Austrian Rene Haselbacher edged out Malcom Lange and Burry Stander to win Tuesday’s first stage of the Giro del Capo cycle race in Wellington.
Riding for the Safindi.co.za team, Haselbacher covered the stage of 106 kilometres in 2hr 30min 40sec and leads the general classification standings.
Lange is one second adrift and Stander six seconds after riders were blessed with cooler conditions after Monday’s heatwave but riders had to be wary of wet road conditions after an early-morning thunderstorm.
Pre-race favourites Kevin Evans, David George and Hanco Kachelhoffer are all just 10 seconds off the pace.
An early casualty in the wet conditions was Stander’s Specialized teammate Shaun-Nick Bester. The son of former Comrades Marathon winner, Nic, he lost a few teeth when he hit the deck and also had to withdrew after his bike was damaged.
Wednesday’s second stage of 143km is not only longer than the first stage but riders will be required to tackle the daunting Vissershok climb not once but three times and this is where the true title contenders will emerge.