Lange and Schoeman win windy Cape Argus cycle tour

Team Medscheme’s Malcolm Lange outsprinted a high quality breakaway group to win the 109km 2010 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in Cape Town on Sunday.

South African champion, Christoff van Heerden (MTN Energade) finished second with Daryl Impey (Team Radioshack) third.

The decisive break of 12 riders moved clear of the large peloton with 36km remaining, just before the climb of Chapman’s Peak Drive. The move contained seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong who was riding in support of his Radioshack teammate, Impey, a fast sprinter.

Lange’s Medscheme team rode a tactically brilliant race, forcing the front group to split in the strong crosswinds and getting Lange, Johann Rabie and Nicholas White into the break along with nine other riders.

“That was our pre-race plan. We decided to use the wind to our advantage and try and split the race up just before Chapman’s Peak. I know that my chances of a winning are best from small group and that suited us perfectly,” said an elated Lange afterwards.

Joining the Medscheme trio in the break were David George, Rene Hasselbacher (both, Dean Edwards, Tiaan Kannemeyer (both House of Paint), Armstrong, Impey, Burry Stander (Team Specialized), Bjorn Glasner (Team Kuota) and Van Heerden.

As the break reached the final kilometre, Armstrong put in a strong attack.

But the strength of the headwind nullified any effect that may have had.

Edwards, a powerful track sprinter then hit the front but it was also too soon and Lange moved out from his slipstream with 150m to go to win by more than a bike length in a time of two hours 39 minutes and 55 seconds.

“I was inspired to win today. Our teammate, Arran Brown, won last year and is out injured, so we really wanted to defend the title for the team,” beamed Lange.

“I owe this win to my team. They were brilliant and we rode a tactically perfect race!”

It was Lange’s third victory in the event. His other wins came in 1998 and 2003. It was the 407th win in his career, which has spanned 19 years.

World cycling superstar, Lance Armstrong was on Twitter straight after the race.

“Argus Cycle Tour done! What a cool ride/race. Congrats to @darylimpey on gettin’ 3rd. Wind was howling out there.”

With 35 000 participants, the Argus is the world’s largest timed cycle race. The conditions were sunny but windy. However, the wind wasn’t as strong as it was in 2009 when just over half the field managed to finish.

Mens Results:

1 Malcolm Lange (RSA) Team Medscheme 2hrs 39min 55sec
2 Christoff van Heerden (RSA) MTN Energade 
3 Daryl Impey (RSA) Team Radioshack
4 Burry Stander (RSA) Team Specialized 
5 Rene Hasselbacher (AUT) Team
6 Dean Edwards (RSA) House of Paint
7 Bjorn Glasner (GER) Team Kuota
8 Johann Rabie (RSA) Team Medscheme
9 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack 
10 Nicholas White (RSA) Team Medscheme all same time

Team Biogen Toyota’s Anriette Schoeman made history on Sunday when she won the women’s category at the 109km Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour for a record sixth time.

The 32-year-old Port Elizabeth-based professional outsprinted a strong international field to clock a winning time of three hours and six minutes. Robyn de Groot (MTN Energade) finished second with British rider Catherine Williamson (Team Bizhub) rounding out the podium places.

Until this year, Schoeman shared the record of five victories with former South African professional, Willie Engelbrecht, who recorded his wins in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But Sunday’s win makes her the most prolific Elite category race winner of South Africa’s highest profile race.

“It has been one of my goals to break that five-win record and I’m so happy to have achieved it. I have to pinch myself to believe it,” said an ecstatic Schoeman afterwards.

“I had a knee operation in January and at one point I didn’t think I’d even be able to race ‘The Argus’ this year. But I trained hard to peak for this race and I’m very happy to have been able to win. Both for myself and my team.”

Schoeman was riding with a diminished team after Ashleigh Moolman (broken collarbone) and Lynette Burger (reconstructive facial surgery) were forced out by recent crashes. She wasn’t considered a strong pre-race favourite, but her experience helped as she positioned herself perfectly to outgallop her rivals by more than a bike length.

Schoeman immediately dedicated her victory to the memory of the victims of the horrific incident that claimed the lives of three cyclists in Oudtshoorn last week.

“It was something that could have been avoided and is very tragic. Motorists need to be more aware of cyclists and cyclists need to be more respectful of the rules of the road,” said Schoeman, who has been injured more than once after being hit by motorists while training.

Ladies results:

1 Anriette Schoeman (RSA) Biogen Toyota 03hrs 06min 00sec
2 Robyn de Groot (RSA) MTN Energade
3 Catherine Williamson (ENG) Team Bizhub
4 Cherise Taylor (RSA) Team Nashua
5 Joanna van de Winkel (RSA) Biogen Toyota
6 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) Alpha Pharm
7 Marissa van der Merwe (RSA) MTN Energade
8 Chrissie Viljoen (RSA) MTN Energade 
9 Mariske Strauss (RSA) MTN Energade
10 Fabiana Luperine (ITA) Selle Italia Ghezi