Top British cyclist Catherine Williamson said she loved the “aggressive nature” of South African racing after claiming her second podium in three weeks in Saturday’s 107-kilometre Ecclesiate Berge en Dale Classic in Krugersdorp.

Williamson, one of three overseas signings for the newly-formed Team bizhub, emerged from a “messy” sprint to finish third behind Ashleigh Moolman (Biogen Toyota) and Carla Swart (Team MTN).

“The girls went from quite far out,” the Brit said afterwards. “There were several attacks in the closing two or three kilometres and I focused on latching onto the right move.”

The 27-year-old – who placed fourth in the British championships last year – said they were caught up among some of the men’s finishers, which made the finish chaotic and difficult to judge.

“I felt good throughout and am happy with a top-three finish,” said Williamson, who recently won the Caltex Sunny Hill Classic in Bloemfontein, her first race for Team bizhub.

She said the team’s tactics were to wait until the final 30 kilometres before launching a serious assault, but things worked out differently after a group of four had gone clear at the start.

The breakaways – Cherise Taylor (Team Nashua), Joanna van de Winkel (Biogen Toyota), Robyn de Groot (Team MTN) and Lylanie Lauwrens (Team MTN) – worked well together to establish a two-minute lead over the first chase group, which included Williamson and the rest of her team.

“We weren’t too concerned initially, but became alarmed at the rate at which the gap grew. As we were the only team to miss out, it was our responsibility to get the race together again.”

The gap was down to just over a minute – and dwindling – when the leaders disastrously took a wrong turn-off, which put paid to any chances they might have had.

After the bad news that Team bizhub’s national mountain bike series champion Ischen Stopforth had broken her collarbone earlier in the week, there was some good news when team-mate Yolandi du Toit survived a crash of her own to place third in the Barberton Classic over 75 kilometres on Saturday.

Having comprehensively won the first leg two weeks ago, Yolande Speedy (Team MTN) again claimed a dominant victory with Karien van Jaarsveld second.

Van Jaarsveld and Du Toit were still side by side 65 kilometres into the race when a male rider fell in front of them, causing Du Toit to crash. “I got up immediately, but couldn’t close the gap on the downhill run-in to the finish, which was all single-track.”

Du Toit, who admitted to feeling the after affects of a tough team training camp in Clarence earlier in the week, said Speedy was riding “incredibly well”. “She is the benchmark, for sure.”

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
041 368 4992
082 575 7991

On behalf of:

Team bizhub