With Myles van Musschenbroek placing fourth overall and the team securing two jerseys, ProTouch achieved their goals at the six-day Tour de Maurice that finished in Mauritius on Sunday.
“It was a bit of a shot in the dark with my form and how I was going to feel,” Van Musschenbroek said in his first race back after fracturing his elbow.
“We were very happy about getting the green and white jersey, which were our ultimate goals. I would say we accomplished what we could and our fourth and fifth places (secured by Mitchell Eliot) overall were quite good.”
The 24-year-old suffered bike problems on the first stage, which resulted in him losing time.
“I was really going for the overall win, but obviously I lost a lot of time with some bike issues. I went into the next stage a little bit down on GC and wanted to go for the stage win, which I managed to secure.”
Van Musschenbroek clawed his way back to fourth in the general classification and said he was happy with his performance.
Overall victory went to Olivier Le Court, a professional on the MCB team from Mauritius.
“They were very good and deserved to win,” said the South African.
“Le Court is a local so it was quite an advantage for them knowing the roads. They had some really strong guys and were dominant on the climbs.”
Van Musschenbroek said he found the level of racing similar to that in South Africa.
“There weren’t as many teams – about three or four that were really good,” he said. “We took advantage of our strength and I think that was what helped a lot.”
The team also took advantage of the windy stages, which they found similar to South African conditions.
“It was very windy and quite flat on some days,” said Van Musschenbroek. “We took advantage of those stages and that is where we capitalised.”
Gaining international exposure was essential and fit in with the team’s vision, said Van Musschenbroek.
“The team for the Tour de Maurice were selected from a local bunch of guys who were mostly from ProTouch,” he explained.
“ProTouch are all about developing and nurturing local talent. It was about finding riders who needed the opportunity to be exposed to international racing.”
He said it was important to be exposed to the travelling and to learn about different cycling cultures.
“In South Africa, we are very much in one mindset of what cycling is all about.
“But if we travel and see how other cyclists appreciate and respect the sport, and know so much about it, we can start to get a better knowledge of what cycling is all about.”
Van Musschenbroek said he and his team would now head to the three-day Jock Tour, which starts in Mbombela on Friday.
“This result really gives us confidence going into the Jock. It shows that we have depth.
“Mitchell and I are looking really good, as well as Jayde (Julius) who is now with our team full-time.
“The Jock has a lot of climbing, so it is going to be a climbers’ race. But it is nice to know that we have the form and a few cards to play.”