What was most alarming, however, was that almost the whole field of riders was scrapped after a defining section in the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve.
The riders entered the reserve, which comprised some climbing, on one narrow stretch of road and left via the same route.
Jooste said if the bunch was not within three minutes of the leaders then they were “cut off” as it was too dangerous to have the bunch and the front riders going in opposite directions along the same road.
“It was a single road going in and out of the reserve so there couldn’t be too many riders going up the climb while we were going down [on the way back],” Jooste told In the Bunch today.
Courtesy of Jooste and Hoffman’s solo lead and the breakaway group’s gap from the bunch, only eight riders finished the race – the only survivors of the time barrier.
The Johannesburg local, who won the Knysna Cycle Tour two months ago, said the race got off to a leisurely start before any moves were made.
“No one was really committing to anything before a soft move went off the front,” Jooste said.
“Two officegurus guys, Steven, as well as Casper Kruger were in that breakaway.
“We were sort of content with it, but we didn’t want them to get too much time [on us] because it would have been hard to chase them down with the route being quite fast.
“We then set out to attack on the Walkerville hill [10km in], so we could have more guys up the road. Nolan and I managed to get clear from the bunch up there.”
The two were able to bridge over to the breakaway, which he described as “negative”.
“No one wanted to ride with us because we were quite dominant in the breakaway at that stage and I was marked as one of the favourites.
“We took it upon ourselves to race aggressively and then Nolan and I went clear from them as well. It was up to them to chase us down, but we just kept riding and the gap kept gradually growing.”
Jooste and Hoffman rode at the head of affairs for a full 125km until the finish, eventually winning by a comfortable margin from the chasing group.
The route was traditionally longer than most South African races and Jooste felt this suited him on the day.
“It played a bit to my strengths, especially with some of the climbs towards the end in Suikerbosrand,” he said.
“It was also basically in my backyard from where I stay here in Johannesburg; it was a road that I train on almost every day.”
Jooste and his team will now turn their focus to the Tour de Windhoek in Namibia on September 21 in which he said they hoped for a similar result to last year when Van Heerden claimed the overall title.