JOHANNESBURG – Brandon Downes and Carla Oberholzer were crowned the men’s and women’s winners of the 2018 Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg yesterday.
Organisers flipped the route for the 22nd edition of the event with 24 000 riders taking on the reverse 95-kilometre route in hot conditions.
South African road cycling champion Oberholzer finally claimed the women’s title in a time of 2:43:49 after narrowly missing out on podium finishes on previous attempts.
The women’s race culminated in a sprint finish with Oberholzer managing to beat off a challenge from Anriette Schoeman, Joanna van de Winkel and Theresa Ralph.
Ralph made an early solo break but was eventually reeled in by Schoeman, Oberholzer and Van de Winkel with approximately 12 kilometres to go.
“Luckily I managed to get into the circle first and cross the line in first place, so I am really grateful today,” Oberholzer said. “The new route was pretty great, it was like a blank canvass and no one really knew how to race it but we did our homework.
“It has a bit of everything, climbing, descending, a couple of corners and the wind also played a bit of a role today.”
Schoeman, who won the race 10 years ago, finished second in 2:43:50 with Van de Winkel rounding off the podium.
The victory was the cherry on top of a stellar season for Oberholzer, who also has the Tshwane Classic, Amashova Durban Classic and national titles behind her name.
“I’m really grateful, we’ve been blessed as a team, it’s been an amazing year and I am happy to finish it off on a high note,” Oberholzer said.
In the men’s race, Team BCX dominated the podium with Downes claiming the title crossing the line in 2:15:26 with teammate Steven van Heerden finishing second in 2:15:28.
Downes made a solo break with approximately 15 kilometres to go and had to stave off a late charge from Van Heerden, Dylan Girdlestone and Nolan Hoffman to take the victory.
“I am absolutely ecstatic as we hit the hills coming into Kyalami I managed a bit of a surge and managed to get away solo,” Downes said. “The whole time I was away I wasn’t thinking about the win, it was just about staying in the moment and keep going.
“I luckily hung on at the end to take it with a few seconds, so I am really ecstatic with the win while we also got second place so it is a great day for BCX.”@Ockertde
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