Defending champion Kent Main won the third stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope for the second straight year as he shook off his rivals in the closing stages up Du Toitskloof Pass near Paarl today.
The 137km queen stage of South Africa’s premier road stage race, which is presented by Scicon and the City of Drakenstein, saw the DiData Continental team scoop the top three placings.
The 22-year-old Main and stage two winner Stefan de Bod crossed the finish line together in 3:39:56.
They were followed by Italian Matteo Sobrero, who got the better of Gustav Basson (ProTouch) in the closing metres.
With two stages left, De Bod provisionally leads the race ahead of Main and Basson.
Main said their teamwork had played a critical role in the day’s success.
“Luca [Mozzato) started off things at the beginning of the climb, keeping the pace nice and high, along with Ollie Jones,” said Main.
“Once they peeled off Matteo did a massive job for us and with about 4km to go, I did a small acceleration to get rid of the last riders, leaving just Stefan and myself.
“The biggest thing I can say today is that it was a perfect team effort. If it wasn’t for that, it would not have worked out so well for us in the end,” said Main.
“My teammates were able to put pressure on the rest so by the time they reached the climb they were already battling a bit.”
Although he said his form was good, he emphasised that there was still a lot of work to be done.
“The tour is not over yet and anything can happen,” said Main.
Spur’s Ariane Luthi consolidated her place at the top of the standings with her second stage win in as many days.
She stopped the clock on 4:20:39 to beat Carmen Buchacher (dormakaba) and Lucy James to the line.
After a group of six broke away fairly early, Luthi said the action came down to the final climb.
“Carmen then started pacing quite hard and I felt comfortable. I thought Carla [Oberholzer] was my biggest threat for yellow,” explained Luthi.
“When I looked back and saw her suffering a bit, I pushed harder and was able to force a split in the final few kilometres. Carmen and Lucy stayed with me.”
From that point, it became a tactical battle, but she managed to surge ahead in sight of the finish and was able to maintain the gap.
Tomorrow’s fourth stage is over 134km with an equally challenging 2 900m of climbing.