sani2c 2022 - A Lean Women's Field
The KAP sani2c’s 18th edition looks set to provide exciting racing amongst the men, as a batch of maturing younger riders with a few years’ experience are ready to take on the more established Elites. The Race starts on Thursday 12th May from Glencairn Farm near Underberg, with the 1000 Adventure riders setting off the day before. The women's field sees only two professional teams taking up the challenge, so it looks like a great chance for some amateur ladies to take a step on the podium.
Women’s professional mountain bike racing will be represented by Efficient Infiniti Insure Pro MTB Team at KAP sani2c, with Robyn de Groot joining the established team of Theresa Ralph, Samantha Sanders and Kim Le Court in order to race with Le Court.
Robyn de Groot has taken the title at sani2c six times since she first took part in 2013, one of the wins with Samantha Sanders in 2019, and has a lot of experience to share with the young Le Court, who won the Cape Town Cycle Tour earlier this year.
“I look forward to taking on the race with Kim, we are lacking younger riders and it would be great to pass on some knowledge and race with a youngster. sani2c is always a wonderful event on the calendar - it’s one of the classics that still takes place after all the years. What makes it particularly important isn’t only an amazingly fun route, but more so in how the race includes the community, uplifts and what it means to those people.”
De Groot says she is in a transition stage in her career: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on sponsorships, and without backing into 2022 I’ve adjusted my focus on building my future beyond my own performance. It’s opened up time and space for my coaching/training business. Cape Epic presented itself as a surprise, one that offered closure for me on an international stage. The support and backing I have received from Efficient Insure and Infinity Insurance, and Vital engineering through this transition phase has been paramount and I hope to share my experience and knowledge with the team and become more involved at events from a different perspective.”
Sanders and Ralph are a formidable pairing, and the two have only good things to say about riding together. Sanders says: We have paired up in the past for sani but this year will be different: Firstly, we are now teammates on Efficient Infiniti Insure and secondly I believe that Theresa has evolved as a rider in the past while. Her skills and speed through technical sections has notably improved and she rides really well to her strengths. I haven’t raced since winning PE PLETT in February, choosing to focus on quality training so I know the race might be a shock to the system. I also know I am in good hands with Ralphi as my partner.”
Ralph, who just two weeks ago won the mixed category at Joberg2c, says: “Apparently, we are the only two pro teams at sani2c this year so it will be nice to get a bit racy between ourselves to keep the competitive element going. I am hoping we can be competitive with Robyn and Kim, they are both really strong and will be a tough team to beat. I raced Epic with Kim last year and she was clearly the stronger rider. They are going to be fast.”
Sanders last did sani2c in 2018, where she and de Groot won: “Naturally, can’t wait to be returning to race sani2c. It is one of those races that no matter how many times you’ve ridden it, you go there filled with excitement and enjoy every kilometre of riding. For me, knowing the route like the back of my hand brings a different kind of eagerness because you always remember mistakes made and moments where you reckon you could be faster.”
“The weather forecast is looking good for a dry three days of riding,” says ‘Farmer’ Glen. “The trails are in great condition after much work to repair flood damage and we are excited to host some of the top riders in South Africa.”
The race will be broadcast live on the KAP sani2c Instagram: _sani2c
Images by Anthony Grote