Thousands of cyclists turned up at the start of this morning’s Knysna Cycle Tour road races despite chilly, wet conditions and, according to Marketing Manager Andrew Finn, speaking on behalf of the organisers, Knysna Rotary, the event went off smoothly.
The event followed yesterday’s MTB races, the opening event of the annual Knysna Oyster Festival.
First time winner of the Elite men’s 116 km race, 28-year-old Clint Hendricks (ProTouch) said it was a cold start but not too early and the race was “pretty aggressive” with lots of great riders and pro cycling teams supporting it.
Hendricks’ winning time was 2:56:10. He beat Nolan Hoffman (Team Enza) (2:57:26) and Rainhardt Marais (Alpha Bodyworks) who was a split second behind Hoffman.
Says Hendricks: “We came here with five riders, lots of sprinters, not so many climbers, so we had our work cut out today. There were lots of flurry attacks and we just had to be active. Eventually myself and Nolan (Hoffman) rode across to a big group that got a big gap and there we just tried to keep it controlled. I attacked at the bottom of the climb and I had good legs and kept it all the way to the line.”
The race featured a new route this year with a total ascent of 1,351 m and a 2,1 km section of gravel on the Seven Passes Road.
“The gravel section was very interesting. It put something different into the race and I was open minded about it. For some reason I was very relaxed and calm the whole day. There was not a lot of pressure on the team or me to win the race. There were some good lines on the gravel that you could follow so it’s not really dangerous. Obviously, the rain made it a bit soft, but it was pretty nice.”
Hendricks and his teammates are flying to Europe for six weeks next Saturday to do a tour in Poland then spend a couple of weeks in Portugal before the African Games in August in Morocco.
Winner of the Elite women’s race, Tiffany Keep said that this was her first Knysna Cycle Tour event but she will definitely be back for more. She beat Lucy James (317:49) and Helen Gebreyesus (3:25:10).
Marketing Director of the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour, Andrew Finn said that the weekend of cycling events had gone extremely well, despite the wet and windy conditions. “Yesterday’s conditions were perfect for the mountain bikers because it wasn’t too wet but today there was lots of rain. It didn’t seem to dampen spirits and we were very pleased with the turnout and felt the event went smoothly.
“The SPUR Children’s Cycle Tour was lots of fun although the rain kept some families in bed this morning.”
All the results from the weekend’s races are on www.racetec.co.za.