Well if ever there was an opportunity for cyclists to stop the “famous lady” from opening her mouth it will be in today’s fourth stage of the UCI 2.2 Mzansi Tour powered by Cathsseta.
Robert Hunter, who is riding for the South African National Team, got an overall lead of five minutes and 50 seconds after the completion of the first three stages. It is very tempting to say that it is game over and that the only real battle left in the Mzansi Tour is to see who will finish second overall.
However one quick glance at the profile of stage four (Hartbeespoort to Pretoria – 165km) is enough to make one realize that it might be a foolish conclusion.
In this stage the riders will be challenged by some of the legendary climbs in South African cycling. Magaliesburg, Hekpoort, Saartjies Nek and Tom Jenkens Drive have all played a part in the outcome of many a classic cycling race.
There will be those who argue that stage four is not that hilly as it is only expected of the riders to climb 1702m, but it is the position of the climbs in the race that should provide the last chance for change in the general classification and king of the mountains category.
In European racing Hunter is not recognized as a climber, but the climbs in South African racing are not a problem for him. He proved it during the first stage from the Kruger National Park (Kruger Gate) to Nelspruit with his second place finish.
Many of the local riders described the stage as one the toughest they ever rode and finished minutes behind Hunter.
Hunter is not going to be beaten easily in a one on one battle going up a mountain.
Whoever wants to take the yellow jersey from Hunter will not only need to be a good climber but also an astute tactician. The challenge will be to outsmart Hunter and that is certainly not going to be an easy task.
Hartbeespoort, informally also known as "Harties", is a small resort town in the North West Province of South Africa, situated on slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain and the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam. The name of the town means "gateway of the hartbees" (a species of antelope) in Afrikaans.
It was previously known as Schoemansville, named after General Hendrik Schoeman, a Boer General in the Anglo-Boer War, who owned the farm that the Hartbeespoort Dam was built on.
Magaliesburg is a small town situated below the Witwatersrand mountain range in Gauteng, South Africa. The Magaliesberg mountain range is north and visible from town, hence the name "Magaliesburg". Burg is the Afrikaans name for Town whereas Berg is for mountain.
The Union Buildings form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the president of South Africa. The imposing buildings are located in Pretoria, atop Meintjieskop at the northern end of Arcadia. It occupies the highest point of Pretoria, and constitute a South African national heritage site.