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  1. The RoadCover pro finished the 138km final stage, which included 3 100m of ascent, in third to cement his overall lead in what is, on paper, South Africa’s toughest road cycling event. Stage three was won by ProTouch’s James Fourie with Dimension Data’s Kent Main, who wore the yellow jersey yesterday after winning the opening day individual time-trial, in second. ProTouch’s Jayde Julius finished runner-up in the general classification after a gutsy long-distance attack that saw him take the honours in yesterday’s 154km stage over Spitskop and Long Tom Pass. Completing the overall podium was his teammate Myles van Musschenbroek, who has been on top of his game after returning from injury earlier this month. RoadCover’s Brendon Davids won the Bestmed Jock Tour after finishing third on the final stage in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, today. Photo: Memories4U Photography “I’m happy with how this weekend turned out, it’s a really cool feeling,” said Davids, a former African continental mountain bike champion who switched to the road after missing out on selection for the Rio Olympics.“It’s my first tour win, the first time I’ve worn a yellow jersey on the road, so I’m pretty happy with how things have turned out,” said the 23-year-old from Fourways in Johannesburg. He explained that he had started the stage with the sole intention of holding on to the yellow jersey, which he secured the previous day after just failing to haul in a tiring Julius. The final day included the feared Boulders climb early on, but it was status quo for the GC contenders until they hit the base of the Hilltop ascent after 131km of racing. Team ProTouch showed their hand first on the climb when Pieter Seyffert and Gustav Basson tried to set Julius up for a final assault on yellow, but Davids was content to follow the wheels of Main and teammate Mornay van Heerden. RoadCover’s Clint Hendricks then paced Davids up to the three attackers, with Main on Davids’ wheel. Job done, Hendricks peeled off, leaving Davids and Main to continue the uphill battle. “Pieter and Gustav had gone too deep so they left Jayde isolated and it was just him, Kent and myself from there,” said Davids. “Halfway up, I attacked on one of the switchbacks and only Kent really responded. Jayde laboured onto the wheel and I knew the next move would be the one that would give us the gap.” The former teammates duly disposed of Julius only to realise there was one more hurdle to clear. “With two kilometres to go we realised there was another rider up the road,” said Davids. “I completely buried myself to try and get within a winning distance, but it was too little too late.” The new champion said he was waiting for a visa to come through to race overseas and was only able to confirm his entry a few days before the start. “I had a big week of training coming into the tour so, to be honest, I didn’t think I’d have as good a time-trial as I did. I thought we’d ride for Mornay if he had a good opening stage. “But one thing led to another and my legs continued to do well.” Julius’ attacking riding saw him take both the Optimum Financial Services king of the mountains and points jerseys. Demacon’s overnight leader Carla Oberholzer won her second stage in a row to secure overall victory in what she termed as “probably the most difficult road tour in South Africa”. Carla Oberholzer won her second stage in a row to take the overall title of the Bestmed Jock Tour in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, today. Photo: Memories4U Photography Stage one winner Yolandi du Toit, riding for Garmin, minimised her losses to take second ahead of former national road champion Cherise Willeit. Oberholzer, from Clarens in the Free State, was part of a three-woman sprint for the finish after she and Bestmed-ASG’s Sanet Coetzee formed an early breakaway a mere 3km after the start. They were joined by Willeit, Lynette Burger, Zanri Roussouw, Du Toit and Daleen van der Leek soon after Boulders and the group stayed together until Hilltop. “We got a decent gap on the others on Hilltop and rolled together until the finish, where we sprinted it out,” said Oberholzer. The 32-year-old said the overall victory had been her