The Cadence Tyger Valley pair finished second last year, losing out to Riccardo Stermin and Andreas Studer by just over 12 minutes.
They moved to the top tier of the podium this time, however, beating Jacques van Staden and Marshall Hendricks by over seven minutes.
Malan, an ambassador for SCOTT Sports Africa, said he and Coetzee did not have the ideal preparation leading up to the event, so winning on Saturday was unexpected.
“It was quite a surprise to win and very emotional,” Malan told In the Bunch today.
“After coming second last year our plan this season was definitely to win it. We got the whole coaching system in place and our training was right on schedule – up until about seven weeks ago.”
That was when “life started to get in the way”, Malan said. This forced them to adopt a different approach in the lead-up to the event.
“We had to start prioritising our kids, families, work and the house. Training was the first thing to take the knock, so we were forced to drop our expectations,” he said.
“We literally said to each other about two weeks before the race that we were just going to go out and have fun and see how our bodies would react.”
That mental adjustment took its toll in the race itself, Malan said. “It was actually quite emotional in the race to try and overcome the lack of training we had over the last six weeks,” he said.
“We originally had the ‘perfect’ Baviaans plan in our minds by sticking to our training programmes and preparing as well as we could.
“Then both of us faced general issues in life which put us off. Mentally it was difficult to sit that long in the saddle but we decided, strategically, to stop as little as we could at the water points.
“At the end that fortunately paid off; I think our total stoppage time was around eight minutes.
“But it was a challenge for me to get my mind around the fact that my body was not 100 per cent prepared. It showed that if you put your mind to something you can achieve anything.”
Malan, a contractor from Hermanus, said before the start of the race that they aimed just to “ride on our stats so we can know what we’re capable of”.
“Baviaans is a very strategic race,” he said. “If you see guys go past you, you are very tempted to go with them, but if you want to stick to your game plan and ride a consistent pace you cannot burn your matches too early.
“It was often very hard to hold back, especially on the sprint sections. We were definitely challenged for our positions at various times.”
The pair led going through the second checkpoint at 104.3km in, before getting caught by two other teams at the “Fangs” climb approximately 30km later.
“We just decided to let them go and we eventually caught the one team going up Bergplaas, before we changed our lights at the top.
“We then started to ride really hard after checkpoint five, which is where I was really struggling to keep up with Johan.
“My mind was strong so I was able to stay with him going up the whole ‘Neverender’ climb.”
In almost a repeat of last week’s race, both the leading pairs took two different wrongly marked turns in the last 30km of the race.
Malan said they lost up to five minutes due to the wrong turn and the leaders held a 15-minute lead over them after they got back on track.
Then after the seventh checkpoint – about 200km in – the leading team took a different wrong turn.
“Luckily for us they strayed off the route much further than we did,” Malan said.
“It definitely helped to look at the road book and route profile. We are all riding with GPS devices so it is frankly your own fault [if you get lost].
“It takes nothing to download the route and let your device guide you. It was basically a rookie error from all of us.”
Malan added that after the leading pair went astray they found extra power “out of nowhere” and just put the hammer down to win comfortably in the end.