Gustav Basson (Team DMS) and Cathryn Colyn (Rocacorba Collective) have taken out the men’s and women’s victories at the first South African round of the UCI Gravel World Series, the Swartberg 100.
Basson, who raced on the road with Continental team ProTouch the last three seasons, sprinted over the line ahead of Dan Loubser to take the victory in the men’s category with a time of 5:25:40 while Basson’s teammate, Kent Main, crossed less than a minute later to take third. In the women’s category Colyn, who be lining up for the Life Time Grand Prix series this year, had a clear margin as she crossed the line with a time of 5:54:15, beating her nearest rival Theresa Rindler Bachl by around 18 minutes. Anneke Lund, a little more than a minute further back, took third.
“The race got started at the first real climb at 24km,” said Colyn in a post on Instagram after taking her first win of the season and first UCI win. “ I knew I had to make sure that I got into one of the front groups over this climb, going up here, I don’t know if it was the cold or what but boy oh boy it was damn hard. It was the hardest part of the day for me. From there I was able to establish a gap on the other women.
“Keeping fuelled, fighting through the low points and staying in the moment focusing on my own performance. I had a perfect day on the bike. Still quite can’t believe it.”
The race in Prince Albert, in the Western Cape province, included the 1583m high Swartberg pass to contribute to 2900m of elevation gain over the 170km course. The South African was a new addition to the UCI Gravel World Series, which began in 2022 with 10 rounds that culminated in the UCI Gravel World Championships in Italy in October.
The series has expanded to 17 events in 2023, with Swartberg among the seven new additions. It is the second round of racing, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team Gravel Squad) and Carolin Schiff (Canyon-CLLCTV) taking victory at the opening La Indomable race in Spain. This weekend Swartberg marked the first day of racing in a double-header, with the Gravel Fondo Limburg being held in the Netherlands on Sunday.
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