RoadCover’s Kent Main powered to third stage honours as he led the way up Du Toitskloof Pass in the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope road race just outside Paarl today.
The 21-year-old from Linden in Johannesburg stopped the clock at 3:19:12 on the 133km queen stage of South Africa’s premier road race.
Teammate Eddie van Heerden finished three seconds off the pace, with Dimension Data’s Hafetad Weldu filling third spot in 3:19:18.
His provisional time of 6:15:47 gives him the lead ahead of Main (6:16:38) and Van Heerden (6:17:00) in the overall standings.
Main and Van Heerden were in a breakaway group of eight riders and he said they went hard early on the final climb.
“Eddie and I knew if it was too easy the guys would just follow,” said Main.
“Luckily we caught them off guard with about two and half kilometres to go. But it was a really tough finish.”
Main said he had not followed the early attacks. However, in the end the one he did follow was the one that got away.
He said at one stage their lead had shrunk to 45 seconds before another surge increased their buffer to around four minutes.
“From that point we kind of knew we would stay away and as Eddie and I are both strong on the climbs we used that to our advantage.”
In the women’s race, Bestmed-ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer won her second stage to claw a handful of seconds back in the overall standings.
Following her solo charge to the top, her time of 4:07:40 was 12 seconds faster than second-placed Brit Chanel Mason.
Third place went to dormakaba’s Candice Lill (4:07:57), who took the lead in the general classification after yesterday’s Buffet Olives individual time-trial.
Lill provisionally heads the standings on 7:48:56, followed by Mason (7:51:08) and Luthi (7:52:13), who finished fourth on the stage.
After a tactical race for much of the day, Kachelhoffer said she had gone clear in a small group with about 10km to go.
“I knew I had to put in some speed so they couldn’t just climb on my wheel,” she said. “I just kept on driving to the end.”
Kachelhoffer said the team would keep pushing on the final two stages of the tour, which is presented by the City of Drakenstein and Scicon.
“It is quite a big gap but you never know what will happen. We will keep trying, as well as aiming for stage wins.”
Tomorrow’s stage will take riders on a circular route over 134km that includes ascents of Du Toitskloof Pass and Bain’s Kloof, before finishing at the Taal Monument above Paarl on Friday.