Irishman Philip Lavery outsprinted a small group of first stage contenders to snatch the honours in the opening day of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope at La Paris Estate near Paarl today.
Arriving in South Africa only on Wednesday, the 26-year-old Alfa Bodyworks rider from Dublin, came home in 2:21:06 on the 102km ride through the Cape Winelands.
The day’s results means the general classification favourites will have plenty of work to do on the second stage tomorrow with the 26km Buffet Olives individual time-trial.
After a break from cycling, Lavery was thrilled to get his adopted team a win in South Africa’s premier road stage race.
“It is just my second race of the year, but I think it is a good indication of my form,” a jubilant Lavery said.
“The attacks started relatively far out. When I went, I went hard and they weren’t able to come around me.”
Lavery said the attacks started within the first 20 kilometres.
“Normally I don’t need to be in the breakaway, but I was at the front of the peloton when the final break formed.
“There were four riders from Dimension Data and three from BCX riding for general classification and I was just able to stick with the attacks.”
While cautious about his time-trial expectations, the former Cofidis and Synergy Baku rider said he was happy to take the win.
“This is what Alfa Bodyworks got me here for and I’m happy to repay their faith in me.”
Bestmed-ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer won the women’s race in 3:01:09 by half a wheel after getting the better of Namibian Vera Adrian (Dorma Karma). They were followed in by 2015 winner Ariane Luthi (Spur).
The 29-year-old Kachelhoffer, from Paarl in the Western Cape, said she took a chance when she started the sprint from a long way out.
“It must have been about 300 to 350 metres out, but there was a bit of chaos ahead of us with a tumble on the line and I knew I had to get to the chute first.
“It may have been a mistake and it was very close with Vera, but sometimes you have to take a gamble.”
She said she and teammate Chante van der Merwe were part of a group of eight that went clear at the 15km mark.
“But the bunch caught up with us and I knew it was always going to be hectic going into the sprint.”
Kachelhoffer said she had no great expectations going into the time-trial.
“I will just be aiming to limit the damage tomorrow and then we will review the situation going into the later stages.”
The Bestmed Tour of Good Hope, which is presented by the City of Drakenstein and Scicon, finishes at the Taal Monument above Paarl on Friday.