On Stage 2 of the inaugural Tankwa Trail AJ Calitz and Christiaan Greyling (2 hours 42 minutes and 58 seconds), running as Team K-Way Salomon, extended their general classification lead in the Men’s Team category; while the Talking Machines pair of Tracy Forbes and Jana Trojan (3 hours 39 minutes and 2 seconds) did the same in the ladies race.

The first solo man, and the first runner across the line was once again Etienne Plaatjies (2 hour 36 minutes and 56 seconds) who fought through some minor cramp at the 28km mark to retain his overall lead. Landie Greyling, also running solo, was the first lady across the line in an exceptional time of 3 hours 4 minutes and 54 seconds.

The stage started with a bumpy bus ride from the race village at Kaleo Manor into the Witzenberg Valley. When the starter’s gun went at 07:00 the Tankwa Trail runners snaked off into the apple orchards towards an epic piece of singletrack. It was arguably the most technical section of the route, featuring a sweeping descent and a gradual climb up a rocky singletrack littered with large rock slabs varying in gradient from 30-40%. Although the duo of Calitz and Christiaan Greyling had opened a gap on the chasing pack with Etienne Plaatjies when the route joined the tar road the second placed men’s team of Niel Swanepoel and Mauritz Janse Van Rensburg burnt matches to catch them. Once with the lead group Janse Van Rensburg set a blistering pace on the 3km tar section to waterpoint 1. Swanepeol and Janse Van Rensburg then stayed with the leaders until the day’s big climb out of the Witzenberg Valley where their efforts on the tar started to tell and they gradually dropped back.

Descending from the crest of the old wagon trail climb Plaatjies upped the pace and opened up a comfortable lead on Calitz and Greyling, which he maintained until the finish – despite slowing slightly to alleviate muscle cramps.

Katja Soggot started the stage hot on Landie Greyling’s heels and maintained line of sight with the ladies race leader for much of the first half of the day, but near the top of the big climb she started to slip gradually back. When Greyling reached the plains of the Bokkeveld she decided to up her pace and stormed through the final 10km extending her lead to 9 minutes over Soggot on the day and to 13 minutes overall.

By the end of Stage 2 it was clear that the Talking Machines team, of Forbes and Trojan, where clearly the strongest ladies team in the race. They started faster than the other podium chasing ladies teams and had soon built a comfortable lead on the trail. Behind them the Full Stride ladies team of Leslee Salzmann and Tarryn de Beer and the BodyTech team of Veresa Domingo and Sandra Leyck were running with the 3rd placed solo lady Marilize du Tout and Stage 2 entrant to the race Nicole Faul.

The only general classification changes came in the solo men’s category where Willie Roux put in a stellar run to finish second on the day and move up to second in the category on accumulated time too. Joining Roux and Plaatjies on the solo men’s podium for the day and on the GC was Robert Williamson who finished 3rd on the stage and moved up to 3rd overall too.

The third and final stage of the Tankwa Trail takes place in the Bokkeveld on Sunday the 21st of February and sees the runners take on a 23.6km course with 400m of vertical altitude gain. It should be flat and fast and will make any GC changes difficult to effect, unless fatigue and injuries set in after what’s been a fast but though first two days of the Tankwa Trail.

Stage 3 will start from Kaleo Manor at 06:30 and you can follow the action live on Twitter by following @TankwaTrail.

Tankwa Trail Stage 2 Results:
Solo Men
1. Etienne Plaatjies (Stage Time: 2:36:56 | GC Time: 4:43:15)
2. Willie Roux (Stage Time: 3:11 | GC Time: 5:50:13)
3. Robert Williamson (Stage Time: 3:14:19 | GC Time: 5:55:13)

Solo Women
1. Landie Greyling (Stage Time: 3:04:54 | GC Time: 5:40:12)
2. Katya Soggot (Stage Time: 3:14:00 | GC Time: 5:53:24)
3. Marlize du Toit (Stage Time: 3:56:41 | GC Time: 7:15:08)

Team Men
1. Christiaan Greyling & AJ Calitz (Stage Time: 2:42:58 | GC Time: 5:02:50)
2. Niel Swanepoel & Mauritz Janse Van Rensburg (Stage Time: 2:58:36 | GC Time 5:25:36)
3. Jan Ham & Cole Stanton (Stage Time: 3:33:38 | GC Time: 6:29:13)

Team Women
1. Tracy Forbes & Jana Trojan (Stage Time: 3:39:02 | GC Time: 6:46:02)
2. Leslee Salzmann & Tarryn de Beer (Stage Time: 3:49:39 | GC Time: 7:02:41)
3. Veresa Domingo & Sandra Leyck (Stage Time: 3:51:56 | GC Time: 7:08/:09)

Mixed Teams
1. Greg Hyson & Nikki-Leigh Piper (Stage Time: 3:55:29 | GC Time: 7:26:45)
2. Chauvet Eline & Piat Quentin (Stage Time: 4:30:46 | GC Time: 8:15:35)
3. Douglas Davey & Jessie Davey (Stage Time: 4:52:03 | GC Time: 8:59:48)

To view all the Tankwa Trail results on www.livetime.co.za please click here.

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