Former Port Elizabethan and Atlanta Olympian Blayne Wikner, riding for the Velo Cycling Club in Pretoria, turned back the clock to finish an impressive second in Sunday’s Mecer-NMMU Cycle Tour.
Pre-race favourite Conrad Viljoen (Mecer-NMMU) earned a hard-fought solo victory after breaking clear just after the halfway mark. He completed the challenging 100-kilometre race in 2 hours, 36 minutes and 30 seconds to complete his hat-trick in the event.
The 36-year-old Wikner, who escaped four kilometres from the end, finished 32 seconds back. The bunch, led home by 17-year-old Brent Pheiffer (Walmer Club), was a further five seconds adrift.
East London’s Jarred Salzwedel (Cambridge Harriers) and veteran Wayne Pheiffer (Walmer Cycling Club) completed the top five.
Several early splinter groups evolved into what eventually became a breakaway group of six riders after about 30 kilometres of racing – including danger men Peter Lambert (Mossel Bay Cycling Club), Stephan Strauss (Mecer-NMMU) and Kevin Dorfling (Toyota-Cycle Lab).
The group’s lead hovered at around the one-minute mark until the first major climb at Beachview, where Strauss and Lambert left their breakaway companions for dead.
Meanwhile, back in the main bunch, Viljoen did the same and set off in pursuit of the leaders. After catching and passing the remnants of the original breakaway group, he made the junction to the leading duo on the ascent to Colleen Glen, affectionately known as the Three Sisters.
At the top, Viljoen attacked once again and managed to leave Strauss and Lambert behind. With the hills behind them, he was faced with a 40-kilometre individual pursuit to hold off the two chasers and the rest of the field.
Driven on by Lambert, the twosome managed to close the gap to 20 seconds before the elastic snapped and being swallowed up by the bunch about 10 kilometres from home.
Anriëtte Schoeman (Proline Computers) notched up a hat-trick of wins in the women’s section. She completed the course in 2 hours, 38 minutes and 47 seconds.
She was followed home by Toyota-Cycle Lab’s Lindi Erasmus (2:45:23) and Oudtshoorn’s Maritza Terblanche (2:54:20).
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