In concluding our three-part series we discover who well-known local commentator Johnny Koen considers to have been the top five South African road cyclists of the 2000s.
Daryl Impey, who rides for UCI WorldTeam Mitchelton-Scott, gets first mention.
The 35-year-old this year won the time-trial at the national road champs, placed third in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and sixth overall in the Tour Down Under.
“He vies with the late Alan van Heerden for the ‘best ever’ slot,” said Koen.
“Daryl’s amazing feats, like two Tour Down Under titles, Tour de France stage wins and the first African to don the maillot jaune, as well as multiple SA road and time-trial titles, put him right up there.”
Next is the 42-year-old Robbie Hunter, who competed professionally between 1999 and 2013 and rode for UCI ProTeam Garmin-Sharp during his final pro season.
His palmares includes stage wins at the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Tour de Suisse, Volta a Catalunya and Tour de Pologne, as well as national road and time-trial titles and a Cape Town Cycle Tour win.
“His achievements place him, separable by only a photo finish, into the second spot here to Daryl,” said Koen.
Next on his list is current national road and time-trial champ Ashleigh Moolman Pasio who, according to Koen, is “equal to the boys in the big league”.
The 34-year-old has also won the road race and time-trial at the African Continental Championships and has achieved second places in the Fleche Wallonne and Giro Rosa.
“Her two wins in the Giro della Toscana, multiple national titles, Commonwealth Games bronze medal and having been in the top-10 worldwide for the best part of the last decade sees Ashleigh deservedly in this select group.”
Koen mentions the 46-year-old Malcolm Lange next. Lange won the road race at the national champs on three occasions. He also rode in two events at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
“With 407 wins on the road, Malcolm dominated the SA single-day road scene for more than a decade, winning everything at least once, and then a few times on many occasions,” said Koen.
The road and track cyclist Nolan Hoffman, 34, features next on the list.
Hoffman competed in the scratch event at the 2012, 2013 and 2014 UCI Track World Championships, claiming silver in 2012. He has also won the Cape Town Cycle Tour three times and Paarl Boxing Day seven times.
“He’s the most ubiquitous winner on the SA scene in recent history,” said Koen.
“The Hoff has won everything but the national road race title, to which he always jokingly adds he would do so if only it was held on the track at Paarl one year.”