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De Villiers Beats the Heat to Win Attakwas Extreme Title


Women’s podium (from left to right): Leone Verster (5 th ), Mariske Strauss (3 rd ), Yolande de Villiers (1 st ), Sarah Hill (2 nd ) and Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius (4 th ). Photo by Ewald Sadie.

Oudtshoorn’s Yolande de Villiers and Denmark’s Simon Andreassen coped relatively well with the extreme heat in the Klein Karoo on Saturday, 15 January 2022. In doing so the pair were able to best survive the 16 th edition of the Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen.


Their victories were completed in 6 hours, 6 minutes and 18 seconds; and 5 hours, 11 minutes and 20 seconds, respectively. Neither of the eventual winners, nor anyone else on the start line in Oudtshoorn was under any illusions at 06:30 in the morning. It was clear then, with the mercury already climbing to 30 degrees Celsius, that it was going to be an exceptionally challenging day. The type of day which provided the race with its Hell of the South nom de plume.


In the women’s race De Villiers was dominant from the off. “I like starting fast” she explained. “I set a good tempo early on and Amy Wakefield came with me. But I could hear her struggling with her breathing behind me. When I asked her to come through and do a turn, she said she couldn’t. So, I put in an acceleration on the next climb and rode the rest of the race solo."


“110 kilometres solo was really tough! Especially in the heat” De Villiers pointed out. “But I just kept going, pouring water over myself at every opportunity and drinking far more than I usually do. I normally start the Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, with a single bottle on my bike. Today I rode with a hydration pack and I had finished it before water point 2!”


“It was brutal but I’m really happy to take the win” De Villiers concluded. Sarah Hill and Mariske Strauss were second and third, while Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius and Leone Verster completed the podium. “I said last night that this would be the toughest Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, I’ve ever done” Hill laughed. “And it was! But I think everyone who finishes today can be really proud of themselves. It was brutal.”


The mercury rose to above, or very close to 50 degrees on the Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, route. Photo by Ewald Sadie.

Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, Results:

Women:

1. Yolande de Villiers: The Coopetto (6:06:18)

2. Sarah Hill: Liv Cycling (6:45:15)

3. Mariske Strauss: Liv Rola Garmin (6:54:56)

4. Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius: Project Barrier Breakers (7:12:51)

5. Leone Verster: Project Barrier Breakers (7:52:43)


Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Half, presented by Biogen, Results:

Women:

1. Aya Du Plessis (2:51:50)

2. Esrie Looch (2:58:14)

3. Amri Williamson (3:00:06)


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