Hendricks said afterwards they had gone into the 90km stage knowing it would be one for the sprinters.
“The team wanted to get a stage win, and we knew today was going to be a sprinters’ stage.
“It would have been between me and Nolan [Hoffman], but unfortunately he had some technical issues,” Hendricks said.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start and I’m hoping to build from here.”
The Midvaal 100 Cycle Challenge champion said there had been a breakaway on a downhill after a big climb around the 50km mark.
“It was me, Nico [Bell] and Gawie [Combrinck] at the front. When we hit the 55km mark everyone came back together. That’s when I knew it was going to be a bunch sprint.”
Hendricks praised his new teammates for working hard for him.
“I ended up at the front over the last 20km and my teammates David [Maree], Brandon [Downs] and Chris [Jooste] controlled it well.
“Then I got a brilliant lead-out from Steven [van Heerden], so the team did a good job.”
The route was hard at the beginning but it smoothed out towards the end, he said, adding that the wind had also played a role by slowing down the pace.
“The wind made things a bit tricky. It was a headwind most of the way, so it made the racing a little calmer because no one wants to race into a headwind.
“This also contributed to the likelihood that it would end up in a bunch sprint.”
Hendricks, who had won the fifth stage of last year’s tour, said he knew he would win when he was only 20 metres from the finish line.
“You never really know you’re going to win until it happens. Anything can happen, especially in a bunch sprint. I knew I had it just before I reached the finish. Only then I could sit up and celebrate.”
Tomorrow’s stage is over 135km from Swadini to Mount Sheba, and Hendricks predicted it would be a hard day.
“The second stage will be more for the climbers. We haven’t discussed plans yet, but I think we are going to look to Chris to take over if it becomes hard on the big climbs.”
The remaining Mpumalanga Tour stages:
Stage 2 – Swadini to Mount Sheba
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 finish at Loskopdam.
View stage one results here.