Cape Town cyclist Rohan du Plooy and Port Elizabeth’s Anriette Schoeman were crowned champions in the Bestmed Makro Cycling Championship in Port Elizabeth today.
With rain and windy conditions making life difficult for the riders, Du Plooy led the elite category home in the 106km race in 2:46:04. He crossed the line in a group finish with teammates Bernard Esterhuizen (2:46:07) and Nicol Carstens (2:46:10).
Defending champion Schoeman, riding for Africa Silks-Bestmed, took the women’s crown for her 18th title in the 19-year history of the event. She finished in a time of 3:18:21.
The 23-year-old Du Plooy, of Alfa Bodyworks-Giant, said the team had enjoyed previous experiences of races in Port Elizabeth and had been unfazed by the weather.
“Races in Port Elizabeth are really well organised, with few traffic hassles, and we thrive in those sorts of situations,” he said.
“We are capable of handling weather conditions such as wind and rain, so we were quite excited about the situation.”
Taking the lead early on, the Cape Town outfit took control of the race and were able to cross the line together.
“I felt our team read the race very well and they were kind enough to give me the victory at the finish,” said Du Plooy. “Equally, I would have given it to any of them because it was a really good team effort.”
The 41-year-old Schoeman said it was the sort of day for which one had to be mentally prepared.
“You sort of just switch off your brain and prepare yourself to grind it out.”
She also acknowledged the race organisers, who made sure the event went off smoothly despite the testing conditions.
“The route markers were really good and the marshals did a fine job in some treacherous weather.”