The 24-year-old said he was very happy with his first win of the season as a rider for the team.
“I’ve been working hard and it’s an awesome feeling to open up the season’s winning account with this victory at Wilro,” he said.
The race kicked off at a very fast pace with riders attacking from all sides and the ProTouch team having to cover a lot of moves.
“The race broke away just before Hekpoort where two riders tried to get away. I jumped over and soon we formed an eight-man group that consisted of riders such as David [Maree], Calvin [Beneke], Reynard [Butler] and James [Fourie],” said Julius.
Together with teammates Butler and Fourie, the three formed an alliance where they tried to make a gap. Once it was established, attacks were thrown out during the last 30km.
“I attempted to ride away multiple times, but everyone covered me properly. I was left hoping it would come down to a sprint, but in the last 2km Brandon [Downes] and James tried to ride away,” said Julius.
He added that with Butler having sacrificed his sprinting day for him, he had to try and win the stage.
“With 500m to go I knew I had to start my sprint from far to get on the wheel and then to go past them. I went for the finish and managed to get a fantastic result for the team – me in first and Reynard in second.”
Julius, who finished the 114km course in a time of 2:43:54, faced a few challenges throughout the route.
“The most challenging thing was the block headwind in the last 40km. It was brutal because riders were attacking left and right.”
The youngster also competed in the Double90 Team Challenge in Clarens the day before, taking sore legs with him into yesterday’s race.
“After finishing the Double90 I didn’t know if I was confident enough in how I was feeling, but as soon as I put pressure down on my pedals and my focus on trying to get in a good move I started feeling super.
“My confidence was growing as we reached the finish line. I was very happy to have achieved my objective, which was to win,” he said.
The ProTouch rider’s next goal is the Tour de Limpopo that starts in Polokwane on April 2.
“It’s a very big objective for me. With the form I’m carrying now I would like to see if I can ride for a good overall result,” he said.
Julius said he wanted to thank his teammates for all the hard work they put in and for believing in him to finish it off.
“I’m just over the moon and very blessed and fortunate that it happened.”