The biggest field yet assembled at the Engen Dynamic Challenge in Wellington saw some 218 professional riders on the start line at Nelsons Creek Wine Estate on Sunday 7 October, to tackle the 94km race.
2011 SA Road Cycling Champion, Darren Lill of Bonitas wasted no time in setting the trend for the morning’s racing when he immediately opened a gap on the huge field. MTN-Qhubeka’s Martin Wesseman pulled the peloton on to Lill’s shoulder and from there the race saw attack after attack with early speeds reaching 55km/hr.
Prominent in those early attacks was defending champion, Bonitas’ Luthando Kaka who was itching for a repeat win. The first big break came after 30km of racing when Myles Van Musschenbroek (Tasol), James Tennent (Nuwater) and Dustin Kilpatrick (ASG) opened a gap of around 30km as the field headed towards the only major climb of the race just outside Riebeeck Kasteel, however the challenge was short lived as the peloton hauled them in on the lower slopes of the climb.
MTN-Qhubeka’s Jaco Venter put in a big charge and dragged African compatriots, Feraslki Debesay, Songezo Jim, Grmay Tsabo and Kudu Merhani with him. The only rider from a different team who went with the break was Bonitas, Stefan Ihlenfeldt.
With the big three teams, MTN-Qhubeka, Team Bonitas and TASOL in the mix, none of the teams committed to pull away further and a chasing group of around 40 riders quickly closed the gap.
The bunch stayed together until around 18km to go when Kudu Merhawi, Ferekalsi Debesay (both MTN-Qhubeka), Clint Hendricks (TASOL) and defending champion, Luthando Kaka (Team Bonitas) opened a small gap over the peloton, but when sprint specialist Dusty Day (Westvaal) joined them, they sat up and let the peloton close up again.
Just before the final turn and the long descent to the finish line, Jaco Venter jumped the group and managed to stay ahead of the fast chasing bunch to claim the title.
“I don’t think the peloton realized I had gotten away as they weren’t chasing me. They should have caught me on the downhill,” said Venter.
Former SA Champion and numerous Argus Cycle Tour winner, Anriette Schoeman once again rode a fantastic race and won the ladies race ahead of MTN-Qhubeka’s Sarah Chemally. Schoeman will continue her participation and defend her series lead in her home town of Port Elizabeth, later on this month.
The next leg of the series will take place at Altona Primary School in Port Elizabeth on 21 October 2012.
The Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge…Love riding it!
For entries and more info please visit: www.edcc.co.za