objective and she was extremely happy with the outcome. “The main goal today was to keep the lead and anything we took on top of that was a bonus. It’s always great when you pull something like this off with great teamwork.” Bestmed’s marketing executive Chris Luyt announced that the medical scheme would donate R200 for every member who completed the Jock Tour, split equally among Cansa and Helping Hands, a corporate social investment driven by Clicks. RoadCover’s Brendon Davids (yellow) and ProTouch’s Jayde Julius (right) and Myles van Musschenbroek topped the men’s podium after the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour concluded in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, today. Photo: Memories4U Photography Demacon’s Carla Oberholzer (yellow) won the women’s section of the Bestmed Jock Tour ahead of Garmin’s Yolandi du Toit (right) and Cherise Willeit after the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour concluded in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, today. Photo: Memories4U Photography Provisional resultsStage 3 Men 1. James Fourie 4:01:25 2. Kent Main 4:01:57 3. Brendon Davids 4:01:57 4. Jayde Julius 4:02:26 5. Thando Zothe 4:02:57 6. Gustav Basson 4:03:12 7. Gregory de Vink 4:03:38 8. Ben Melt Swanepoel 4:03:52 9. Ricardo Broxham 4:03:55 10. Myles van Musschenbroek 4:09:29 Women 1. Carla Oberholzer 4:59:28 2. Yolandi du Toit 4:59:29 3. Cherise Willeit 4:59:31 4. Dalene van der Leek 5:01:14 5. Zanri Rossouw 5:01:57 6. Lynette Burger 5:03:16 7. Sanet Coetzee 5:03:36 8. Susan Melmed 5:22:00 9. Kristen Louw 5:22:00 10. Zanele Tshoko 5:24:13 Overall Men 1. Brendon Davids 9:10:50 2. Jayde Julius 9:12:44 3. Myles van Musschenbroek 9:18:22 Women 1. Carla Oberholzer 11:35:37 2. Yolandi du Toit 11:40:12 3. Cherise Willeit 11:49:33
  2. ASG Events’ operations manager Darren Herbst confirmed that the Jock Classic would take place on July 15 while the tour was pencilled in for September 15 to 17. Organisers have allocated separate dates to the Bestmed Jock Classic and Bestmed Jock Tour, which are both presented by Rudy Project, to accommodate riders wanting to take part in both. Photo: Memories4U photography. Both events, which are presented by Rudy Project, will once again be centred around the Lowveld town of Mbombela in Mpumalanga. The Jock Classic, South Africa’s second oldest race after the Cape Town Cycle Tour and an official seeding event for the latter, will be contested over three tough stages totalling 150km with 2 900m of vertical ascent. The first stage will take the peloton from Nelspruit to White River over a distance of 42km, with the second covering 45km to Sabie via Spitskop. The final stage will be contested over 63km to Nelspruit via Long Tom Pass. “We haven’t changed the route, as it has become an institution,” said Herbst, “but there have been improvements with roads being resurfaced and additional support measures being added.” He said the Jock Classic was “not your normal one-day race”. “It’s a lot further and it offers cyclists looking for something different a unique experience.” Although the response to this year’s race had been overwhelming, Herbst said entries would be taken until midnight today. The Bestmed Jock Tour would be limited to a field of 500, which included team and solo entries, he said. It was not a challenge for the average rider, he warned, as it was the first race in the country to mirror its stages on those found in the European Grand Tours. “There is no tougher three-day challenge on a road bike anywhere else on the African continent,” he said of the 313km event that took in a daunting 7 200m of vertical ascent. It opens with an innocuous-sounding 27km time-trial between Nelspruit and Kaapsehoop, but the course rises an intimidating 1 200m. The second stage is essentially the same route as the entire Jock Classic. The final day will take the survivors on a circular route from Nelspruit to Kaapmuiden via the Boulders ascent, then on to Barberton and finally back to Nelspruit via Hilltop – a distance of 136km with 3 100m of climbing. Herbst said Italian-based Ftech, clothing partner of both races, had designed a special edition jersey for those taking part in both. Go to www.thejock.co.za for more information or to enter.
