Sun City, one of the nicest resorts in world, hosts the annual Cansa Lost City cycle challenge. This year the Cansa Organisation invited me to stay over in the Sun City Hotel and attend a media function on friday night as a special guest. I won this race last year, and I wanted to retain my title, but ultimately I handed over to teammate Arran Brown.
The race started at daybreak, chilly and dark, a lot of men tried to gain a gap on the bunch immediately from the start. The first move that got some gap, was Darren Lill, Bradley Potgieter and Graeme Cronje. But Tasol’s misrepresentation meant that it was not long before they were hauled in.
A new circuit this year, which saw the route drag up in the first 30km, go past the Royal Bafokeng stadium, through some of the industrial parts and back on the old route for the last 30km, also didn’t give much opportunity for the elite men to break the race apart, any attacks were brought back easily without too much discomfort for riders in the bunch.
The only other move that got a decent gap was a solo attack from Louis Meintjies, who gained about a minute advantage. This was never a race winning move on such a course, but like myself last week, I am shure Louis used it as training for the upcoming World Championships in a months time.
Our Sprinter Arran Brown suffered misfortune as he punctured twice and had another mechanical involving his front derraileur. We were unsure if he would be able to sprint, but the other teams failed to capitalize on his bad luck and tired legs as the race became very negative and slow, allowing Arran to recover.
The bunch was still big and fresh as we neared the finish, suddenly a lot of guys without the necessary experience to handle themselves in bunch sprints, felt fast and caused a lot of chaos. Bonitas lost their main sprinter, Tyler Day, in the final 2km due to a silly crash.
We were patient in our leadout, and timed our launch perfectly, Arran started his sprint at the right moment, with about 250m to go. Nolan Hoffmann, already with a quite a gap behind Arran, showed some good speed as he got into Arran’s slip and right next to him, but it was too late as Arran managed to hold him off with strength. Dusty Day scored another podium for Team Matlosana in 3rd.
I myself, lost the wheel of my teammate in the chaos during the final 1km. I managed to get myself out of traffic, but ultimately made a mistake with 300m to go, when I got on the wrong side of Tasol’s leadout men, so I couldn’t sprint, which was a little frustrating for me personally.
Although the new route is slightly longer and a little more rolling than the previous one, it still doesn’t over a challenge for us elites. I wonder what it would take to do a criterium style finish on the hill going up to the sun city entertainment centre. That would be cool do to a couple of laps after the traditional of race distance.
Next up is Tour de Freestate. With 3 days of crits and 2 hard days, it offers a lot for sprinters and climbers. I would look to get some revenge and be involved in a couple more of the bunch sprints in the coming week.
1. Arran Brown (MTN Qhubeka)
2. Nolan Hoffman (Tasol-GT)
3. Dusty Day (Matlosana)
4. Johann Rabie (Bonitas)
5. Christoff van Heerden (Honda);
6. Calvin Beneke (ASG U23)
7. Hanco Kachelhoffer (Bonitas)
8. Herman Fouche (Cape Town Market).