The festival of Mountain Biking which is the MTO Champions Race took place in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. The closely contested racing saw Xterra and ITC Cross-Tri World Champion Flora Duffy claim the win in the Elite Women’s race.
The women’s field was led out by Adelheid Morath, of Germany, before, part-time Stellenbosch resident, Bermudian Duffy took to the front. Morath’s Absa Cape Epic and Team Spur partner Ariane Lüthi was the only rider to match Duffy’s relentless pace when the Xterra star started to accelerate in earnest.
Lüthi had outmanoeuvred Duffy in the 2016 MTO Champions Race, but the Swiss XCM Champion could not repeat that trick this year. Having finished third and second in the previous two editions Duffy was eager to finally reach the top step of the podium.
Without the stress of the Cape Epic looming ahead of her next week Duffy could afford to push a little harder than her rivals and in so doing could distance Lüthi leading into the final lap.
Luthi crossed the line in second, happy with her final pre-Epic work-out, while Candice Lill was third – but not without drama as a dog wondered out into the route ahead of her on a descent, forcing her to take evasive action. Fortunately she avoided the collision and both rider and canine escaped without injury.
2017 MTO Champions Race
1.Flora Duffy (Pearl Izumi | Bermuda)
2.Ariane Lüthi (Team Spur | Switzerland)
3.Candice Lill (dormakaba | South Africa)
4.Esther Süss (Meerendal CBC | Switzerland)
5.Adelheid Morath (Team Spur Germany)