After Hendricks’ sprint victory yesterday, the two have now enjoyed their first stage wins for their new team.
“We [BCX] started today’s stage defending our yellow jersey, which meant we had to ride offensively,” Jooste told In the Bunch after the second stage.
Their tactics paid off brilliantly, he said. “We had Brandon Downes leading in the first break and then had to force control from the back.
“Matt Beers (Team NAD) tried his luck on the first long climb, where he broke away.
“But thanks to the help of the team, we managed to catch up to him quickly.”
The racing evened out by the half-way mark, Jooste said. “We all came together again and it was then up to us to control the bunch.
“At the last climb, Team NAD moved to the front to set the pace. We also moved forward to try to keep Clint [Hendricks] in the race for as long as possible.
“But because Clint is more of a sprinter rather than a climber, he let go.”
With about two kilometres to go, Jooste first felt he had a chance of winning the stage.
“That was when I had a go,” he said. “I knew I had to be in front for the sprint finish.
“I took my chances where I could. It was a rather dodgy and winding road going uphill to the sprint finish, but luckily I was able to outsprint the rest in the last 300 metres,” said Jooste after the nine-man bunch sprint.
It had been difficult to stay mentally focused, he said. “As a young rider, I found it hard at times to stay calm. Fortunately I had some experienced guys who helped me stay composed.
“Our team did a really great job of controlling the race today. We achieved our goal of retaining yellow.
“I’ll be in yellow tomorrow, and we’re chuffed that we have kept it in the team,” he added.
Tomorrow’s stage will be over 107km from Mount Sheba to the Mbombela Stadium.
The remaining Mpumalanga Tour stages:
Stage 3 – Mount Sheba to Mbombela Stadium
Stage 4 – White River to Mbombela via Umjindi
Stage 5 – Mbombela Stadium to eManzana
Stage 6 – eManzana to the finish at Loskop Dam.