Photo, Michelle Cound
The Dischem Ride for Sight took place just outside of Boksburg, and conditions on the day were perfect. The route runs along a popular “race road” up here which is well known by all cyclists, then heads around the back of Suikerbosrand reserve, and up through Heidelberg, back to Boksburg. It’s a fairly tough route and can be challenging when the winds come up and the big teams decide to turn the gas on. Also having raced 170km in the National Champs two days before would take the sting out the legs for sure.
The race was too fast for any moves to slip away, despite many attempts. The climbs on the course were just too short to ride away, and there were too many of the bigger teams with numbers to chase back most attacks.
We tried hard through Heidelberg to split the bunch, and although it split on the climb, it all came back together again with about 30km remaining. Team MTN took control of the race from here onwards as we drove the bunch back towards the finish. There were a few noticeable moves off the front in the final 10km, but the tempo we were setting was just too high for anyone to ride away.
Our yellow train was then overtaken by the House of Paint red train in the final 3km when they came through with more speed. But by this stage, our fastest and strongest sprinters were all fresh and jumped onto the back of their leadout, going into the final two corners in just the right position! It was then Christoff Van Heerden, turning over a 54tooth chainring who would lead Juan Van Heerden out in the sprint for the line, but the big gear with a slight tailwind, meant Juan could only get alongside Christoff, but not past him. 1st and 2nd on the day was an amazing result and a really good team effort again. It was also a special win for Christoff, in his home town and newly crowned SA Champion,
Next race, Saturday our mountain bike national marathon championships in Sabie! Till then, cheers.
1st Christoff Van Heerden (MTN/Energade)
2nd Juan Van Heerden (MTN/Energade)
3rd Hanco Kachelhoffer (Medscheme)