Herman Fouché’s relentless march on the title was finally rewarded when he crossed the line first in a dramatic sprint at the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour last month.
It was a sweet maiden victory for the sprinter, who finished third in 2011 and runner-up last year.
His team-mate Christoff van Heerden came home in third to bookend the podium for Team Bonitas, with defending champion Tyler Day taking second for Team Westvaal-BMC.
Fouché says he was delighted with his third successive podium finish.
“It’s a great feeling to reach the podium, especially at Cycle Tour, which sees some of the best domestic and international riders competing. This is a big win for Team Bonitas.”
He says the win also meant everything to him personally as he now has the “big two” under his belt, after winning the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge six years ago.
The 26-year-old showed he was on track earlier in the season when he won the Cycle Tour’s newest seeding race, the Optimum Berge en Dale, presented by ASG, on Gauteng’s West Rand in February.
But when Belgian rider Kristof Vandewalle led a small breakaway in the closing stages of the Cape Town race, it looked as if Fouché’s dream was about to be crushed.
However, the determined rider sat on Day’s wheel as the peloton gave chase and caught the leaders. When his team-mates gave him the lead-out in the final few hundred metres, Fouché dug deep and held his nerve to take a photo finish from Day.
The women’s race also came down to a nail-biting sprint after a spectacular crash put paid to British rider Sharon Laws’s campaign and saw defending champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio caught behind the fallen riders.
In the end, Argus stalwart Anriëtte Schoeman (Mecer) beat out Cherise Stander (USN) and Swede Jennie Stenerhag (Focus) to secure a record seventh victory.
The 35-year-old says she was glad to have avoided taking a tumble, after falling victim to a similar incident last year.
“Last year I came down hard and this time round I’m really grateful I stayed upright. It was only about a kilometre and a half before the finish line that things tipped in my favour.”
London Paralympian Ernst van Dyk notched up his eighth win in the hand-cycle category.
An estimated 34 500 cyclists, including Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, took part in the 36th edition of the world’s largest timed bicycle race.
This year’s 110km route heralded a return to the Muizenberg main road in favour of the winding Boyes Drive.
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