Malcolm Lange outsprinted a high quality breakaway group to win his third Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour around the Cape Peninsula on Sunday.
South African champion, Christoff van Heerden (MTN Energade) finished second with Daryl Impey (Team Radioshack) third in the 109-kilometre Cape classic.
SuperSport reports that the decisive break of 12 riders moved clear of the large peloton with 36km remaining, just before the climb of Chapman’s Peak.
The move contained seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong who was riding in support of Radioshack team-mate, Impey, a fast sprinter.
Lange’s Medscheme team rode a tactically brilliant race, forcing the front group to split in the strong crosswinds and getting Lange, Johann Rabie and Nicholas White into the break along with nine other riders.
ÔÇ£That was our pre-race plan. We decided to use the wind to our advantage and try and split the race up just before Chapman’s Peak. I know that my chances of a winning are best from small group and that suited us perfectly,ÔÇØ said an elated Lange afterwards.
Joining the Medscheme trio in the break were David George, Rene Hasselbacher (both safindit.co.za), Dean Edwards, Tiaan Kannemeyer (both House of Paint), Armstrong, Impey (both Team Radioshack), Burry Stander (Team Specialized), Bjorn Glasner (Team Kuota) and Van Heerden (MTN Energade).
As the break reached the final kilometre, Armstrong put in a strong attack. But the strength of the headwind nullified any effect that may have had. Edwards, a powerful track sprinter then hit the front but it was also too soon and Lange moved out from his slipstream with 150m to go to win by more than a bike length in a time of 2hr 39min 55 sec.
ÔÇ£I was inspired to win today. Our team-mate, Arran Brown, won last year and is out injured, so we really wanted to defend the title for the team,ÔÇØ beamed Lange. ÔÇ£I owe this win to my team. They were brilliant and we rode a tactically perfect race!ÔÇØ
Lange’s other wins came in 1998 and 2003. It was the 407th win of his career, which has spanned 19 years.
With 35 000 participants, the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour is the world’s largest cycle race. The conditions were sunny but windy.
However the wind wasn’t as strong as it was in 2009 when just over half the field managed to finish.
Meanwhile Team Biogen Toyota’s Anriette Schoeman rode her way into history by winning the women’s category a record sixth time.
Sapa reports that the 32-year-old Port Elizabeth-based professional outsprinted a strong international field to clock a winning time of three hours and six minutes.
Robyn de Groot (MTN Energade) finished second with British rider Catherine Williamson (Team Bizhub) rounding out the podium places.
Until this year, Schoeman shared the record of five victories with former South African professional, Willie Engelbrecht, who recorded his wins in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But Sunday’s win makes her the most prolific Elite category race winner of South Africas highest profile race.
“It has been one of my goals to break that five-win record and Im so happy to have achieved it. I have to pinch myself to believe it,” said an ecstatic Schoeman afterwards.
“I had a knee operation in January and at one point I didnt think Id even be able to race ‘The Argus this year. But I trained hard to peak for this race and Im very happy to have been able to win. Both for myself and my team.” Schoeman added.
Schoeman was riding with a diminished team after Ashleigh Moolman (broken collarbone) and Lynette Burger (reconstructive facial surgery) were forced out by recent crashes. She wasn’t considered a strong pre-race favourite, but her experience helped as she positioned herself perfectly to outgallop her rivals by more than a bike length.
Schoeman immediately dedicated her victory to the memory of the victims of the horrific incident that claimed the lives of three cyclists in Oudtshoorn last week.
“It was something that could have been avoided and is very tragic. Motorists need to be more aware of cyclists and cyclists need to be more respectful of the rules of the road,” said Schoeman, who has been injured more than once after being hit by motorists while training.
1 Malcolm Lange (RSA) Team Medscheme 2hr 39min 55sec
2 Christoff van Heerden (RSA) MTN Energade
3 Daryl Impey (RSA) Team Radioshack
4 Burry Stander (RSA) Team Specialized
5 Rene Hasselbacher (AUT) Team sainfo.co.za
6 Dean Edwards (RSA) House of Paint
7 Bjorn Glasner (GER) Team Kuota
8 Johann Rabie (RSA) Team Medscheme
9 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack
10 Nicholas White (RSA) Team Medscheme all same time
1 Anriette Schoeman (RSA) Biogen Toyota 03hrs 06min 00sec
2 Robyn de Groot (RSA) MTN Energade
3 Catherine Williamson (ENG) Team Bizhub
4 Cherise Taylor (RSA) Team Nashua
5 Joanna van de Winkel (RSA) Biogen Toyota
6 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) Alpha Pharm
7 Marissa van der Merwe (RSA) MTN Energade
8 Chrissie Viljoen (RSA) MTN Energade
9 Mariske Strauss (RSA) MTN Energade
10 Fabiana Luperine (ITA) Selle Italia Ghezi