The 947 Cycle Challenge women’s race was won by German professional racing cyclist Charlotte Becker (HITEC Products) in Johannesburg today.
Becker outsprinted Spanish national champion Mavvi Garcia (Bizkaia-Durango) and South Africa’s Lise Olivier (Time Freight).
“It was a good end to a really good week in this country,” said Becker, who claimed third place in the KZN Summer Series that preceded the Cycle Challenge.
“We took three wins from three starts. Winning the Cycle Challenge was the perfect end to our stay here. It’s my first time in South Africa. I cannot wait to come back.”
Becker had broken clear with a group of six riders on the climb up Cedar Road, along with Garcia, Olivier, Carla Oberholzer (Demacon), Ethiopian Birhan Khadu Abrha (WWC1), Andrea Steyn (Bestmed ASG).
There had been several attacks in the final 30km of the race, but as the race turned towards Riversands, Becker was watching.
Cashandra Slingerland (Cycle Nation) had been the first to get into a proper break in the race, time trialling away on the M1 South to go one-and-a-half minutes clear.
The M1 South also saw the sad withdrawal of South African champion AnLi Kachelhoffer (Pretoria Box), who abandoned after coming into the race with an illness.
She had been the South African favourite to take on Finland’s Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla), who had taken bronze in the world championships.
Cervelo-Bigla had been hoping to defend the title won by their South African star, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, in the inaugural women’s UCI race last year.
Moolman-Pasio did not take part this year as she had crashed heavily before the event.
“To have a race of this stature in South Africa is really something special, so we just went out there and did our best,” said Olivier.