BCX professional Nolan Hoffman and Demacon’s Carla Oberholzer were crowned the Bestmed Cycle4Cansa champions in the 20th edition of the 103km road classic at Sun City in the Pilanesberg today.
Hoffman won his third title overall and his second in succession, while Oberholzer was delighted to claim her maiden win after several previous attempts.
In a fast finish, Hoffman crossed the line in 2:23:21, capitalising on a cross-tailwind and fine support from his team to hold off last year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour champion Clint Hendricks and his RoadCover teammate Ryan Harris in the final dash.
The 32-year-old Hoffman, who lives on the West Rand, paid tribute to his teammates for delivering him the title.
“The team rode a phenomenal race today and it’s very rewarding to give them a win. It’s a big relief and helps to settle the nerves for the forthcoming races.”
Hoffman, who learnt his trade in Franschhoek in the Western Cape where he grew up, said they had been pushed hard by RoadCover, who sent Hendricks and teammate Willie Smit up the road with about 40km to go.
“Although it was a bit of scare I still had David Maree and Wesley Eslick with me and, with help from the Rand Water guys, we put in a solid chase and caught them with about 20km left.”
He said, with three teammates alongside him, they did everything right in the final kilometre.
“There was this tailwind from the side and I have done this so many times that I know that if you get it right it’s impossible to come off the wheel.
“My teammates had me well positioned on the lefthand side of the road and I made the jump with about 200 metres left.
“Being a big guy with a tailwind like this and going slightly downhill were perfect conditions and I was so glad I could deliver the win.”
Obeholzer is perhaps better known for her climbing ability, but showed a sprinting side to her riding by finishing ahead of a lead group of seven.
She came home in 2:47:21 to beat Cherise Willeit and Demacon’s Heidi Dalton.
Oberholzer, from Clarens in the Eastern Free State, said the final break developed about 40km from home.
“Although there were four Demacon riders in the group, we could not form another breakaway and it came down to a sprint finish,” said the 30-year-old.
“We don’t have a specialist sprinter so it was everyone for herself,” she explained.
Henry Uys from Radiokop in Johannesburg outduelled defending champion Alex Pavlov to win Saturday’s 50km mountain bike race in 1:47:43.
Uys, who won the Barberton Ultra Marathon in January, neutralised an attack by Pavlov in the second lap and then launched one of his own on a short, steep climb about halfway through the 25km distance.
“I got ahead and then kept a nice high tempo until the end for my first win in this race,” he said.
Team Bestmed-ASG’s new signing, Kristin Louw, won the women’s race in 2:11:42.