Tour de Free state, stage 2&3

Stage 2 started off in a warm Bethlehem at 2o’clock in the afternoon. A break of Bradley Potgieter and Christiaan Kriek, got away from the start and built up an advantage of over 3 and a half minutes. Brad took both KOM and Christiaan both Hotspots. Which saw Brad taking the lead in the KOM competition. The move was brought back with just over 25km to go.

Tasol and MTN Qhubeka set the pace in the last 20km to the line, but with a nasty hill 5km to go there was a oppurtunity for some riders to attack. Finally with little control and a lot of attacks, a solo move of Pieter Seyffert got a gap of 50m in the last km. With everybody hesitating, I started my sprint from 500m out, but even this early was too late as I got right next Seyyfert but unable to pass him.

I took over the lead in the green jersey with 2nd place.

1st Pieter Seyffert

2nd Myself

3rd Hanco Kachelhoffer

 

 

Stage 3, 6*5km laps in Clarens followed by 2 climbs in Golden Gate. The 2nd climb had gradients of 25-26% and headwind in the last km to the finish.

Darren Lill took the first prime and the 10s time bonus, with me 2nd. But bad luck struck just before the finish of the 2nd lap as my chain dropped and got jammed. I had to do a bike change which saw me losing over a minute. In front Dennis van Niekerk rode away with Johann Rabie and David Maree and built up an advantage of 3mins at the end of the lap.

I changed bikes back to my race bike, but only to puncture a few kms later, again I would have to chase. To make it worse the field was put into the gutter which meant that I would have to cross a big gap to fast-moving peleton. Luckily I had Brad Potgieter to pace me back across.

On the first 4km climb Dennis and Rabie maintained a 20-30s gap over Darren Lill, who rode away with Louis Meintjies. I was just off the pace at about 30s behind, with one of the Frenchmen.

The race seemed stalemate as neither group got close  in on to the group in front in the last 8km. That was until the gradient kicked up viciously in the last km. Dennis and Rabie still had a gap, but lost momentum and had to run up the hill, Louis Meintjies also ran. Only Darren, seeing the climb before, was able to ride and caught up to the two in front and won the stage a few seconds ahead of Dennis. I was sixth a little over a minute behind.

With no KOM primes left, Bradley Potgieter achieved a remarkable feat for a 80km man as he secured the jersey, and Dennis 2nd and Darren 3rd.

There still is 2 stages left, both of them criteriums, with a lot of bonus seconds on offer. Should be an interesting finale!

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