“My objective was to win the tour with my team,” said Main, who added that it was a bittersweet feeling to finish second in 11:38:44, especially because it was so close.
The ProTouch rider, who finished ninth on the fourth and final 116km stage, said the day was very controlled until OfficeGuru’s Dylan Girdlestone attacked far out.
“He put a lot of pressure on the Dimension Data boys as he was only a minute or so behind.
“This suited me and allowed me to follow and ride conservatively as DiData chased full gas going into the finishing circuit. I tried to attack Battistella in the circuit but he was pretty quick to close me down and mark me.”
The East Rand Classic champion said the 103km third stage was the most important for those who were aiming for a high placing in the general classification.
“The finish climb wasn’t terribly hard but definitely a climb that would show who was strongest in the tour.
“Having done a short camp in the area a few weeks prior to the race, I knew the climb well so it really was crucial for me to ride it from the front.
“I ended up second behind Battistella, who put in a big finishing effort to take the win.”
Main, who finished 13th in last month’s Tour de Langkawi, felt the second stage, which covered 96.6km, was “slightly harder than expected”.
“It proved to be quite decisive in the GC as a few guys who were in contention lost a little time there too.
“It was also the day we descended into Magoebaskloof, which was super fast and eye opening,” said Main, who placed seventh on the day.
The 23-year-old said the opening 172km stage, which was won by fellow countryman and last year’s overall winner Gustav Basson, was fast from the start and proved important in the bigger scheme of things.
“I’d say it was probably the stage that set everything up for the GC as it caused big time splits in the classification.
“My teammates did a super job that day in closing down a very dangerous move that we were not happy with, so I really owe them a lot for what they did there and throughout the rest of the tour,” said Main, who crossed the finish in ninth.
He felt Battistella and Connor Brown, who claimed third overall, were the ones who showed the most power from the first day.
“They’re pretty classy and rode with a lot of aggression.”
Main added that each of his teammates gave everything they could for him throughout the tour.
“There was not one time they had other agendas but to give their all.”