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Day dashes to third
- Updated: February 12, 2011
Promising South African sprinter, Tyler Day (Team Bonitas), came within centimetres of beating one of his childhood heroes when he impressed with a third place finish on the first leg of the Tour de Mumbai international road cycling race in India on Friday.
Competing in his first international race, the 21-year-old first-year Team Bonitas professional┬á narrowly missed out on snatching second place from Australian legend and three-time Tour de France Green Jersey winner, Robbie McEwan (Radio Shack), on the 175km stage that started and finished in the city of Nashik.
In-form Italian sprinter Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the frantic dash for the line, but it was Day’s podium finish that became the hot topic in the South African cycling community. The normally quiet youngster from Klerksdorp was noticeably excited by his result.
ÔÇ£I’m very surprised with this result! Very happy too obviously,ÔÇØ beamed Day. ÔÇ£I had good legs today, but it’s all the training I’ve been doing over the past couple of months that’s paying off. I’ve been training really hard.ÔÇØ
Day, who won the recent VW Herald Classic Cycle Tour in Port Elizabeth, said that it felt strange almost beating McEwan and then climbing on the podium with him.
ÔÇ£I was quite nervous to even stand next to him. It felt quite weird. I watched him race on TV over the years when I was growing up and have always admired him. I didn’t know what to say to him, but he looked at me before we were called onto the podium and said well done,ÔÇØ said Day, who was quick to give his team credit for the result.
ÔÇ£I have the perfect team! Hanco (Kachelhoffer) and Johann (Rabie) got me to the front of the race at the end and I actually don’t know how. Hanco is one of the smallest guys but he made some risky moves during the last couple of kays to get me into a good position.
ÔÇ£Then Johann took over from him near the finish and put me right on McEwan’s back wheel. I immediately dived around McEwan, but there just wasn’t enough distance left for me to get past him.ÔÇØ
McEwan punctured with 5km remaining and instead of getting a wheel change, took a quicker option and grabbed a teammate’s bike. The bike wasn’t quite the correct size for McEwan, but he didn’t use that as an excuse and told media afterwards that Viviani deserved to win.
Earlier in the race Team Bonitas’ Neil Macdonald had been in a five-rider breakaway, which lasted for 130km. This took the pressure off the South African-based team and forced the higher-profile Liquigas and Radio Shack teams, neither of which had a rider in the break, to do the bulk of the pacing to reel the quintet in, which they succeeded in doing with 16km remaining.
The second part of the Tour de Mumbai, the only International Cycling Union-graded cycling event in India, is a 106km circuit race, which takes place in the city of Mumbai on Sunday.