“Being so close is never fun,” Beers said afterwards, admitting that he had made a tactical error and that Heyns had been the stronger rider on the day.
The NAD Pro rider praised Heyns as a good sprinter with a strong kick. “I knew I was going to have my work cut out when we were together with 5km to go.”
Heyns set a fast pace about 30km into the race, especially up the steep switchbacks.
“Matthys Beukes and I managed to open a gap on everyone else and it stayed like that, which was pretty crucial.
“Matthys attacked, I counterattacked and then Gert and I pretty much drove away just after the first loop.”
Beers said the route was wet and he struggled on one section where there was a technical and rocky switchback climb, about 58km in. That was where Heyns broke away.
“My strategy is always to stay at the front and out of trouble, especially in the beginning. SA champs is crazy; everyone is amped and can get in the way.
“It’s important to not let splits go, which is what happened today. That’s why I was riding at the front all the way. I know that if you’re three or four riders back you can get caught by others who might be unclipping.”
Beers said the most enjoyable part of the day was when it ended because the race had been a hard one.
“It was a bit of a relief but also disappointing. But you learn from your mistakes and I know my form is on the rise. I came pretty close to my goal of winning.”
Heyns was a great competitor and if he had to lose against anyone, it would be him, he added.
“He deserves it. He has been chasing the title for a long time. He’s a good champion.”
His own strategy in his next race would be the same as always, he added. “You want to win. That’s why we race.”