In one of the tightest finishes to any road tour in South Africa, Main made up a 51-second deficit on the final climb to snatch a win which was in doubt for about 15 minutes after the finish as the timekeepers confirmed the official positions.
Main had an overall time of 8:31:22 over four stages after the penultimate stage was cancelled due to extreme winds yesterday. His teammate Eddie van Heerden completed the podium in 8:32:22.
Van Musschenbroek put in a desperate effort to protect his lead up the final climb today, but Main’s power on the hills was telling in the end.
Stage honours went to Dimension Data’s defending champion Stefan de Bod, followed by teammate Joseph Areruya. Main took third place on the day.
Afterwards the 21-year-old Main, from Linden in Johannesburg, said he felt the first major victory of his career was a result of a more structured programme he implemented last year.
“With the help of my brother I set up a plan halfway through last year aimed at training for this tour, but I always knew it would be hard to win.
“I have often said to my mates this is one of my favourite races and one I always wanted to win.”
He acknowledged the effort put in by his Johannesburg rival.
“We did everything we could to throw Myles off his stride but he handled it all and his team looked after him really well. To eventually win it by one second is more than I could have hoped for.”
Van Musschenbroek, who lives in Rosebank in Johannesburg and works full time, was exhausted at the finish.
“I was a bit stressed out during the stage, probably from putting pressure on myself, and I gave it absolutely everything I could on the last climb.
“But Kent put up a great fight and he deserves the win.”
Main also won the King of the Mountain competition, with Alfa Bodyworks’ Irish import Philip Lavery taking the points competition.
Candice Lill of dormakaba claimed the women’s title by finishing fourth on the stage to comfortably protect the two-minute lead she had going into the final day.
British rider Chanel Mason and Bestmed-ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer finished in a sprint for the stage honours, with Mason just outlasting her rival. Team Spur’s Ariane Luthi finished third.
Lill took the title in 10:46:48, followed by Mason in 10:48:41 and Kachelhoffer in 10:49:50.
The overnight leader, from Sun Valley in Cape Town, said her chief aim had been to defend the yellow jersey.
“The women really gave it their all today. There was some aggressive racing and I think that’s great for women’s cycling,” said the 25-year-old.
With a strong background in mountain biking, she was delighted to secure her first win in a road racing event.
“I’m so happy I came out on top, but I think in a way I was quite surprised.
“Obviously I’m training for the Cape Epic so I’m fit. To win a road race was a big accomplishment for me.”