Near-perfect conditions greeted riders at the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour yesterday – the second biggest road race in the Western Cape and final premier seeding event for the 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour. The 97km route comprised a 5km leg-testing climb up Helshoogte Pass before descending into Pniel where fast flats and rolling hills characterised the balance of the course.
Racing was fast and furious in the elite bunch and it was always going to very difficult for any breaks to get away. As a result a bunch of around 90 riders closed in on the Helshoogte finish line kicker where Bernard Esterhuizen (Team Giant) out-muscled his adversaries to take the victory ahead of Brandon Christians (Alpha Body Works) and Graeme Ockhuis (Yorkshire) who finished in second and third respectively.
Esterhuizen a former Olympian and Junior World Track Champ, said the goal was always to win. “My teammates did a great job of getting me to the front but then in the final run-in I lost them, and had to fend for myself, so with 200 metres to go I started my sprint and was very happy to take the win.”
In the women’s race, defending champ Anriëtte Schoeman (Team Africa Silks Bestmed), used all of her experience to claim a third title in a time of 02:32:15. Celeste Renaud (UCT Private Client Holdings) finished second followed by Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab) in third.
Elite Men 1st: Bernard Esterhuizen (Team Giant) (02:21:11)
Elite Men 2nd: Brandon Christians (Alpha Body Works) (02:21:11)
Elite Men 3rd: Graeme Ockhuis (Yorkshire) (02:21:11)
Elite Ladies 1st: Anriëtte Schoeman (Team Africa Skills Bestmed) (02:32:15)
Elite Ladies 2nd: Celeste Renaud (UCT Private Client Holdings) (02:32:17)
Elite Ladies 3rd: Carmen Buchacher (Team Velocity Sports Lab) (02:32:18)