It was obvious from the start of the stage that Team BCX had a very clear plan for the day, to gain a stage win and to get Clint Hendricks closer to win the yellow jersey.

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The early climb up Magoebaskloof Pass brought the climbers to the fore as teams worked cohesively to aide their front riders in the race for the GC positions on Stage 4 of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday 26 April 2018 © HaydsBrown

“We wanted to go on an early move and get some guys up the climb first and hopefully Clint could jump over, but unfortunately Gustav and Jayde marked him and wouldn't let him go,” said Van Heerden. “Towards the end after most of the climbs, our plan changed a bit with Clint not getting any gaps in the bunch. We decided to ride for the stage and it worked out perfectly, one-two-three, so we’re happy with that.”

The final stage took the teams from Tzaneen back to Polokwane however there was no plain sailing as the peloton approached the base of the majestic 11km Magoebaskloof Pass. From there, the undulating route took riders back to the finish, where three laps of 2.89km around the Sports Precinct were completed.

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The four race jerseys – Gustav Basson (yellow – ProTouch Sports), James Fourie (polka – ProTouch Sports), Jayde Julius (red – ProTouch Sports) and Clint Hendricks (green – Team BCX) – sticking tightly together for most of the race with Christopher Lagane (Team MCB) and Jason Oosthuizen (ACDC Luso) driving hard on Stage 4 of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday 26 April 2018 © HaydsBrown

From early on, Jaco van Dyk and Jason Oosthuizen (ACDC Luso) animated the race with several attacks with Team BCX. Team MCB’s Christopher Lagane was also prominent in the mix as they charged up the pass with Jan Montshiao and Songezo Jim (Sampada), Redwan Ebrahim, Kiflom Gebreselassie and Temesgen Buru (World Cycling Centre Africa Mixed Team), James Fourie, Jayde Julius and Gustav Basson (ProTouch Sports), Pritzen and Clint Hendricks (Team BCX) and Dirk Coetzee (Officeguru Racing).

Retaining the yellow jersey was ProTouch Sport’s Gustav Basson, marking all the BCX moves with his teammates in a valiant effort to protect the yellow jersey. “ProTouch came to the tour to win,” said Basson. “We try and win the races that we take part in, we work as a team and try to win as a team. The boys rode phenomenally today, if it wasn't for them this wouldn't be possible. Our management team has also been outstanding – Tony Harding and Brad and Sasha Eliot – helping us in the car and with everything that we do makes it all possible. It is nice to give back to the other guys as well.

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Steven van Heerden launched several attacks and rode out front with Redwan Salih Ebrahim (World Cycling Centre Africa Mixed Team) at one point on Stage 4 of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday 26 April 2018 © HaydsBrown

“We knew that BCX was coming to race and they also wanted to win. The guys controlled everything for us, I feel like I had a free ride today. Mitch and Myles were controlling the front up to the climb and Pops and Jayde up and over the climb – it's a proper team and it’s nice racing when everything works and comes together.”

Serbian-registered team Java Partizan Pro Cycling thoroughly enjoyed the South African sunshine and hospitality. Belgian Mehdi Tigrine relished the terrain and warm autumn climate, while teammates Martin Ford and Dominic Schils were adamant they would return to train and race.

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Clint Hendricks (Team BCX) was a marked man as all his moves were closed down by his challengers on Stage 4 of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday 26 April 2018 © HaydsBrown

“The race was an amazing experience,” said Tigrine. “The race organisation was good, the hotels as well. There were some problems today and on stage two during the race but in the future the race organisation needs more police on the road. But apart from these two cases everything was perfect for me and our team. I hope to come back to South Africa again to race.”

When asked about the “touring” aspect, Tigrine said, “We’ve booked a day trip to the Kruger National Park on Friday and our wish is to see the Big 5.

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Fist pumps and smiles all round as Marc Pritzen (Team BCX) shows his appreciation for teammate Steven van Heerden’s victory on Stage 4 of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday 26 April 2018 © HaydsBrown

“For future training, I cannot speak for the team, but I would definitely like to come back and train in South Africa. The roads and the climate are great – it’s a very good area for training,” he said.

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MEC Hon Seaparo Sekoati shares a joke with overall race winner Gustav Basson (ProTouch Sports) as he is awarded the yellow jersey, while teammate Jayde Julius and Clint Hendricks (Team BCX) look on, on Stage 4 of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday 26 April 2018 © HaydsBrown