Hilton rider Edward Greene stole the limelight with a comprehensive victory in the 126-kilometre road race of the Msunduzi Road Challenge after a decisive break in the closing stages of the race.
The team RSAWeb rider was part of an 11-rider breakaway that split the front peloton shortly after the halfway point at Dalton, and made his move as the contenders reached the outer city limits, reaching the finish at Alexandra Park alone after a gutsy solo break.
ÔÇ£I had good race, but it was hot out there!ÔÇØ said Greene. ┬áÔÇ£I had to keep a consistent pace throughout. ┬áAt 60km I picked up the pace and had to go hard. ┬áFifteen of us broke away from the group and I put in an attack at the 105km mark and got through.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I found the race quite relaxed, but kept my pace consistent as I had recced the race and knew what was coming,ÔÇØ Greene added.
Greene’s break splintered the front bunch as rider tried individually to try and catch him. ┬áWilliam Bush finished second with another U23 rider Kallen Williams filling the last spot on the podium, just ahead of elite rider Abraham le Roux.
Another road racing icon Andrew McLean took his 45-49 year age group title and was fifth overall, confirming his return to form after a two-month injury lay-off. ┬áÔÇ£I found the race route fantastic ÔÇô no huge climbs, but enough to make it challenging. ┬áThe road traffic control was excellent,ÔÇØ said McLean.
The 111km race was won by Gauteng rider Mark Langman, racing in the 50-54 age group, breaking away from a big bunch that diced for the two remaining places on the podium, which went to Uwe Schmidt and Gary Beneke.
ÔÇ£The weather was great although a little windy at some points so I had to do some gutter riding,ÔÇØ said Langman. ┬áÔÇ£The road closure and traffic control was excellent. ┬áIt was a tough race, with a great route that was very challenging.ÔÇØ
Bizhub’s Lindi Erasmus, from Port Elizabeth, won the women’s race in the 30-34 age category. ┬áÔÇ£Coming from the windy city, the windy second half suited me perfectly. ┬áI struggled in the beginning but kept motivated by riding in a great women’s bunch. ┬áThen I felt really good towards the end and I am very happy with my victory.ÔÇØ
Erasmus beat Saturday’s Time Trial champ and All Africa Games road race gold medallist Lynette Burger.
The 90km race was won in a sprint to the line by Maurice Connor, edging out the impressive Norwegian female Sissel Vien, who won both her Time Trial and road race in her 50-54 year category.
ÔÇ£I’m exhausted and it was very hot out there,ÔÇØ said Connor. ┬áÔÇ£When we managed to break free from the bunch we worked well but had to keep it going throughout the race. ┬áI think we all found it quite windy on the up hills but the route was great. ┬áThis mans I win the SA Champs so I’m very happy.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£We were the perfect team,ÔÇØ said an enthusiastic Vien afterwards. ÔÇ£He (Connor) pulled all the hills and I worked the straights. ┬áThe course was very tough and I found it quite challenging from the New Hanover point.ÔÇØ
The event doubled as the national road championship title decider in several masters’ age groups following the cancellation of the event in Port Elizabeth earlier this year.
The event served as a dress rehearsal for the UCI World Cycling Tour Final next year, which was awarded to the Msunduzi Road Challenge last month. ┬áRace director Alex Lenferna said he was pleased with the outcome of the Time Trial and the road race, and thanked the people of Pietermaritzburg for their understanding of the road closures.
Road Race ÔÇô 126 km
1 Edward Greene 3:22:11 U23
2 William Bush 3:22:40 U23
3 Kallen Williams 3:23:00 U 23
4 Abraham Le Roux 3:23:06 Elite
5 Andrew McLean 3:23:10 45 – 49
Road Race ÔÇô 111km
1 Mark Langman 3:10:17 50-52
2 Uwe Schmidt 3:10:48 50-54
3 Gary Beneke 3:10:48 45-49
4 Paul Furbank 3:10:48 55-59
5 Adriaan Beukes 3:10:49 50-54
Road race ÔÇô 90km
1 Maurice Connor 2:47:35 65-69
2 Sissel Vien 2:47:36 F 50-54
3 Francesco Sperotto 2:51:55 65-69
4 Pauline Cound 2:58:59 F 50-54
5 Alma Bester 3:01:42 F50-54