Andrew Edwards and Calvin Beneke won their first Panorama Tour when the four-stage road race ended in White River on Tuesday.
The duo notched up an overall time of 8:53:17 in the elite men’s team race, with Casper Kruger and Andries Nigrini second. Callum Ormiston and Asher Biggs were third.
“I still feel very chuffed about the win. It was definitely our goal,” said the 20-year-old Edwards, who enjoyed his debut appearance in the Mpumalanga-based race.
The pair placed third overall in the first two stages before taking the lead in the queen stage. They managed to hold on to the jersey as they headed into the final day’s time trial.
Beneke found the 111.5km opening stage the toughest due to the Spitskop climb and Long Tom Pass.
“Stage two [72km] was short, fast and fun. It was exciting due to the distance,” said Beneke.
“The third stage [103km] had a lot more climbing and an out-and-back route. The pressure was on the leading pair of Callum and Asher to defend their lead, but coming into the last 10km the race had split up and Andrew and I took the lead.
“We rode away in the final kilometre and secured the lead.”
The 27-year-old Beneke added that the final 32km stage required a flat-out effort in order to secure the victory.
“We didn’t really have a strategy going into that last day. We were just reading the race as it played out. The plan to keep our placing was just to go harder,” said Edwards, who found the routes tough but felt they suited his climbing strengths.
Beneke enjoyed his partnership with Edwards as Protouch Guru PPS and said it was all about riding as a unit and ensuring they worked together.
Edwards endorsed Beneke’s view, saying they clicked and rode well together.
“Calvin definitely brought the flat power to our outfit. We had a strong team.”
Parys Edwards and Grant Edmiston won the mixed team race.