The NAD Pro pair finished with a final general classification time of 7:35:26, just under three minutes clear of Spur-Specialized’s Alan Hatherly and Simon Andreassen.
“I’ve been doing this race since 2013 and I’ve never really felt before that I was strong enough to win it – either due to not feeling great or the portage [on stage one],” Beers told In the Bunch today.
“That kind of ruled it out for me, because of the injury to my ankle. But my foot started adjusting and it began to become a realistic goal.”
Botha, turning 20 later this month, made a step-up to NAD Pro’s first team to race with Beers for the first time.
Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck rode as the second team and finished third overall.
“It was a great win for Wessel. I’m really happy that it could put his career in an upward trajectory,” said Beers.
“He was a really easy partner [to ride with]. Our strengths are quite similar. He’s a very punchy and fast rider, so I knew I didn’t have much to worry about.”
Botha did learn some lessons, though, Beers added. “I think he realised it’s not all over after getting a puncture, so it was about knowing how to pace back.
“I think that was a valuable thing to learn at such a young age.”
The pair won the opening stage by almost four minutes over Hatherly and Andreassen.
Hatherly and Andreassen, however, went on to win the following two stages, but not by enough to erase the four-minute buffer Beers and Botha had created.
“I told Wessel before the race that the first stage was always going to be important to get a gap,” Beers said.
“Over the years it has always pretty much been won or lost on the first stage. I told him that whenever we needed to make it happen, it had to be then.
“We then saw Alan struggling, put him under pressure and we managed to get that gap. Wessel was still strong and that was our saving grace.”
It was not all smooth sailing for the pair, though, Beers said, as they were plagued by mechanicals throughout the race.
“The race definitely had its challenges regarding mechanicals, but we just never gave up.
“We tried to race as hard as we could and I aimed to nurture Wessel through it as well.”
Hatherly and Andreassen were not the only ones who pushed them, Beers said.
“We had quite a big group of really good riders which made the racing dynamics quite difficult, [especially] on the second day.
“HB [Kruger] and Calle [Friberg] were very strong on the last day and so were Frans [Claes] and Jasper [Stuyven].
“Fortunately Nico and Gawie were right up there as well and we didn’t have to fight against them,” he said, adding that Bell assisted them with a wheel swop on the final stage.
“That’s the great part of having two teams. That could’ve been our race over.
“On top of that we took a wrong turn as well, so it was quite a stressful last stage.”
Beers said he was now done with racing for 2018, adding that the victory was a “nice way to end off the season”.
“To go out of the season on a high like that is really important.”