Team Telkom’s David Maree took the honours in the Bestmed Berge en Dale Championship at Muldersdrift on the West Rand today when he ousted RoadCover’s Kent Main in a sprint finish.
Calling the win “a bit of a surprise, the 27-year-old from Fourways in Johannesburg said they had initially planned their strategy around the team’s sprinter, Reynard Butler, in anticipation of a bunch finish to the 102km road cycling classic.
However, Maree and Main broke clear from the main peloton with about 10km remaining and managed to hold them off in the closing stages.
Butler led the leading bunch home to take third spot on the podium.
Telkom and RoadCover set the pace from the start, which led to Maree and RoadCover’s Clint Hendricks – who will be defending his Cape Town Cycle Tour title next month – going clear on Krugersdorp Hill. They were joined by Marvin van Musschenbroek.
“Knowing that Clint is a very fast sprinter, my plan was to roll with him and get him to exert himself as much as possible,” said Maree.
The breakaway were eventually reeled in by the peloton before Main put in a surge with about 10km to go.
“I followed him, knowing that I have the speed although I had done quite a bit in the race already. But Kent had also ridden quite hard so we worked well together.
“With 3km to go we only had 16 seconds on the chasing group of about 10, so it was very close. We managed to just hold them off by about 10 seconds in a really good race.”
Demacon’s Kim le Court used her power in a sprint finish to retain the elite women’s title.
She was followed home by Olympian and Bestmed-ASG’s new leader, An-Li Kachelhoffer, and Clover’s Charlene du Preez.
The 20-year-old Le Court, who hails from Mauritius but is based in Pretoria, was delighted with the result, given the fact that she had joined a new team this year.
“I do know Heidi Dalton, who is a good friend, but the other teammates are all new so it takes a while to build up that sort of relationship you need.”
She said the victory was a good motivation as it placed her in a strong position for the year.
“They say if you can win the Berge en Dale, you have a good medal chance at the African Cycling Championships, which are in Egypt this year.”