The OfficeGuru rider said it was not his intention to win. His goal for the third stage was to make an early move in a bid to secure King of the Mountains (KOM) points.
“Another goal was that if some of the general classification contenders from our team jumped over to us I would help them to the finish.”
Barrett felt the team ticked every box they had set out to do.
“The stage went according to plan. I had to follow a few moves before eventually getting into one that would stick. When we had a gap the rest of the guys from our team slowed down the pace.
“I managed to get the first two KOMs quite easily and when we arrived at the top of the second KOM I heard we had quite a big gap and my focus shifted fully towards the win, knowing that I had the jersey in the bag.”
He knew with the last two KOMs being fast that if he could create a gap over the top he could solo to the finish, but Devin Shortt, who ultimately finished second, managed to follow him.
“I definitely knew with it being a fairly fast finish I could take it. It was quite an overwhelming feeling crossing the line, especially with it being my first win. It means a lot.”
He added that today was not as hot as the previous two days, but it was still crucial to keep hydrated throughout as dehydration could affect the riders later on.
“The first few days have been good for the team so far, but my puncture during yesterday’s time-trial shattered my GC hopes. This means I can now focus fully on helping my teammates.”
He added that there were still many days of hard racing ahead. “I’ll definitely just take it one day at a time. We will all be looking after each other.”
Barrett said he came into the tour fresh and happy with his form. He felt “quite good” today, especially up the climbs where it was crucial.
“This is my second time doing the tour and I came into this year’s edition much more prepared than last year, which was mainly about surviving it,” the 19-year-old said.
Barrett added that he spent some time in Lesotho with a few teammates before the tour which he believed had helped with his form.
Stage four: Blyde Canyon to Mbombela Stadium
Stage five: White River to White River
Stage six: Mbombela Stadium to eManzana (Badplaas)
Stage seven: eManzana to Loskopdam