Cape Town – New Zealand mountain biker Sam Gaze secured a somewhat comfortable win after a sprint to the line at the Cape Town Cycle Tour in the Mother City on Sunday.
Last year’s runner-up, Gaze, was part of a nine-man bunch but cruised to a two-bike length win on a day that suited the mountain bikers with gusty, strong winds lining the route.
Defending champion Nolan Hoffman was not part of the group despite being flanked by his Dimension Data teammates. Hoffman was unable to keep the relentless pace through Suikerbossie as those chasing victory risked everything in their descent down Llandudno and through Camps Bay.
Gaze’s win was far from certain with the likes of Clint Hendricks and Stefan de Bod still firmly in the mix.
There was another twist to the tale as the sprinting bunch was thrown wide open after an attack by Byron Munton.
Gaze, though, was able to reconnect with a few others joining him before the last dash. The Kiwi powered home to go one better than his 2018 result and also accomplish what the ladies’ mountain bikers weren’t able to in beating the road specialists.
Meanwhile, Investec rider Cherise Willeit claimed the women’s title after a tough day in the saddle.
Try as they might, they couldn’t shake those more at home on the flats during what turned out to be a key section at Hout Bay.
Willeit then played a crucial role on the Suikerbossie climb in bringing the chasing pack back into the mix following an attack by Tiffany Keep.
As the expectant crowd gathered around the finishing line, it was anyone’s race to win with Elinore Barker, Candice Lill, Samantha Sanders, Keep, Carla Oberholzer and Jo van der Winkel all jostling for position.
Willeit was able to capitalise on earlier work and the support of her team to claim her fourth victory after a sprint finish.
“It was a really tough day out there today. I knew from the outset that the mountain bikers would make it difficult for us,” she said shortly after the race.
Willeit was quick to praise her teammates for keeping their composure in setting a good pace for her to maintain her challenge.
“The wind put us in the gutter quite a bit and you know, with the bunch getting back together with just 2kms to go it was quite a finish.
She admitted to being a little unsure of what to expect of the sprint finish with a little less of that kind of form under her belt.
“I’m over the moon. I had the best bike today and yes, just so happy with the win.”
Africa News Agency (ANA)