Johannesburg’s biggest cycle race ended in 10-man sprint finish to the line when Arran Brown won the small group sprint in front of his team mate Reinardt Janse van Rensburg. Arran finished 2nd last year and was the winner in 2009.
How the race unfolded
The racing was fast on the M1 highway which normally sees the major Johannesburg traffic going into the city centre during the week, but on race day it was closed, with cyclists who were pedalling along at 60km/h. At 18km’s, as the bunch got closer to the KOM on St. Andrews road, the bunch split into four groups with 11 riders going clear just after the KOM which was won by David Maree (Tasol GT) with Dennis van Niekerk (MTN Qhubeka) in second. The two race favorites, Arran Brown and Tyler Day (Team Bonitas), were the last two riders to make the front split as the race charged through the Johannesburg City Centre. The major challengers, Nolan Hofmann (Tasol GT) and Herman Fouche (Cape Town Fish Market), missed the break and sent their team mates to the front to begin the chase.
The breakaway was literally flying with Team Bonitas riders Darren Lill (SA Road Champion), Johann Rabie, Jason Bakke, Tyler Day and Hanco Kachelhofer as well as Martin Wesemann, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Arran Brown (Team MTN Qhubeka) setting the tempo. The riders sitting on and without numerical advantage were Louis Meintjes (Team Toyota Academy), James Perry (Team Tasol GT) and Ian McLeod (Team Northcliff Cycles).
The chasing bunches eventually merged and that took the sting out of the tail as the breakaway riders built their lead to 3 minutes with 25km’s to go. James Perry (Team Tasol GT) attacked twice in the last 5km’s but to no avail as the remaining 10 riders were set to battle a bunch sprint. Ian McLeod had punctured out of the break.
SA Champion Darren Lill set the tempo up the final drag before the left turn to the finish before Martin Wesemann (Team MTN Qhubeka) took over. Reinardt was on his wheel and then Hanco and 2011 Cape Argus Cycle Tour winner, Tyler Day. Arran sat behind Tyler and was in 4th wheel as the took the final right turn around the roundabout. It was a picture perfect finish for Team MTN Qhubeka as Arran and Reinardt powered away from their nearest rivals up the incline to the finish.
In the women’s event, four riders rode clear in a similar fashion to the men’s race. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Jo van der Winkel (both Team Nashua Toyota), Cherise Taylor (Team USN) and Lise Olivier (Team MTN Qhubeka) maintained a lead of 2 minutes for the whole race. In the end it was Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio who got the better of defending champion Cherise Taylor in the sprint to the line with Jo taking the final podium spot and Lise in 4th. – Douglas Ryder