Stage six is not one that the Novus OMX Pro boys will remember too fondly.
There is always one stage which cracks a rider, and for Martin that stage was this one. Having ridden hard all week – up at the front of the race and challenging some of the very best riders in the World at a discipline he doesn’t specialise in, in a race he’s never done before – the tank emptied!
From the early stages his legs had nothing, and the head soon lost its power as well. It is incredibly hard to push through such a low point but, with some encouragement from Fabian and the tails of the Multivan Merida boys to hold on to, the pair battled on as hard as they could to the finish line.
Sixteenth position on the day drops them down to tenth overall. It was a blow, but we mustn’t lose sight of the incredible efforts of Martin and Fabian over the last week. Furthermore, there is still one stage to go which, with a good rest and some serious slab of South African steak, could yet hold another fantastic result!
Onwards to Merendaal and the final finish line of this spectacular and successful journey.
For Mariske and Cherie, stage six was the day where everything came together: the course, the legs, the confidence and, wait for it…the podium place!
Surprisingly, during the early kilometres Cherie was unsure she would make it through the stage. After six long days of racing she was really feeling the fatigue. However, the pair rode through the pain and the strength came back in time for the twisty singletrack which characterised the latter half of the stage. Here Mariske and Cherie could bring their cross-country skills to the fore and begin believing that a podium place was possible.
The gap to third place was getting closer and closer, and thanks to some courteous men’s teams who moved aside to let the girls past, the hammer went down and the pace went up. The chase was on.
Soon enough the catch was made; the podium was calling and the huge boost this gave the pair pushed them all the way into Wellington and over the finish line.
Mariske and Cherie’s smiles lit up the whole arena; they were absolutely delighted!
Another podium for Novus OMX Pro Team at the World’s biggest mountain bike race. What can the final stage bring? We’re en route from Wellington to Meerendal for the Grande Finale…
We are exhausted but we are happy. #weareOMX