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Argentine rider upstages Mzansi’s top sprinters

Argentine’s Mauro Richeze (Nippo-De Rosa) outsmarted South Africa’s foremost sprinters to win the third stage of the UCI 2.2 Mzansi Tour powered by CATHSSETA.

The day really belonged to the international riders who made the most of the tricky technical last few hundred metres to the finish line.

Richeze’s winning time for the stage from Witbank to Mamelodi (147km) was 3hr 19min 51sec. Germany’s Lucas Liss (Rad-Net Rosa) finished second with South Africa’s Nolan Hoffman (Tasol-GT) being the third rider to cross the line. The top ┬á55 on the stage came within 20 seconds of the winner, which made an exciting finish for the spectators.

The Argentine rider was quite relieved to have a stage victory under his belt. ÔÇ£I owed it to my team to get a good result and today everything played out exactly as it should. I knew that I would be in with a chance to win the stage if there was a bunch sprint.ÔÇØ

Hoffman was content with his third place finish, but hoped for more. ÔÇ£The last few months my main focus was to be at my best for the World Track Championship, so my preparation for Mzansi Tour was far from satisfying.

“I was hoping, but did not really expect to, to get at least one podium finish in the tour. Finishing third is certainly a good confidence booster.ÔÇØ

The main break of the day was launched by Nippo’s Fukushima and then joined by three others, South Africa’s Neil MacDonald (FedGroup-Itec), Portugal’s Jose Goncalves (La Pomme Marseille) and Japan’s Shinichi Fukushima (Nippo-De Rosa).

Goncalves decided to attack just before Cullinan proving too strong for Fukushima that left him out on his own over the last 25 kilometres.

It took serious organized effort from the chasing teams to make the catch of a flying Goncalves. He was caught with approximately five kilometres to go when the sprinters took over the dash to the finish line.

Robert Hunter (South African National Team) retains the overall lead of 5min 50sec on Julien Antomarchi (La Pomme Marseille) on second, Fortunato Baliani (Nippo-De Rosa) is in third a further six seconds back.


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