Team Toyota Specialized – 2022: That’s a Wrap!

Team Toyota Specialized's Tristan Nortje and Matt Beers closed off their 2022 campaign perfectly with a final-stage win at W2W.

The Bicycling Editors |

Matt Beers and Tristan Nortje finished their Team Toyota Specialized 2022 mountain bike campaign on a high note when they won the final stage of the 3-day FNB W2W Shiraz, which concluded on the 6 November in Hermanus, Western Cape. It was a fine result to close off a stellar season for the young professionals, which saw success across the country, and across the sea.

Stage 1

Stage one took riders from Lourensford to Grabouw and ascended the infamous Gantouw pass. The portage section historically offered teams an opportunity to force time gaps, and the 2022 race was no different. With three teams at the head of racing, Toyota Specialized lost a little time over the pass and failed to recover after the monumental effort. “This season had many highs and lows, and it feels like a very long season. I accomplished many of my goals this season and am thrilled to finish the season on a high with a victory here at W2W. Today was tough, but I fought with everything I had to finish the stage and not lose too much time to our competitors. I am thankful to have a partner like Matt by my side and to look after me when things go wrong in a race”  The second half of stage one includes a significant percentage of single track and sandy trails. Add in a brutal headwind, and you have yourself a race. Nortje and Beers faced harsh conditions on their own after the leading teams departed.

Crossing the finish line, Nortje had to lie down for a few minutes to recover from the enormous effort, while Beers was the stronger rider on the day. “It was a tough day for Tristan, but that is stage racing. I helped manage the effort where possible and looked after him as much as possible, hoping that things would turn around for stage 2 and we could impact the race. We went a little bit too hard to catch up to the front group, but we learned some valuable lessons”

Stage 2

Labelled as the ‘Play day’, riders started at a furious pace and quickly separated the GC contenders from the rest of the field. If the effort from day one was not enough to contend with, Beers suffered an early mechanical, which put the team on the back foot and a harrowing chase ensued. After a monstrous effort, the team caught back onto the leading group and could finish the stage among the top teams and, importantly, not lose any time. “I had a technical issue very early on the stage. Fortunately, I put in a huge effort to bring us back to the front group, but Tristan was definitely in great shape on day 2. I might have overspent on the chase back, but we did not lose time to the leaders. We got a better understanding of our racing styles as the race progressed, and once again, we improved our communication which is a critical factor in stage racing”.

Stage 3

The final stage lived up to all the expectations when the race transferred from Grabouw to Hermanus and the cool ocean air. It was Beers and Nortje who claimed honours in a frantic sprint finale. With the stage win, the 2022 campaign drew close for the Toyota Specialized racing team. “We wanted a stage win and took it upon ourselves to push the pace from the start. Our strategy worked, and we split the group on a few occasions. Our partnership got stronger throughout the race. We have not raced together all that much in 2022, and we understood each other as the race continued.”

Toyota Specialized 2022 —> 2023

2022 was a good season for team Toyota Specialized and included excellent results for the riders. Matt and Tristan have gained invaluable experience racing locally and internationally while achieving success globally. Racing from January to November is a very long season, and the team has come together throughout the year. In 2023 the team aims to do more gravel races and a few more stage races.

Team Toyota Specialized wants to extend an enormous thank you to all its sponsors for their unrivalled support throughout the year.
To Toyota for the great vehicles to get them to and from races in style and comfort.
To Specialized Bicycles and Cape Cycle Systems for the equipment that enables them to race and the backup globally to keep them racing at the sharp end of the field.
To Sport and Cargo for the travel gear keeping belongings safe and protected while in transit.
A massive thank you to nutritional partner, Sponser, for fuelling them throughout the year and Born Primitive for keeping the team looking professional at all the events, Oakley, Ikhambi, Wahoo, and Look pedals, who each contribute to this success.

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