Hilton rider Edward Greene stole the limelight with a comprehensive victory in the 126km road race of the Msunduzi Road Challenge after a decisive break on the closing stages of the race.
The team RSAWeb rider was part of an eleven rider breakaway that split the front peleton shortly after the halfway point at Dalton, and made his move as the contenders reached the outer city limits, and reached the finish at Alexandra Park alone after a gutsy solo break.
“I had good race, but it was hot out there!,” said Greene. “I had to keep a consistent pace throughout. At 60km I picked up the pace and had to go hard. Fifteen of us broke away from the group and I put in an attack at the 105 km mark and got through.”
“I found the race quite relaxed, but kept my pace consistent as I had recced the race and knew what was coming,” Greene added.
Greene’s break splintered the front bunch as rider tried individually to try and catch him. William Bush finished second with another U23 rider Kallen Williams filling the last spot on the podium, just ahead of elite rider Abraham le Roux.
Another road racing icon Andrew Mclean took his 45-49 year age group title and was fifth overall, confirming his return to form after a two month injury layoff. “I found the race route fantastic. No huge climbs, but enough to make it challenging.” The road traffic control was excellent,” said McLean.
The 110km race was won by Gauteng rider Mark Langman, racing in the 50-54 age group, breaking away from a big bunch that diced for the two remaining places on the podium, which went to Uwe Schmidt and Gary Beneke.
“The weather was great although a little windy at some points so I had to do some gutter riding,” said Langman.
“The road closure and traffic control was excellent. It was a tough race, with a great route that was very challenging.”
The 90km race was overall in a sprint to the line by Maurice Connor, edging out the impressive Norwegian female Sissel Vien, who won both her time trial and road race in her 50-54 year category.
“I’m exhausted and it was very hot out there,” said Connor. “When we managed to break free from the bunch we worked well but had to keep it going throughout the race. I think we all found it quite windy on the up hills but the route was great. This wins me the SA Champs so I’m very happy.
“We were the perfect team,” said an enthusiastic Vien afterwards. “He (Connor) pulled all the hills and I worked the straights. The course was very tough and I found it quite challenging from the New Hanover point.”
The event doubled as the national road championship title decider in several masters age groups following the cancellation of the event in Port Elizabeth that had been awarded the champs.
Lindy Erasmus won the 30-35 age group, beating timetrial champ Nanette Burger, who was unusually off-form on the road, conceding the SA champs jersey to Erasmus.
The event served as a dress rehearsal for the UCI World Cycling Tour finals next year that was awarded to the Msunduzi Road Challenge last month. Race director Alex Lenferna said he was pleased with the outcome of the time trial and the road race, and thanked the people of Pietermaritzburg for their understanding of the road closures.
More information can be found at www.msunduziroadchallenge.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
MSUNDUZI ROAD CHALLENGE
1. Edward Greene 3:22:11 U23
2. William Bush 3:22:40 U23
3. Kallen Williams 3:23:00 U 23
4. Abraham Le Roux 3:23:06 Elite
5.Andrew McLean 3:23:10 45 – 49
1.Mark Langman 3:10:17 50-52
2.Uwe Schmidt 3:10:48 50-54
3.Gary Beneke 3:10:48 45-49
4.Paul Furbank 3:10:48 55-59
5.Adriaan Beukes 3:10:49 50-54
1.Maurice Connor 2:47:35 65-69
2.Sissel Vien 2:47:36 F 50-54
3.Francesco Sperotto 2:51:55 65-69
4.Pauline Cound 2:58:59 F 50-54
5.Alma Bester 3:01:42 F50-54