  3. Willie Smit retained his title in the Bestmed Jock Tour after wresting the initiative from overnight leader Nico Bell on the final climb before the fast finish into Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, today. Click here to view the article
  4. After finishing third in the opening day individual time-trial, RoadCover’s Smit rode himself into contention for overall honours when he won Saturday’s taxing second stage to end the day seven seconds behind Team NAD’s Bell. RoadCover's Willie Smit retained his title in the Bestmed Jock Tour - presented by Rudy Project - in Nelspruit today. Photo: Memories4U Photography In today’s final stage over 138km, which featured a mammoth 3 100m of vertical climbing, the Nelspruit local bided his time until the peloton closed in on the summit of the feared Hilltop. With team-mate Mornay van Heerden setting up his decisive attack, the 23-year-old was able to gap Bell on the steep ascent and maintain his advantage all the way to the finish to win the stage in 3:55:36 and, with it, the overall title in 8:44:15. Bell, who won the nine-day joBerg2c mountain bike race in late April, fought gallantly to place runner-up on the stage in 3:56:06 and overall in 8:44:38. ProTouch’s JC Nel, who won the first stage on Friday, finished third in 3:56:59, but the cyclist from Honeydew in Joburg did not do enough to displace Van Heerden, who ended third in the general classification in 8:46:35. Smit’s victory in what is considered South Africa’s toughest road stage race came after a lengthy rehabilitation period following a crash while racing in France in April. The double Jock Tour champion has also been suffering with an upset tummy, but said the pace at the start of today’s stage had played into their hands. “The start was fairly easy so it wasn’t too tough on my stomach,” said Smit. “It wasn’t that hot so I didn’t get too dehydrated and did not have to take on that much liquid.” He said his main objective was to conserve as much energy for the final climb, which topped out about five kilometres from the finish. “Unfortunately there was a bit of a headwind on the climb, but I knew what I could do on the last section so I just had to keep some power for the last bit up Hilltop. “Mornay, one of the youngsters on our team, was the last line for me on the climb and he made sure it was really hard before I took the lead and controlled things in the breakaway. “I managed to make 10 to 15 seconds on the climb and was able to maintain that gap to the finish.” Smit said a lot of hard work had gone into winning the Jock Tour for the second time. “It’s not something that just happens,” he said. “You have to work for it and you deserve it at the end of the day. But there’s a bit of luck involved as well. “I’m riding with a great group of guys and that motivates me and makes it all worth it.” He said he had received strong support from his team-mates to help him conserve as much energy as possible throughout the race, which is presented by Rudy Project. “It’s all about marginal gains.” Smit said he was now fully recovered from his injuries and that these no longer played a role. “It’s more my tummy problems which is a chronic condition and it comes and goes. It comes from stress, but in this sport there is always pressure so it’s something I just have to try to manage.”
  5. Defending champion Willie Smit showed that he was getting back to his best when he won the second stage of the Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, today. Click here to view the article
  6. Team NAD’s Nico Bell (left) drives the break during the second stage of the Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, today. Photo: Memories4U Photography Team NAD’s Nico Bell, who was part of a three-man break that went clear on Long Tom Pass, finished second to take the yellow jersey off the shoulders of ProTouch’s JC Nel.The 23-year-old Smit, who placed third in the opening day individual time-trial, said he was pleased with his comeback after suffering serious injuries in a crash in France in April. The RoadCover professional, who hails from Nelspruit, won the mountainous 140km stage in 3:53:24. Bell, also from Nelspruit, was awarded the same time. Smit’s team-mate Mornay van Heerden, who set up the winning move, crossed the line in 3:53:42 to finish third on the day. Bell leads the overall standings on 4:48:32 and will take a seven-second lead over Smit into the final stage. Van Heerden lies third on 4:49:33. The stage, which started and finished in Nelspruit, took in the ascents of Spitskop and Long Tom Pass as it wound its way through White River and Sabie. When the peloton ascended Long Tom Pass, a lot of riders were starting to sit on, said Smit. “So I got Mornay to go really hard for the last two kilometres and the only rider who was able to follow us was Nico. “The three of us rode away over the top and from there it was a matter of just rolling through once we were sure that we had a good gap,” said Smit. “When we had a lead of about three minutes we started attacking Nico, but he had very good legs and it’s hard to ride away from someone when they are just sitting in your slip. “But in the end we managed to win so it’s better than nothing.” RoadCover’s Willie Smit (right) wins the second stage of the Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, today. Photo: Memories4U Photography About 60km into the stage on Spitskop, the day’s first major climb, Smit’s team set him up for an attack that ultimately led to the demise of the yellow jersey. Besides the lingering effects from his crash in the Tour de Bretagne, Smit said he was also fighting an upset tummy. “I have been struggling with it throughout my career, so my form is dependent a lot on how I’m feeling. “This is my first race in two months and when my nerves get too excited it often leads to stomach issues,” he explained. “I’m usually on a good level but I’m not nearly where I should be. However, I have a great team behind me as usual and they are the foundation for my success. “I managed to win today but I did not manage to ride Nico off as I was hoping to in order to collect the yellow jersey as well.” Smit said he realised another tough stage lay ahead and that he would not gamble too early. “If the stage starts easily I may have a chance to gain the seven seconds, but I will save my energy for Hilltop, which is one of the hardest climbs in South Africa. “The summit is about five kilometres from the finish so if anything is going to happen it’s going to happen there.” The third and final stage of the tour, which is presented by Rudy Project, is over 138km and features 3 100m of vertical ascent. Overall winner Heidi Dalton (Demacon) leads the bunch during today’s Bestmed Jock Classique. Photo: Memories4U Photography The elite women competed in today’s Bestmed Jock Classique, with Demacon’s Heidi Dalton ending on the top step of the podium after three tough stages totalling 154km. Her winning time of 4:56:09 saw her take a close victory over Valencia’s Samantha Sanders (4:56:12), with her team-mate Carla Oberholzer (4:56:13) completing the podium.
  7. The 24-year-old Nel, from Honeydew in Johannesburg, edged top tour title contenders Nico Bell, who was second, and defending champion Willie Smit for the top place on the podium in perfect conditions. ProTouch’s JC Nel won the opening stage of the Bestmed Jock Tour today. Photo: Memories4U Photography Nel said he was “really happy” with the result, having targeted the yellow jersey on the opening day of one of South Africa’s most challenging road stage races, which is presented by Rudy Project. “The idea going into the time-trial was to take the yellow jersey, but having the idea and actually doing it are sometimes two different things,” said Nel. “It always creates a bit of pressure, but the conditions were perfect and it was a really fast time-trial. I think we were about three-and-a-half minutes quicker than last year.” At one stage Nel wondered whether he had set out too fast, but added that recent training camps in Nelspruit when they had tested the 27km route, which is mostly uphill, had helped him. “After about 20 to 25 minutes I wondered if I had not gone out too hard, but then I was nervous to slow down too much so I just kept going. “I knew there was a hard climb with about seven to eight kilometres to go so I did not overdo it there and that allowed me to pick up the pace on the last stretch which was fairly flat.” Having achieved his objective, Nel is looking forward to the rest of the race but knows there is much work to be done. “I have a strong team with me, although the guys are young and do not have much experience. But what they do have is big hearts and real fighting spirit. “We know we will have to work hard but we are ready for the next challenge.” Saturday’s second stage, which starts and finishes in Nelspruit, is over 140km and the route, via White River and Sabie, includes climbs such as Spitskop and Long Tom Pass. The traditional one-day Bestmed Jock Classique, which consists of three stages totalling 154km with 2 900m of climbing, takes place tomorrow alongside the feature event. Stage one results 1. JC Nel 55:02 2. Nico Bell 55:08 3. Willie Smit 55:15 General classification after stage one 1. JC Nel 55:02 2. Nico Bell 55:08 3. Willie Smit 55:15
  8. ProTouch rider JC Nel made a flying start to the Bestmed Jock Tour when he took the honours in the stage one individual time-trial at Kaapsehoop outside Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Friday. Click here to view the article
  9. The 23-year-old RoadCover star’s preparations for what is widely regarded as South Africa’s toughest road stage race were disrupted when he suffered a crash in the Tour de Bretagne in France in April. Team RoadCover’s Willie Smit is targeting the individual time-trial in the Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit this weekend. Photo: Rika Joubert “It did not happen at the ideal time; right in the middle of my racing season,” said Smit, who broke a collarbone and tore shoulder muscles and ligaments. “Winning the tour overall this year would be a bonus as my recovery process has been quite tough and I have been pressed for time. That is why I have identified the time-trial as my main goal.” He said success in the solo discipline of the tour, which is presented by Rudy Project, was important to him due to his limited preparations. “It is known as the race of truth,” he said. “There are no tactics involved. It is just you and your bike against the clock.” Having grown up in Lydenburg and now living in Nelspruit, Smit is