Photo courtesy: Michelle Cound/ www.procycling.co.za
Very similar to the Wilro 100, this race starts and finishes on the Tarlton drag strip. Ideal for sprinters, but the drag up past Maropeng to Hekpoort in the first 20kms, offers a opportunity for a breakaway. Gutters is also an option for teams as the wind also wrecks havoc this time of the year.
I joined David Maree in an early breakaway past Maropeng. David was quite a strong alley as we slowly increased the gap to 3minutes to an ever chasing bunch lead by team Bonitas. Knowing that the pressure was on behind, but that the gap wasn’t only growing, I felt quite confident in the move.
But as we turned left after 50km, we started a long downhill drag. This wasn’t good as my breakaway companion, generally a climber didn’t enjoy the terrain. The gap stabilized at 2min again. Unable to close the gap, Bonitas called upon the assistance of their u23 ASG team, suddenly instead of 5men chasing, it was now 9. The gap quickly closed down and we were caught at about the 80km mark.
The break set up the ideal platform for counter-attacks and with 20km to go a group of 9 rode away, containing 3 MTN, 2 Tasol, 2 Toyota, 1 Bonitas, 1 ASG. The pressure was on Dylan Girdlestone and Martin Wessemann to keep the break under control for Arran Brown, but with 1km to go, they ran out of legs as Pieter Seyfert and Louis Meintjies attacked, this forced Arran to open the sprint up very early into a headwind to catch the 2 ahead. Tyler Day, glued to his wheel, passed him in the final 50metres to line to win the race, with Arran taking 2nd and Pieter Seyfert 3rd.
The Clover Tour definitely gave me some decent form, and I used this race as preparation for Worlds in 5 weeks time. I am very pleased with my current condition. This weekend I will defend my title at the Cansa Lost city. I hear it’s a new route, which will suit me slightly better than the previous one. After that its the inaugural Tour de Free state