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Riders enjoyed idyllic weather and fast speeds at the 2017 West Coast Express. Picture Credit: Double ST

The race, which took place on Sunday 10 September in idyllic conditions, was the first road race of the PPA Vida Spring League (a series of eight events including five road races, two criteriums, a hill climb and a time trial), so it was a bunch of hungry riders who lined up on the start line, eager to get some points on the scoreboard.

There were a number of attacks along the route, with a few riders getting dropped on the only real climb of the day towards Mamre, but the bunch predictably stayed together, culminating in an exciting bunch sprint, with Carstens emerging victorious. The win makes it a two-for-two victory for Team Giant as Bradley Gouveris won the Bestmed Makro Cycle Tour the day before.

Dubbed the fastest, flattest race on the calendar, this year’s race certainly lived up to its name, with the front bunch averaging just short of 42km/hr. “It was a great race. We were meant to be riding for Bernard Esterhuizen, but things didn’t’ work out that way coming into the final straight so he ended up leading me out for the win. We’ve had a great start to our season and look forward to tackling the big Classics coming up.” Said Carstens.

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Picture Credit: Double ST.

The second bunch on the road, which included the leading ladies, was unfortunately sent on the incorrect route, which meant they had to do their sprint for the win earlier than anticipated. Courteney Webb (UCT Cycling) crossed the line first, with Susan Melmed and Liezel Jordaan finishing in second and third respectively.

From the elites to the first-timers, the 2017 West Coast Express, organised by the Outriders Cycle Club provided cyclists a great challenge on a perfect Cape Town day. For the first time, both the 78km and 54km route included a section along the N7, which was a great thrill for many. Despite the small route error for one bunch, the 2017 race was hailed a success by the riders and organisers alike.
According to race director and chairman of the Outriders Cycling Club, Derwyn Oxley, “The Outriders Club worked with Western Province and City of Cape Town Traffic to offer a safer, longer and more challenging route for 2017. Feedback from every rider at the finish was that the work had paid off. 2017 will be a hard act to follow. “

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Riders coming into the final sprint at the West Coast Express. Picture Credit: Double ST.

Of the hundreds of riders that tackled the long (78km) and shorter (54km), many walked away winners with the numerous lucky draw prizes which were on offer, one of which was a Specialized Allez road bike, valued at R12,000.

For the full results, please visit www.racetec.co.za

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