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Conrad comes back to win
- Updated: September 13, 2010
After a hiatus of two years, Eastern Province champion Conrad Viljoen (Mecer-NMMU) notched up his fourth victory in the 90-kilometre Makro-Defy Cycle Tour that was raced in windy conditions in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
His win was the cherry on the cake for the team, who claimed four of the top five places after a commanding tactical performance.
Viljoen, 26, edged out Oudtshoorn’s Denzil Africa (Toyota Cycling Academy) in a five-man sprint after failing to get rid of the courageous youngster on the final climb.
Track prodigy Kellan Gouveris snatched the final podium spot ahead of Mecer-NMMU team-mates Ronnie Scheffer and Reghardt Koen.
Africa took the honours in the Under-23 category while Gouveris was the top u/16 finisher.
Anri├½tte Schoeman, 33, who will be representing South Africa at the world championships in Australia next month, successfully defended her title in the women’s section
ÔÇ£I’m not really a sprinter, but if the situation calls for it, you have to go for it,ÔÇØ an ecstatic Viljoen said in a post-race interview. ÔÇ£We went out with a positive mindset and took the initiative. It was the perfect team performance.ÔÇØ
The action started when Scheffer and Bloemfontein’s Gerrit Nel (Mecer-Toshiba) attacked and went clear at Rocklands about 35 kilometres into the race. They quickly built a one-minute lead over the chasing pack.
After several counter-attacks in the main field, Koen and then Gouveris also managed to slip away after about 50km heading towards the first major climb at Maitlands.
Koen caught the leaders midway up the climb, with Gouveris making the junction just after at Seaview in the company of Viljoen and Africa, who had attacked and ridden across as soon as the ascent started.
The resultant six-man leading group reached the final climb at Chelsea with a cushion of just over a minute. The block headwind nullified most of the attacks, with a tiring Nel the only casualty.
ÔÇ£We tested the other two (Africa and Nel) on the climb while making sure not to sacrifice our numerical advantage. We managed to get rid off Gerrit, but Denzil obviously had good legs,ÔÇØ said Viljoen.
Scheffer and Koen gave up their chances of victory when they took over control of the breakaway group over the last five kilometres, allowing Viljoen and Gouveris to recover for the sprint.
The main bunch was led home by Brent Pheiffer (Walmer Cycling Club) less than a minute later.