Brendon Davids won the Jock Tour after strong performances throughout the three-day event, which concluded at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga today.
The in-form RoadCover pro, who only confirmed his entry days before, finished the 138km final stage in third.
ProTouch’s James Fourie won the final stage, with Dimension Data’s Kent Main, who started in yellow yesterday, in second.
Fourie’s teammate Jayde Julius finished second in the general classification after he won yesterday’s 154km stage over Spitskop and Long Tom Pass. Completing the overall podium was his teammate Myles van Musschenbroek, who finished fourth at Tour de Maurice recently.
“I had a big week of training coming into the tour so, to be honest, I didn’t think I’d have as good a time-trial as I did. I thought we’d ride for Mornay if he had a good opening stage,” said Davids.
“But one thing led to another and my legs continued to do well.”
The former African continental mountain bike champion said he was happy, if not surprised, with the weekend’s results.
“It’s my first tour win, the first time I’ve worn a yellow jersey on the road, so I’m pretty happy with how things have turned out,” said the 23-year-old from Fourways in Johannesburg.
He explained that he had started the stage determined to retain the yellow jersey, which he first wore after finishing second yesterday.
The final day included the feared Boulders climb early on, but little happened until they hit the base of the second major climb, Hilltop, after 131km of racing.
Team ProTouch were the first to make a move when Pieter Seyffert and Gustav Basson tried to set Julius up for a final assault on yellow, but Davids was content to follow the wheels of Main and teammate Mornay van Heerden.
RoadCover’s Clint Hendricks then paced Davids up to the three attackers, with Main on Davids’ wheel. Job done, Hendricks dropped back, leaving Davids and Main to continue the uphill battle.
“Pieter and Gustav had gone too deep so they left Jayde isolated and it was just him, Kent and myself from there,” said Davids.
“Halfway up, I attacked on one of the switchbacks and only Kent really responded. Jayde laboured onto the wheel and I knew the next move would be the one that would give us the gap.”
The former teammates duly disposed of Julius only to realise there was one more hurdle to clear.
“With two kilometres to go we realised there was another rider up the road,” said Davids. “I completely buried myself to try and get within a winning distance, but it was too little too late.”
Demacon’s overnight leader Carla Oberholzer won her second stage in a row to secure overall victory in what she termed as “probably the most difficult road tour in South Africa”.
Stage one winner Yolandi du Toit, riding for Garmin, minimised her losses to take second ahead of former national road champion Cherise Willeit.
The 32-year-old from Clarens in the Free State said the overall victory had been her objective and she was extremely happy with the outcome.
“The main goal today was to keep the lead and anything we took on top of that was a bonus. It’s always great when you pull something like this off with great teamwork.”