Dylan Rebello finished third.
Adriaan Louw was in the lead for the majority of the race, before being caught by Kleinhans in the finishing straight. “Tomorrow will probably end in another sprint,” says Louw. “I sat on the wheels at the start. At the first climb I took a gap. To test the legs I continued to push hard on the shorter climbs. Dylan came through pulling hard, but later faded. At one stage I looked over my shoulder and saw Erik working his way up. We could see the finish line when he caught me. I think the shorter two day stage races have a big future as they’re friendly for both riders and supporters. The shorter distances are also much more interesting.”