familiar with the challenges that participants will face this weekend. “The Jock plays a big role in South African road cycling because it’s one of the most mountainous races in the country. So there is great status attached to winning this event and it also always reveals new talent. “The climbs will be the biggest challenge for most participants as the routes around Nelspruit are very hilly compared to most races in the country. In addition, the stages are quite long.” Smit started the year on a high when he won the Mpumalanga Cycle Tour in January, but admitted it had been “up and down” since then. “I definitely do not have the form I had due to my injury, which has put me quite far back. “I have focused more on my endurance, which mostly consists of four to six-hour rides. Rehab has been my main aim since the crash.” The time-trial covers a distance of 27km, mostly uphill, between Nelspruit and the mountain town of Kaapsehoop and will certainly suit Smit’s strengths. The second stage, which starts and finishes in Nelspruit, is over 140km. The route, via White River and Sabie, includes climbing tests such as Spitskop and Long Tom Pass. The final day of 138km, via Kaapmuiden and Barberton, features 3 100m of vertical ascent and will ensure a tough finish to the tour. The traditional one-day Bestmed Jock Classique, which consists of three stages totalling 154km with 2 900m of climbing, takes place on Saturday alongside the feature event.
  10. Injuries at an inopportune time will see Bestmed Jock Tour defending champion Willie Smit look no further than the opening day individual time-trial when the three-day race gets underway in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Friday. Click here to view the article
  11. The Johannesburg rider, who placed fourth overall in the inaugural edition of the 304km race last year, knows there will be no easy route to victory from July 15 to 17. Top tour rider JC Nel (front) is keen to prove himself in the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, from July 15 to 17 Photo: Warren Elsom While RoadCover’s defending champion Willie Smit, who also won the Mpumalanga Tour this year, looms as a strong title contender to win his home race, Nel said he was looking forward to testing himself in one of the country’s most gruelling tours. “The Jock Tour is the sort of race we don’t often have because it’s a really hilly route with a time-trial included and lends itself to a specific type of rider,” said the 24-year-old ProTouch rider from Honeydew. “We don’t get a lot of opportunities to race a tour where it can be won or lost on time-trials or climbing. With myself being a climber and a time-trialist, we have put in a lot of work and I’m really looking forward to it.” Nel said the Jock Tour provided a completely different examination than the one-day Classique, which is now a supporting event to the feature race. “The Classique, which I won in 2014, is very different as it is fast-paced and everything happens so quickly and there is no room for error. “The three-day tour on the other hand lends itself to more of a harder rider. You have to be absolutely prepared and completely focused to do well. “You can’t go there with only a little bit of form and think you are going to win. It’s such a tough event that if you are not at 100 per cent you are going to have a hard time. “I think, personally, I’ll be happy if I can walk away with a podium position.” Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events confirmed Nel’s view. “We wanted to create an honest test for the country’s elite riders when we formulated the three-day race. There is simply nowhere to hide and the strongest rider will win – full stop.” He said the 27km uphill time-trial between Nelspruit and the mountain town of Kaapsehoop on the opening day would set the tone for the event. The second stage, a 140km haul from Nelspruit to Nelspruit via White River and Sabie, is largely the same route used by the Classique, which takes place on the same day. De Villiers said the major climbing tests on this stage would be Spitskop (5km at 12%) and Long Tom Pass (12km at 10%), while the final day featured the most climbing with 3 100m of vertical ascent on the 138km round trip via Kaapmuiden and Barberton. Top tour rider JC Nel is keen to prove himself in the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, from July 15 to 17. Photo: Warren Elsom Nel identified Smit as the hot favourite along with fellow Nelspruit locals Gawie Combrink and Nico Bell. The latter was runner-up last year and the two teamed up to win the nine-day joBerg2c mountain bike race in April. “And you will always find a couple of guys in the U23 age-group who are super keen and motivated,” said Nel. “They can make it tough so you don’t quite know what to expect.” After a sluggish start to the year, he was confident that his preparations were on track for the Jock. “The beginning of the year wasn’t the best. I did okay in the Mpumalanga Tour (he placed sixth) in January but overall I wasn’t where I wanted to be. “But I have had a decent block of training and am feeling much stronger. “The Jock carries a lot of weight in terms of how hard it is and everyone knows that if you have done well at the Jock you are a decent rider. “It means a lot for a rider to win there.”
