Willie Smit, who started with the objective of sacrificing himself for the team, won his third consecutive Clover Lowveld Tour title at Swadini in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve yesterday.
The four-day road tour started with a victory for BCX’s Nolan Hoffman on the 135km opening stage on Sunday.
The defending champion was not to be outdone and put in a dominant performance on the following day’s queen stage, where he used the 18km Abel Erasmus Pass as his launchpad to victory.
First over the top, it was smooth sailing for him from there as he, Brendon Davids and Stephen van Heerden led the way to the finish.
The latter was unable to sustain the pace as the route continued to climb and, after Davids paused to address a puncture, it was the RoadCover pair that dominated the remainder of the 126km stage.
Smit crossed the line first and it was enough to put him in the overall lead heading into the third and fourth stages – an individual time-trial and criterium – on day three.
The 24-year-old started the penultimate day with a five-second advantage over Davids and more than four minutes ahead of BCX’s Reynard Butler, a gap he widened after winning the 20km time-trial.
A third in the criterium gave him a comfortable cushion going into the final day’s stage, which was won by teammate Clint Hendricks in a close sprint finish.
Smit won the tour with an overall time of 10:57:04 ahead of Davids (10:58:01) and Bell (11:01:47).
Mitchell Elliot of ProTouch Sports won the best young rider category, David Maree of BCX the King of the Mountains jersey and Hoffman the points competition.