The 18-year-old, who joined Team BCX at the end of last year for the current season, said it was an awesome feeling to have won.
“I think it’s an important one to try and break the ice with. It’s not easy winning a race, but it’s never easy winning your first race. It always takes a while.”
Pritzen said he and two teammates managed to get themselves into the first break during an early climb on the 175km route.
“On the other side of the climb we were rolling quite hard with the bunch chasing us down. The time gap was hovering between 35 and 40 seconds.
“I dropped out of the breakaway group at about 60km in with Calvin [Beneke]. The bunch that we sat in chased Chris [Jooste] and Dylan [Girdlestone] down in the front. The attacks started, I followed wheels and towards the end when Jason [Oosthuizen] attacked everyone was looking at me, so I kind of closed that gap.”
Pritzen added that on the last climb, as he caught Oosthuizen he was expecting an attack, but he looked over at his competitors and saw a couple of heads going down.
“That was when I decided that it was my time to go. I went over the top and forced myself not to look back, but I did at about 200m to go and I couldn’t believe that there was nobody behind me. It was a really awesome feeling.”
Pritzen, who won the Ezemvelo MTB Challenge last month, felt a tactic that worked in their team’s favour was to have a rider up in the break so they could save themselves for the finale.
“The first climb also suited me well as it was long and gradual. I found the distance a challenge though. Last year when I competed on the mountain bike the racing time was about one hour and 40 minutes to two hours. Now to start racing for four hours was difficult.”
The way he overcame this was to follow his coach’s advice, which was to eat as much as possible during the race and refuel himself.
“The end was good for me too as I like the hard finishes where only a small group gets over the top and then you can battle it out with them,” said Pritzen, who went into the race with the goal to win.
“It’s unreal that it actually happened. I still can’t believe it. I’m not sure what my next goal is. I’m just going to enjoy this win for now.”