Travis comes up trumps | SASCOC - SASCOC

Travis comes up trumps

House of Paint rider, 24-year-old Travis Allen won the first race of the three legged Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge in windy conditions in Port Elizabeth at the weekend. The HOP (House of Paint Team) was arguably the strongest in the field and dominated from the start of the 102km loop course race. With the likes of Michael Pepper, Travis Allen, Jeremy Maartens and SA Champion Jamie Ball, the  Durban based team was always going to be in control of matters.

Manfred Seidler reports that some 500 or so riders rolled out of Hobie Beach on the Port Elizabeth beachfront. The first attack on the rolling hills course came at 10km and immediately there were eight riders who were able to break away, six of them from the House of Paint team. Alternating the work upfront the likes of Jamie Ball, Maartens, Allen, Pepper, Richard Baxter and Michael Robbinson were able to open up a series gap over the main peleton. Allen doing most of the work.

Although the course did not feature any big climbs the short, sharp hills and odd turns of the route did take their toll and with 40km Allen through in another attack and only team mates Pepper, Jason Bakke, Ball and Richard Baxter were able to go with the attacking Allen.

Once the finish line came in sight, it turned into a sprint finish for the four House of Paint riders with Allen just getting the nod ahead of compatriot Michael Pepper and Jason Bukke rounding out the podium ahead of SA Champ Jamie Ball.

The women’s race was dominated by eight-time SA Champion Anriette Schoeman (Team Nashua Telekoms) who broke away 20km into the race and was time trialling to the finish, much like Cassandra Slingerland did at the 2008 Amashova Shova. For Schoeman the Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge was a test of her fitness as she was coming back from injury after crashing at the SA Championships in March – the same wrist that she broke on Valentine’s day in 2007.

Anriette had only started training 10 days prior to this race after a lay-off to nurse the injured wrist, which thankfully only had some bones move as opposed to breaking it again. The big move came on the short sharp climb at 500m when she decided to test her legs and powered away from the group she was riding with.

‘I looked back and I had opened a gap of 30m and decided to see how long it would take for them come back.’ One of the group did come over to Anriette but refused to do any work so she dropped him on the next climb. But the 31-year-old was not going to have things her own way, as Lindi Erasmus started to chase her down after latching onto the male rider who had previously closed her down.

In the end though the experience, strength and guile of Schoeman came through to win in front of her home crowd. ‘I rode flat box for 80km, cramped a bit as well but was able to have a good ride today. There is still some work to be done and I want to be in shape in the July for the Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour on July 5 and the Jock Cycle Classic and the rest of the season.’

Elite Men:
1.    Travis Allen        House of Paint            2:27;58
2.    Michael Pepper    House of Paint            2:27.59
3.    Jamie Ball        House of Paint            2:28;01

Under-23 Men
1.    Jason Bakke (3rd overall) House of Paint        2:28;00
2.    Conrad Viljoen (5th overall) House of Paint    2:30;16

1.    Anriette Schoeman    Team Nashua Telekoms 2:49;51