Dylan Girdlestone used a powerful attack in the final stretch to surge to victory in the fourth stage of the Takealot Tour of Good Hope road cycling race in the Cape Winelands today.
After a tough queen route of 145km, which saw riders tackle the Bainskloof Pass in both directions, the OfficeGuru Racing rider outduelled Kent Main (TEG Procycling) in the final two kilometres.
His stage time of 3:41:42 gives him a lead of 39 seconds over Main on the general classification, with the final stage over 66.7km finishing at the Taal Monument just outside Paarl tomorrow.
Main took second place today, with teammate Jason Oosthuizen completing the podium. They also occupy second and third positions respectively on the overall standings.
Girdlestone said his team were able to control the race on a testing stage after an early breakaway by HB Kruger and Steven van Heerden.
“We let them go up the road and although they were GC threats we thought that might eliminate them because it was a long hard day.”
After his teammates Andrew Edwards and Josh van Wyk paced the stage for the first 100km, Girdlestone said he, Travis Barrett, Alex Worsdale and Marc Pritzen worked to close the gap as they tackled Bainskloof for a second time.
“Near the top of the climb TEG started to attack and we had to close a couple of moves, which brought the time down [on the breakaway] quite a lot.
“Following the descent, TEG continued to attack, which put us on the back foot for a bit because Travis, Marc and I had to follow these attacks.”
When Main broke away from the group, Girdlestone stayed on his wheel before making his move with 1.5km to go.
Having done the race in 2015, Girdlestone said he knew all about the final stage and the last climb to the Taal Monument.
“We’ve got a strong team to cover all the moves up to the climb and then it will be up to the other GC contenders to try to make a move.”
Polish rider Maja Wloszczowska continued to build on her lead in the women’s race, winning her third stage in a row and setting herself up for the top overall spot in her debut Tour of Good Hope appearance.
She came home in 4:30:55, followed by Kross Fit Racing teammate Ariane Luthi and Catherine Colyn.
Wloszczowska leads the general classification in 10:21:52, with Luthi (10:26:02) second and Colyn (10:31:34) third.
“From the beginning Catherine [Colyn] set the pace and I, Lucy [James] and Ariane [Luthi] went with her,” she said.
“When it came to the final descent, Catherine and Ariane went so fast that we dropped Lucy and I just managed to hang on.
“With about 15km to go I attacked and managed to get away, but it was tough because it was further than I expected to the finish.”