“I worked really hard for the 947, but on the day I felt really bad and it just did not work out for me. I then took some time off the bike, so I was really surprised by how I felt today,” Du Plooy said after his victory.
“I guess a mental break was just what I needed.”
The Team Giant rider won the 97km race in 2:14:22, beating Specialized’s Craig Boyes and Namibia’s Dan Craven into second and third places respectively.
Du Plooy said the pace up Helshoogte had been fast and the attacks never stopped before Val de Vie, where a breakaway took place.
His teammates, Chris Cronjé and Theuns van der Bank, were able to drive Du Plooy to the finish.
“My team did a really great job. I could see who the strong guys were, and Dan (Craven) was definitely one to watch,” the 23-year-old said, adding that Craven had upped the pace on the climb with 5km remaining.
“I felt that was the moment to make my move. I had to really dig deep to open a gap on Dan and Craig (Boyes), who were hot on my heels.
“I then managed to open a reasonable gap to take the win.”
Du Plooy, who is from Table View, felt it was the perfect way to end a long season.
“I had been racing in Belgium from May to August and after that in Ethiopia, with the national team.
“I took a short break when I got back, but still had duties to fulfil with the team. I gave them everything in return for the favour of giving me the opportunity to pursue my international dreams.”
Du Plooy also gave credit to Jeroen Swart from Science to Sport, who he said had helped him focus and push through the difficult times.
Route 62 Cycles’ Liezel Jordaan won the women’s race in 2:31:35. Second and third were Katie Lennard in 2:31:36 and Lucy James in 2:31:38.