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Road stars push for Paarl

Professional road cyclists in South Africa normally complete their season in mid-November at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge. But this year is different as the country’s top male and female pros line up for Sunday’s Die Burger Cycle Tour, near Paarl.

The 97 kilometre race which starts and finishes at the Nelson Wine Estate, doubles as the 13th and final round of the prestigious Alpha Pharm Seeding Series, the country’s most important road cycling series. After 11 months and 12 races around the country, the Seeding Series title is still undecided, although the main contenders are certain.

In the men’s division, Medscheme’s Arran Brown holds a 30-point lead over Neotel’s Nolan Hoffman. With 50 points on offer for first place, Hoffman has everything to race for, including a Seeding Series winner’s cheque of R29000.

For Hoffman to win, he would need to win and Brown would need to finish worse than sixth. Only bad luck or a crash is likely to prevent Brown from challenging for the win. He’s the most successful sprinter of 2009, including having won the Big Three ÔÇô the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, the MTN Amashovashova and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge.

In the women’s category, the title-chase is even tighter. Swedish national champion, Jennie Stenerhag (Alpha Pharm), has just a 10-point lead over former multiple South African champion, Anriette Schoeman (Nashua Telecoms).┬á It’s destined to be the dash of the year in women’s racing. Both are accomplished sprinters, but Schoeman has the benefit of a team to back her up and put her in the right position for the win.

In the case of a tie on final Seeding Series, points, the title will be decided on the rider that has won the most events in the Series. In the men’s section, Brown and Hoffman have each won three races, so the rider with the most second places ÔÇô Brown ÔÇô would then be awarded the crown; while in the women’s section, Stenerhag’s four wins to Schoeman’s one would give the Swede the edge.

The R200 000 cash purse on offer for the 2009 Alpha Pharm Seeding Series will be split evenly among the top 10 men and women as follows: 1st R29000, 2nd R22500, 3rd R16500, 4th R11500, 5th R8000, 6th R5000, 7th R3000, 8th R2000, 9th R1500, 10th R1000.

For more information on the Alpha Pharm Seeding Series, visit www.cycletour.co.za and for more information on Die Burger Fietstoer, visit www. dieburgercycletour.co.za.

Full Alpha Pharm Seeding Series points standings can be viewed at www.cycletour.co.za


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