  12. Tour specialist JC Nel is fired up to add the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour title to his palmares after winning the single-day Jock Classique in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, two seasons ago. Click here to view the article
  13. The somewhat refined Bestmed Jock Tour will remain the ultimate test for South Africa’s top road cyclists, organisers vouched this week. Click here to view the article
  14. The three-day race, which is based around the town of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, will take place from July 15 to 17. The peloton pictured on a previous edition of the Bestmed Jock Classique. Photo: Supplied Wynand de Villiers from ASG Events said the second edition of what is arguably South Africa’s toughest stage race would, apart from a few minor improvements, closely resemble last year’s. “With most of the Lowveld’s iconic mountain passes included, it is again shaping up to be a massive showdown between the top professionals,” he said. When they conceptualised the tour as an add-on to the traditional Jock Classique, De Villiers said they wanted to create an “honest test” for the country’s elite riders. “There is simply nowhere to hide and the strongest rider will win – full stop.” He said the Cycling SA-sanctioned race, which took riders over 304km and a whopping 7 200m of vertical ascent, was the only local race in which participants were tested according to European standards. The 27km uphill time-trial between Nelspruit and the mountain town of Kaapsehoop on the opening day would set the tone for the remainder of the event, said De Villiers. The second stage, a 140km haul from Nelspruit to Nelspruit via White River and Sabie, is largely the same route used by the Classique, which takes place on the same day. De Villiers said the major climbing tests on this stage were Spitskop (5km at 12%) and Long Tom Pass (12km at 10%). The final day featured the most climbing with riders ascending 3 100m on the tough 138km round trip via Kaapmuiden and Barberton, he said. “Although it includes the Boulders (12km at 14%) and Hill Top (5km at 10%) climbs, don’t discount the stretch between Kaapmuiden and Barberton which is steady uphill for about 40km.” De Villiers said an attractive addition this year was lunch after stages two and three at the Mbombela Stadium. “We are creating a nice atmosphere in the race village as we did with the Jock’s sister event, the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope.” The Jock Tour, which is limited to a field of 500, caters for amateurs and pros across all age categories. Riders who have already entered the Classique and would like to upscale to a discounted tour entry, can do so on www.asgevents.co.za.
  15. The Lowveld local, riding in the colours of EuropcarSA, delivered a measured performance throughout the Mpumalanga tour to take the overall honours in a combined time of 8:52:45. Bestmed Jock Tour winner Willie Smit of Team EuropcarSA en route to victory in the three-day road race near Nelspruit on Sunday. Photo: Rika Joubert/CycleNation Another Nelspruit resident, Nico Bell of RECM, was second in 8:53:51, with Stellenbosch’s Stefan de Bod rounding out the podium for MTN-Qhubeka in 8:54:08. Consistent performances by all three riders throughout the three days of racing saw them remain in the same positions they had occupied after the opening day individual time-trial. De Bod was also named best young rider, while Pieter Seyffert of Altech-Autopage powered his way to the king of the mountains title. Smit’s teammate Ryan Gibbons demonstrated his form as a sprinter to earn the points jersey. Former South African student champion Smit claimed the yellow jersey after Friday’s 27km hill climb time-trial to Kaapsehoop, where he opened up a 50-second lead. He did not relinquish it again over the course of the 299km tour, which ascended over 7 200m and featured mountain passes such as Spitskop, Long Tom Pass, Boulders and Hilltop. Smit finished third in a bunch sprint on the 140km second stage via White River and Sabie, before sealing his triumph with a fine victory on the 132km final stage from Nelspruit to Kaapmuiden and back to Nelspruit via Barberton. “We didn’t just win the yellow jersey, we also managed to get the points jersey for Ryan, so I’m really happy for him and me and the whole team,” he said. Willie Smit of Team EuropcarSA celebrates his victory in the inaugural Bestmed Jock Tour in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Sunday. Photo: Hendrik Wagener Smit said the GC had essentially been set up on day one and his teammates had worked hard to keep him in yellow. “It’s a pity for the other teams as they didn’t really put me under pressure today, although they had a number of opportunities to do so.” The 22-year-old, who originally hails from Lydenburg, said it had been an extremely tough but well-organised tour that would become a must-do event on the racing calendar. “Because the stages are so long, it’s an unpredictable race. A lot of riders are scared of the climbs so they stay away but, even for the fun riders, you don’t get better roads on which to test yourself.” Follow the tour on @jockcycle, Facebook or www.thejock.co.za.
