The annual MTN classic took place on Sunday 3rd November starting and finishing outside the Free State stadium. The race took on the same route profile as the 2012 edition. Starting off through the suburbs of Bloemfontein, coming out on the N1 on the eastern side of Bloem going west towards Joburg and on the outskirts make a turnaround over an off ramp, came back into town to do a lap around the airport and head back into town and do a lap of the “hilly” section of Bloem. The race started at 06:00 to clear and windless skies, Bloemfontein is notorious for strong winds which more often than not lead to lots of echelon riding and there have been some serious crashes in the past. We went into the race with a clear and definite plan of having numbers represented in all the moves and as in the past moves have stayed away and the winner has come from a small select group. After the initial flurry of attempted escapees a decent move of 10 riders went clear after about 20km and we had our man for the day, Rohan, represented in this move. The break quickly built up a 50 second lead but team Bonitas were not happy with the situation and put 4 of their riders on the front to bring that move back, after a 25km chase the break was reeled in. Immediately Viehann sensed the moment was good and put in a telling attack and dragged out Jason Bakke (Bonitas), they built up a lead of 40 seconds as they passed the half way mark and the airport, There was a reaction from the peleton and the 2 escapees where reeled in after a 15km stint off the front. Just as the junction was about to be made with the main peleton Bakke and Shaun Nick Bester (Westvaal) slipped away and as we hit the climbs around Bloem they had 45 seconds but were rapidly reeled back in when the pressure was put on in the peleton. With 20km to a group of 8 riders got away and again we had Rohan represented in the move, all the teams had the right guys represented and it looked as if this move could run but team Westvaal were not happy with move as they only had Girdelstone up front and their 2 sprinters, the Day brothers, were in the peleton. The break was caught with 5km to go and as the junction was made HB Kruger and Karl Passio went clear, it was a close run in but they held the chasing peleton as HB Kruger took the win ahead of Passio. Our 2 juniors once again dominated the top steps of the podium with Gustav taking out the win just ahead of Kent. Our 2 young men have really been performing well of late, they have been really putting in the hard yards by fitting in all the training required between studying and writing end of year exams. The team performed a lot better this weekend as we were always in the mix and had the right guys in the critical moves when it counted. Next race for us will be Friday nights Light by Linea criterium in Stellenbosch then the final leg of the Engen Series in Paarl on Sunday
This annual classic runs from Pietermaritzburg to the Moses Mabida stadium on NMR drive in Durban, and rates as the third biggest classic after the Argus and 94.7 super classics. On Sunday 13th October on a cloudy but dry morning the race started at 06:30 opposite the iconic comrades marathon statue. As we made our way to the start of the first climb of the day on Hill Fox we had our first technical problem for the day, Ryan Felgate hit a speed hump and his handle bars came loose so we had to tighten the bars up and he chased to get back to the group, he made contact at the bottom of Hill Fox. The race really lit up on the climb as riders were going full tilt for the KOM which was taken out by Jade Julies (Bonitas). After the climb the race was under pressure as the strong riders were trying to get away but no one was really succeeding. 20km into the race there was a big crash and of the 4 riders mostly caught up, Viehann and Gustav were the worst affected, Gustav had a few scratches and had to change his front wheel as the spokes were ripped out. Viehann banged his head and hip badly and had to be attended to by the medics but was luckily given the green light from the medics and he was up and going on his bike and chasing hard, he quickly caught Gustav and the 2 worked well together. At the first hot spot in Camperdown Lisandro punctured but with the team car attending to Viehann and Lisandro he had to wait on the side of the road until we got to him. After a quick wheel change the 3 riders worked hard and reeled in the bunch after a 20km chase. In the front of the race Kevin Patten was putting in a Stella performance by being super active and aggressive putting himself into all the dangerous moves, he was being well supported by our young up and coming super stars Kent and Rohann. When the race hit the big climb of Inchanga we had another shot of bad luck, Ryan Felgate punctured at the critical moment when the racing was really being put under pressure by the climbers. Over the top of the climb, Kev went for the KOM sprint and took it but but the line officials were not present so that was a bit of a disappointment as no prize was given. After the descent of Inchanga the race began the ascent of Botha`s hill, the race blew to pieces and our 4 riders who had chased to get back after their bad luck all got dropped off the front group. Over the top of Botha`s hill there was a group of 30 riders left and we had Riaan, Rohan, Kev and Kent right in the mix with 30km of descending to go to the finish in NMR drive in Durban. Bonitas tried to split the race up and put the racer day favourite, Nolan Hoffman, under immense pressure but Nolan and his team Abantu were up to the task and made sure the race stayed together for a bunch sprint. Coming into Durban town the big teams were lining up with their sprinters in tow and as the race crossed the line it was Nolan Hoffman who took out the win. Rohann Kevin put in a great effort as a recognised non sprinter and grabbed a credible 13th and Rohann ran 14th. Once again our 2 juniors took up the top spots on the podium as Kent won the junior category and Gustav took second.
The annual super classic took place on Sunday 17th November. The race took on the traditional route by incorporating the iconic city of Johannesburg through to Randburg and past the Dome taking in the Lion Park and heading back onto the Krugersdorp highway past Diepsloot then back past Kayalami to finish inside the waterfall estate. There is always a lot media interest on “cycle challenge Sunday” and it was a good platform for our boys to get exposure live on national TV. Our plan was to go hard out the blocks and grab as much exposure as we could right off the bat. Rohann started the onslaught as we made the turn onto the M1, that seemed to really stir things up and the attacks came thick and fast from all the other riders but nothing really got more than 15 seconds and was reeled back in. Viehann launched an attack at the perfect moment as we passed Corlett drive and nobody could respond, he quickly built up a lead of 45 seconds as we turned off the highway onto Joe Slovo drive, in the main peleton there was a big reaction and a group of 25 riders moved clear and caught Viehann near the top of the climb. There peleton split into two going through the city centre, we had Viehann represented in the front with the boys you were left behind on the climb leading up the chase. The speed was really fast as in the car the speedometer was rarely below 60km-100km/h (going past Zoo Lake). The front group established a healthy 1min30second lead as the race sped through Randburg. As the race headed onto Witkoppen road and up towards the Dome Viehann sensed the moment and launched another attack and built up a solid 40 second lead, Jade Julies (Bonitas) and one of the MTN riders rode across to Viehann and attacked past him and he could not grab the wheel. The 2 escapees worked well together and built up a lead of 1 min 20 as we came onto the Krugersdorp highway. This situation forced the teams of Westvaal and Abantu to chase, they did a good job and they bought the break back with 8km to go at the bottom of Heart break hill. JC Nel of MTN launched an attack and went clear over the top; Willie Smit sensed the danger and rode across to him on the decent past Kayalami. He caught and went past JC on the final drag and just hang on to a well-deserved win. Viehann had a really good effort on the day and ran a top 20 overall. Kent Main had an absolute Stella day and comfortably won the junior category by nearly 2 minutes from second place another few minutes from the following places.