Claiming his third individual time-trial title in a row, Stefan de Bod achieved his objective of bettering last year’s time in the second stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope outside Paarl in the Cape Winelands today.
The Dimension Data Continental rider was intent on showing an improvement over the same course as last year and finished the 26.5km distance in 32:30. This put him provisionally into the top spot in the general classification.
Taking second place on the day was his teammate and 2017 champion Kent Main, who completed the stage in 33:20, followed by ProTouch’s HB Kruger a further 15 seconds adrift.
The 21-year-old De Bod said he was happy with his hat-trick in South Africa’s premier road stage race.
“The finish line today was slightly different to last year, making it a bit shorter, but I still managed to beat my time by 50 seconds,” he said.
“With the slight change, that probably meant I was about 40 seconds quicker than in 2017 and in a short time-trial such as this it’s quite a lot. I definitely showed some improvement.”
He added that the team’s focus now would be to work hard to protect the yellow jersey.
De Bod said it would be a matter of good teamwork and smart tactics as they went about maintaining their grip on the race.
Spur’s former champion Ariane Luthi moved to the top in the women’s race overall when she came home in 40:25.
Mauritian Aurelie Halbwachs was second, six seconds slower, followed by Demacon’s national road champion Carla Oberholzer in 41:18.
“As a mountain biker where you need a threshold effort for a long period I felt I was suited to the time-trial and I’m very pleased to take the win,” said Luthi.
“There were quite a few rollers on the route, but I have learnt some time-trial tactics over the years and although I’m not a specialist, that experience helped me today.”
Presented by Scicon and the City of Drakenstein, the 491km race ends at the Taal Monument just outside Paarl on Friday.