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Team seeks third 94.7 win

The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg this weekend is the year’s final major road race.

But for Team Bonitas, it’s more than just a race, it’s a cornerstone South African title that’s an integral part of the team’s annual racing schedule. It’s an important final goal. And having won the coveted event for the past two years, Team Bonitas is committed to gunning for a third win in succession on Sunday.

For most of the 25 000-plus participants in the world’s second largest road race, a good time is the goal. For some that means a faster time than last year or a faster time than their training buddies; for others, it means enjoying the experience of riding a bicycle on roads closed to motorised traffic around Africa’s busiest city. But for Team Bonitas, time is irrelevant ÔÇô it’s all about position.

ÔÇ£We’re going for the win and we’re going in with our strongest possible team. It’s been a long season, but it’s long for our rivals too. The important thing is to go into the race with a plan and stick to it. If it gets foiled during the race, make a Plan B and stick with that,ÔÇØ said team owner and former three-time Cycle Challenge winner, Malcolm Lange.

In 2009, Team Bonitas won from a bunch sprint, while last year, the team’s then captain, Nic White, won from a solo breakaway in his final race as a full-time professional.

ÔÇ£We’ve always benefited from racing positively and being proactive rather than reactive and we’ll continue with that strategy. There is greater sprinting depth in the country this year and I think most teams will be content with a bunch finish. In Tyler Day, we’ve got a powerful, fast sprinter. This race finish suits someone like that, but we have strong back-up options in Johann Rabie and Hanco Kachelhoffer who can both deliver a decent finishing burst in the right circumstances,ÔÇØ added Lange.

Team Bonitas will also have the experience of Waylon Woolcock and Neil MacDonald, who have been on mountain bike racing duty with sister team, RE:CM recently. They’ll add important tactical nous to the team and are both in excellent form, although MacDonald has spent the last two weeks recovering from illness. However, his victory in the Momentum 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge this past Sunday confirmed he is virtually back to full health.

In Darren Lill, the team has a former winner of the Cycle Challenge. The current South African champion, who was part of Team SA at the All Africa Games in Mozambique earlier this year, won the race with a solo breakaway in 2005. He’s in good form and due a big win and could well cause a surprise. The team’s young guns will also be eager to please and what better platform to confirm their potential than victory in a race with such a high profile.

The Cycle Challenge remains one of the most difficult races to control. With no significant climbs or strong winds, it’s only high pace and tactical maneuvering that determine the outcome of what is virtually a lottery. But even in a lottery, preparation can lead to a better chance of success. And many people would say that no team is better prepared that Team Bonitas.

Team Bonitas: Tyler Day, Waylon Woolcock, Jason Bakke, Johann Rabie, Songezo Jim, Neil MacDonald, Hanco Kachelhoffer, Gawie Combrink, Luthando Kaka, Darren Lill.


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