This past weekend saw the finale of the Aca Joe Pro Classic Series with two races in two days. On Saturday the cyclists competed in the Wellington Lions Race over 94km and Sunday the series finished off with the Bay City Cycle Tour over 84km.
Stefan Ihlenfeldt of the Smith & Associate / OBike Maties Team started the last two races wearing the pink jersey of the series leader.
The Wellington race got off to an aggressive start and continued with one attack after the other, especially from Team Nu Water/CTM who had Jaco Venter in second overall in the series and were trying to place Ihlenfeldt and his team team under pressure.
Ihlenfeldt’s Smith & Associate / OBike Maties Team was able to control the race and Ihlenfeldt managed to take the win on a tough uphill sprint after Jaco Venter (Nu Water/CTM) launched a big attack with around 500m to go. Venter took 2nd and David Garrett (Daikin/GU) 3rd.
Sunday’s Bay City Cycle Tour saw more aggressive racing. A break away group consisting of Theuns van der Bank, James Tennant (both Nu Water/CTM), Lance Muller (Brothers Sport) and Ed Greene (RSA Web) managed to get away about 10km into the race on Boyes Drive.
The escapees had built up a lead of 2 min. midway through the race, but Ihlenfeldt’s team had once again taken control and brought the gap down to just over a minute by the time the peloton started the final climb up Ou Kaapse Weg.
Ihlenfeldt and former World Cross Country MTB Champ, Ralf Naf, took up the pace making up the climb and further reduced the gap to the leaders, finally catching them after the decent of Ou Kaapse Weg in the final kilometre.
Ihlenfeldt went on to win the finishing sprint with Jaco Venter and Shaun Ward in second and third respectively. Ed Greene of RSA Web had won the King of the Mountain at the summit of Ou Kaapse Weg.
Ihlenfeldt went on the thank his team for their superb commitment and support as well as sponsors Smith & Assosiate and OBike.co.za for help making the win possible.
The team had also finished fourth overall in the team classification a mere 11 points behind winners Nu Water/CTM and one point behind Brothers Sport. Daikin/Gu was in second place.
Ihlenfeldt will certainly be a name to watch at next weekend’s SA Road Race Championships in Nelspruit and the following week’s Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour.