Thulasizwe Mxenge came completely out of left field to power his way to the 2017 Daily Dispatch Cycle Tour title at the Buffalo Club yesterday morning.
Mxenge, from team Rand Water Transnet, took his first Dispatch title in a time of 2:43:19, 10 seconds ahead of teammate Luthando Kaka, who was followed in by Tim Jenkenson of the Giants team a further 21 seconds back in third.
“I am very happy for the win; it has been a hard season for me. I have been training hard since the beginning of the year to get myself to the top level, and it was a fantastic day today,” said Mxenge.
“I would like to thank my sponsors for believing in me.”
In an aggressive ride from the outset, Mxenge looked to break up the field and make the other teams work, not allowing them to dictate the pace of the race.
He made an early break along with Jenkenson, before they were caught near the first King of the Mountain category, with them making another break around the 70km mark, which became a group of four along with Kaka and another Giants rider Theuns van der Bank.
Mxenge and Jenkenson then made their move again to drop the other two, before Mxenge attacked on the final climb to power away, while Kaka then passed Jenkenson for second.
Defending champion Brad Gouveris (Giants) finished fifth behind Van der Bank, while Thando Zothe (Rand Water Transnet), who claimed the King of the Mountains category, finished sixth.
“I was hoping to get away from the BCX rider Reynard Butler and the Giants guys, so that was the plan and everything just went according to plan,” said Mxenge.
“In the last five kilometres I knew I had to go; we were in the last climb, and that is my advantage, and the guy I was with is a big guy and I knew if it came down to a sprint he would beat me, so I had to make my move and I did and it came off.”
In the women’s race Daily Dispatch Cycle Tour legend Anriette Schoeman cruised to her sixth title in a row and seventh overall.
Despite coming off a recent sickness Schoeman still took the win in a time of two hours and 57 minutes, 21 seconds ahead of the chasing Lauren Coleman, while local talent Elne Owen took a superb third place in a time of 3:09:16.
“It was an incredibly tough race, I wasn’t as strong as I would normally be coming off my flu, and wasn’t as well prepared, so I just had to dig deeper than usual, and am elated to get the win,” said Schoeman.
“I wasn’t sure how my body was going to respond to the racing, so at times I was going at 110%, and I was just relieved to get the win.”
Owen was the only local rider to place in the top three overall in the 102km ride, and displayed the impressive talent she has.
“I am quite happy to take third place; it was a great day out and I really enjoyed the race,” said Owen.
In the 50km race Alex Rossouw was in a league of his own as he powered to a first-place finish in 1:41:56, nine minutes and 52 seconds ahead of Fanie van Biljon, while Trevor Rossouw rounded out the podium after finishing in two hours and six seconds.
On the women’s front Delene Folley took the win in 2:02:23, with Tarryn Lots taking second just under six minutes later, with Hayley Mclaren finishing third.
The 19km race saw Colby Watson, Stephen Salzwedel and Haydon Wood take the three positions on the men’s front, while the top three women in were Carla Hartslief, Teagan Ford and in third, Thembisa Futshane.