  16. South African road cycling star Willie Smit took two out of three stage wins en route to a convincing hometown victory in the inaugural Bestmed Jock Tour, presented by ASG Events, in Nelspruit on Sunday. Click here to view the article
  17. Smit led out EuropcarSA teammate Ryan Gibbons in the final sprint at the Mbombela Stadium in the Mpumalanga capital to help him collect the stage victory in 4:00:46 ahead of Bonitas fastman Herman Fouché. The overall podium remained unchanged with the former national student champion topping the general classification in 4:58:16, followed by local rider Nico Bell of RECM (4:59:08) and Stefan de Bod of MTN-Qhubeka (4:59:35). The overnight leader of the Bestmed Jock Tour, Willie Smit, kept the yellow jersey after finishing third on the 140km second stage in Mpumalanga on Saturday. Photo: Hendrik Wagener After the tough opening day individual time-trial, the first of the road stages took riders on a gruelling circuit via White River and Sabie that featured a vertical ascent of 2 900m.“I wasn’t really under pressure the whole day, except on Long Tom Pass when I had to cover quite a few moves,” said Smit. “My teammates helped me get back to the finish and I wanted to help Ryan in the lead-out, which is the least I could do for all the work he’s done for me.” The performance of the day however belonged to Altech-Autopage’s Pieter Seyffert, who made a bold solo move after the neutral zone and extended his advantage to more than four minutes over the next 80km. Seyffert took the first two sprint primes and the king of the mountains hotspots on Spitskop and Long Tom Pass before the chasing dozen finally reeled him in at the 90km mark. “I actually didn’t want to go away by myself,” said Seyffert. “It was unbelievably hard up front.” He said his intention had not been to stay away all day as another hard route awaited on the third and final stage. “At least I walk away with the king of the mountains jersey, so it wasn’t all in vain.” Gibbons took the final hotspot at 126km to earn the points jersey, while De Bod leads the best young rider category. Smit, who leads by 52 seconds, said the 132km final stage would be just as challenging as he expected strong tactical racing from the elite peloton in a bid to carve away at the deficit. “Tomorrow’s quite a big day, but I don’t think Boulders is the climb to be scared of. “It’s the 50km stretch to Barberton and then the Hilltop ascent just before the finish that will make the difference. “Nelspruit has one of the hardest cycling terrains in South Africa. The route is undulating and you can easily blow completely on a long climb and lose minutes.” The third stage, which features 3 100m of vertical climbing, covers the traditional one-day Jock Classique route from Nelspruit to Kaapmuiden and Barberton before finishing back in Nelspruit. Follow the tour on @jockcycle, Facebook or www.thejock.co.za.
