RoadCover’s Kent Main produced a remarkable finish to claim the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope title in a terrific finale at the Taal Monument near Paarl today.
In one of the tightest finishes to any road tour in South Africa, Main used his power on the climb to overhaul overnight leader Myles van Musschenbroek’s lead of 51 seconds, snatching the honours by a single second.
It was an agonising outcome for the 24-year-old Pro Touch rider, particularly after a wait of about 15 minutes before the timekeepers were able to confirm the official standings.
Main ultimately clocked an overall time of 8:31:22 over four stages after the penultimate stage was cancelled due to extreme winds yesterday. His teammate Eddie van Heerden completed the podium in 8:32:22.
After forcing his way into overall contention with a fourth-place finish in Tuesday’s individual time-trial, Van Musschenbroek produced a brave effort to protect his lead, but Main’s climbing strength proved the difference.
Stage honours went to Dimension Data’s defending champion Stefan de Bod, followed by teammate Joseph Areruya. Main took third place on the day.
Afterwards the 21-year-old Main, from Linden in Johannesburg, said he was delighted with the first major victory of his career.
“I have often said to my mates this is one of the races I wanted to win and I think the result will be a big lift for my career.”
He paid tribute to the efforts of Van Musschenbroek who fought until the finish to maintain the overall lead.
“Myles was able to manage everything that came his way today and his team looked after him really well.
“We could not have done more to attack him and to eventually win it by one second is more than I could have hoped for.”
Van Musschenbroek, who lives in Rosebank in Johannesburg and works full time, said he had given it everything at the end and “was seeing stars and felt dizzy” after the finish.
“Our team has never been in this situation so from the start it was a learning experience. But my teammates rode perfectly to control the race.
“But Kent put up a great fight. It was fantastic for the race and he deserves the win.”
Main also won the King of the Mountain competition, with Alfa Bodyworks’ Irish import Philip Lavery taking the points competition.
Candace Lill of dormakaba claimed the women’s title by finishing fourth on the stage to comfortably protect the two-minute lead she had going into the final day.
British rider Chanel Mason and Bestmed-ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer fought it out for the stage honours on the climb, with Mason just shading her rival. Team Spur’s Ariane Luthi finished third.
Lill took the title in 10:46:48, followed by Mason in 10:48:41 and Kachelhoffer in 10:49:50.
The overnight leader, from Sun Valley in Cape Town, said she went into the stage with her priority being to defend the yellow jersey.
The 25-year-old Lill said the final climb had been a real test for the riders.
“This climb has everyone on their limits and it’s just a matter of hanging in there until the end.”
With a strong background in mountain biking, she was delighted to secure her first win in a road racing event.