Team Abantu’s HB Kruger and MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team’s Nicholas Dlamini were judged joint winners after tackling the arduous 182km route from Camperdown to Margate in the inaugural KZN Autumn Series Mayday Classic on the national Worker’s Day public holiday today.
Due to a traffic infringement in the final kilometre, the Commissaire’s made the decision to have two race winners.
A cool, early morning start saw some of South Africa and Africa’s elite cyclists extend their competitive abilities on a long and tough route, which saw several breakaways during the event.
Siyabonga Sonchiza (Rand Water Velokhaya) was the first to go only 3km into the race and he managed to hold off the chasing peloton until the 10km mark. “I tried to do my best to win today but in the last 40km I could just feel the pain. Maybe next time I can do better; it’s not what I’m used to because it’s very long. Maybe on Sunday I can do better because it’s a 130km race,” he said.
The second breakaway happened with nine riders at the 16km mark, which soon became 18 riders at 21km. The bunch was riding comfortably until the 72km mark, when Tesfom Okubamariam and Clint Hendriks from the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team made a break for it.
As the kilometres clocked up, the gap opened and the chase was strong until 135km, where the two were eventually reeled in. The lead bunch stayed together until 173km, where Nicholas Dlamini (MTN-Qhubeka Feeder team), HB Kruger (Team Abantu) and Metkel Eyob Tewelderberhan (MTN-Qhubeka Feeder team) broke away and opened a sizeable gap from the peloton until the sprint finish.
Team Abantu rider HB Kruger, broke the race down: “The bunch split quite early in the race and I was caught on the back foot a bit and I jumped across with two riders and you know, from there the race was a bit negative because there was quite a big split up front. The last 100km was a block headwind and the guys weren’t really going anywhere, and two MTN-Qhubeka feeder team riders jumped clear and David Maree and Myles van Musschenbroek from Team Abantu - they started pacing and they reeled them in quite steadily and then we raced on again.”
With a KZN Autumn Series podium finish already to his name, Kruger was determined to fight until the end to try to do it again. “There was quite a big bunch 10km from the line and the MTN guys really had us under pressure. They worked really hard and I struggled a bit, but I jumped across and I was fortunate enough to stick with them to the line. Unfortunately a few technicalities which involved cars and bikes in the sprint meant there was a shared win between myself and Nic,” he said.
In terms of the shared win, Kruger is even more eager for Sunday’s race. “I think it’s a fair compromise but it really motivates me for Sunday so I’m looking forward to the next race,” he said.
Cycling South Africa’s General Manager, Mike Bradley, is pleased with the day’s racing. “The race went very well today, and the weather was great,” he said.
Bradley mentioned that there was quite a divide due to the length of the race. “A lot of riders dropped off the pace in the first 40km or so, who then had to get taken off the circuit because the gap was too big unfortunately. We had to do that to control the peloton all the way here to Margate so that the race field didn’t get too stretched out.
“The riders looked pretty good when they got to the end so all in all a good day,” he concluded.
Tomorrow, the Hibiscus Coast Classic takes place, which is aimed at the young age categories from under-10 through to the Veteran age categories of 60+ years, as well as the Elite/U23 and Junior classes. Racing in the various categories starts at 10:00 until approximately 15:30 and the roads will be closed to traffic during this time. KZN Cycling will be handing over 50 bicycles for local community development as part of the KZN Cycling Development Programme at 09:00 on Marine Drive, Margate beach.
Sunday will see the Elite Men and Women cyclists compete in the third and final round of the KZN Autumn Series in and around Margate. The Elite/U23 Men will start at 07:30 and complete 10 laps of the 15.5km circuit (155km), while the Elite Women will start at 07:35 and complete seven laps (108.5km).
For more information about the KZN Autumn Series, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/kzn-autumn-series/
Summary of Results – Maritzburg Margate Mayday Classic [1 May 2015]
Click here to view the full set of results: http://www.mobii.com/csa/
1.HB KRUGER (Team Abantu) 4:47:07
1.Nicholas DLAMINI (MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team) 4:47:07
3.Metkel Eyob TEWELDEBERHAN (MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team) 4:47:11
4.Ryan GIBBONS (Team EuropcarSA) 4:48:32
5.Herman FOUCHE (Bonitas Pro Cycling) 4:48:33
6.Tesfom OKUBAMARIAM (MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team) 4:48:33
7.Kevin PATTEN (Westvaal Pro Cycling) 4:48:34
8.Nolan HOFFMAN (Team Abantu) 4:48:34
9.Jozua LE ROUX (Lights by Linea) 4:48:35
10.Dennis VAN NIEKERK (Bonitas Pro Cycling) 4:50:23
11.Clint HENDRIKS (MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team) 4:50:25
12.Luthando KAKA (Bonitas Pro Cycling) 4:50:31
13.Kent MAIN (Team EuropcarSA) 4:50:36
14.Tyler DAY (Westvaal Pro Cycling) 4:52:33
15.Myles VAN MUSSCHENBROEK (Team Abantu) 4:54:47
16.Dusty DAY (Westvaal Pro Cycling) 4:55:25
17.Bradley POTGIETER (Team EuropcarSA) 4:55:26
18.Shaun- Nick BESTER (Bonitas Pro Cycling) 4:55:26
19.Nxenga THULASIZWE (Rand Water) 4:55:27
20.James FOURIE (Team EuropcarSA) 4:55:29