Brendon Davids took the win in his debut appearance at the Polokwane Annual Mayoral Cycle Race after an early attack left him alone up front in Sunday’s road event.
The RoadCover rider initiated an attack 65km from the start in an effort to test his competition and the fatigued chasers were unable to close the gap over the remaining distance.
He was followed almost 30 seconds later by Dylan Girdlestone, while David Maree came in roughly two minutes further back to complete the podium.
The 104km race got off to an aggressive start and Davids said he and teammate Bradley Potgieter worked together to keep up the attacks.
Part of the lead group that formed at the 60km mark, the former mountain biker said there had been a despondent air in the bunch after Team BCX had missed a good opportunity with their favourite, Nolan Hoffman.
“At the 65km mark I attacked to see how everyone would respond and I found myself a little way off from the bunch by about 20 seconds,” said Davids.
Unfamiliar with the area of Polokwane, Davids said the long, open roads soon became monotonous and one could easily become discouraged at the sameness of the scenery.
“To say I was a little nervous at finding myself in front with such a way still to go would be a huge understatement and I had to work not to become despondent.”
Rounding a turning point roughly 10km from the finish, Davids said he could see he had roughly 40 seconds over the chasing group.
“I could tell that I had a nice gap and I managed to maintain this all the way through to the finish.
“At about 1km out I started taking it in a little bit and could celebrate.
“Fortunately I was able to bring it home and Brad was second in the bunch sprint behind Nolan, so all in all it was a good race,” said the 947 Cycle Challenge Champion.
The team went into the race only four men strong as Eddie van Heerden was ruled out by illness and Willie Smit had racing commitments overseas.
“We went to Polokwane a little underpowered but the team rode really well considering that, so I’m pretty happy with how things went,” he said.
The 23-year-old has had a successful season so far, having won the Hill2Hill mountain bike race last month, as well as the KZN Summer Series earlier in the year.
He said he planned to enter a few mountain bike races to keep the speed in his legs before the Knysna Cycle Tour in August as that would be the team’s next main focus.