  18. Overnight leader Willie Smit retained the yellow jersey after finishing third in the 140km second stage of the inaugural Bestmed Jock Tour, presented by ASG, in Nelspruit on Saturday. Click here to view the article
  19. Smit clocked 57:03 in the hilly test between his hometown and the top of Kaapsehoop to give Team EuropcarSA the yellow jersey by almost 50 seconds. Willie Smit of Team EuropcarSA won the 27km individual time-trial on the opening stage of the inaugural Bestmed Jock Tour near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Friday. Photo: Rika Joubert/Cyclenation Another Nelspruit native, Nico Bell of RECM, was second quickest on the day in 57:51. Stefan de Bod rounded out the podium for MTN-Qhubeka in 58:18. “I think the Jock is one of the hardest tours in South Africa, so just to finish the race is going to be tough,” said Smit. “I really worked hard, so for me to push through and get the stage win, I’m really happy for me and the team.” He said a strategic bike change around the halfway mark had given him the edge on the route, which featured a total ascent of 1 200m. “Because of the headwind, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the time-trial bike on the climb. “I lost about 15 seconds with the changeover but I definitely benefited from my decision in the last three kilometres.” The 22-year-old said riding a successful time-trial was all about marginal gains. “My main focus was just to sit there and grind and not stand at all because every time you stand, you lose a second or two.” Smit said his result had given his team a boost but that anything could happen over the two remaining road stages. “I don’t think we’ll necessarily go for the stage wins because we need to defend the jersey.” He said his local knowledge was counterbalanced by the fact that he was a bigger rider, who found the Lowveld climbs heavy going. On Saturday, the 140km second stage takes riders from Mbombela Stadium through White River and Sabie before returning to Nelspruit via Long Tom Pass. Follow the tour on @jockcycle, Facebook or www.thejock.co.za.
  20. Nelspruit local Willie Smit gritted his teeth into a punishing headwind to post the fastest time in the 27km individual time-trial that opened the inaugural Bestmed Jock Tour, presented by ASG, in Mpumalanga on Friday. Click here to view the article
  21. South Africa's top professional road cycling teams will face one of their toughest tests yet in the newly launched Bestmed Jock Tour, which starts at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on July 17. Click here to view the article
  22. Participants in the three-day tour of Mpumalanga, which is presented by ASG, will cover 299km and ascend over 7 200m as they vie for their share of the R100 000 prize purse. The tour culminates with the iconic Jock Cycle Classique route, which is widely accepted as South Africa's toughest single-day cycling challenge. The new three-day Bestmed Jock Tour will test South Africa's top road teams with a 299km route through Mpumalanga from July 17 to 19. Photo: Jetline Action Photo According to tour director Hendrik Wagener, the event is a challenging and undulating one that offers very little respite between the big mountain passes. "Overall, this is a tough tour and definitely not one for the sprinters," he said. At no point can you sit and relax." Wagener said he expected all-rounders and climbers to come to the fore and named Bonitas's 2014 Bestmed Jock Cycle Classique winner JC Nel and EuropcarSA's Willie Smit, who won last month's Kremetart stage race, as riders to watch. They will face strong challenges from the likes of Abantu's HB Kruger, who achieved a top-five finish at the renamed Tour of Good Hope this year, and the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team, albeit without the services of some of their East African climbers. He said smaller teams such as Westvaal, Altech-Autopage, Rand Water-Velokhaya and the U23 Pretoria Box squad could mix things up in the peloton and keep the racing interesting. "We've also got our Nelspruit locals Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck, who regularly train on these routes and have been doing well on the national mountain biking circuit this year." Combrinck won the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c alongside former roadie Johann Rabie in May, and finished first ahead of Bell in the recent national cross-country championships. The Jock Tour starts off with a 27km individual time-trial from Nelspruit to Kaapsehoop. At 140km, the second stage from Nelspruit to White River, Sabie and back could be considered the Queen stage. Riders face two massive climbs in the form of the 7km Spitskop ascent and the 10km Long Tom Pass, which has a gradient of up to seven per cent in places. The 132km third stage is possibly the highlight of the tour, as participants take on the traditional Jock Classique parcours through Kaapmuiden and Barberton before returning to Nelspruit. The Boulders ascent just before Kaapmuiden, which has an average gradient of nine per cent, has been the undoing of many a cyclist, while Hilltop will give the climbers one last chance to get away before the finish. For more information, visit www.thejock.co.za. Alternatively, find Jock Cycle Classique on Facebook or follow @jockcycle.
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