Well the fast one is traditionally the first race of the season, giving a lot of guys an indication of their form. To most the intensity of their first race is a bit of a shock to system and we wanted to capitalize on this by making the race hard and trying to force a split.The new 106km route goes along a figure of 8 around Meyerton, which is quite flat, but the wind could play a factor.
The first couple of km’s went by quick and no move could get a decent gap. Bad luck struck as their was an unfortunate crash around a wet corner which saw my teammate Martin Wesseman breaking his collarbone.
At about 45km in a group of 8 guys managed to force open a gap. It was Myself, Arran Brown, Bradley Potgieter from MTN, while Bonitas had 2, Ian Mcleod and Herman Fouche and 3 other individuals from other teams, namely; David Maree (Tasol), Christoff van Heerden (NorthCliff) and Louis Meintjies (Toyota) represented.
This was a good move for us and the other riders didn’t want to work with us, leaving Brad Potgieter and I to do all of the pacemaking, while we saved Arran for the finish. Fortunately for us there was a side wind to wear the other riders down that were sitting in, and a tailwind home, making it difficult for the chasing bunch to catch up. So we decided to push on.
As the gap approached 1minute, Bonitas, Westvaal-BMC and Nuwater combined to bring it back. But with the speed consistently over 50kmph, we knew that the chasing bunch would have had to ride at 60kmph just to catch up. Towards the end we opened more than a 2minute gap. In fact, with the two of us pacing we covered 63km in an hour an 20minutes.
Towards the end Brad’s job was to keep a high pace, while I covered any attacks and saving Arran for the sprint. I followed Ian Mcleod’s attack with 1.5km to go. Immediately after, Louis Meintjies countered. As I got on his wheel I saw that I had about a 30m gap to the rest of the bunch and went for it with 450m to go. It seemed like I had done enough, but the line just wouldn’t come. I was passed in the final 20m by Christoff van Heerden, followed by David Maree and Arran Brown.
It was a little disappointing that we couldn’t win the race, sometimes you do everything right, but in the end it all can go wrong. But well done to Christoff, he patiently waited and timed his effort to perfection, its good to see him on top form again.
I think the new route lacks a little of inspiration and their was a lot of dangerous moments with a bunch of around 150 guys with no road closure. Something the organisers desperately need to look at.
1. Christoff van Heerden (Northcliff cycles)
2. David Maree (Tasol)
3. Arran Brown (MTN Qhubeka)
4. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka)
5. Herman Fouche (Bonitas)
6. Louis Meintjies (Toyota CSA)
7. Bradley Potgieter (MTN Qhubeka)
8. Ian Mcleod (Bonitas)
9. Dusty Day (Westvaal-BMC)
10. Meron Russom ((MTN Qhubeka)