While in Flanders the classic season kicked off with Omloop het Nieuwblad, this weekend also saw the last PPA event before the Argus. The Tour de PPA which always serves up some spring classic inspired crosswinds.

Breakaway of A group – Photo: Double ST

The Savages lining up in the A group were limited to Calvin and Brendon due to the SA XCO event at Rheeboksloof the day before and it apparently being wedding season at the moment.  For some reason instead of the bunch all starting on the tar road, half the bunch was forced to perform a cyclo cross start across the sandpit before the tar. The cyclo cross inspired start did not stop the front of the bunch from hammering off up Tiekkidraai like a scolded cat! Down Tikkiedraai the group was strung out with those at the back spinning it up like Chris Froome to get back on!

It was onto the major climb of the day, Vissershoek which saw the group string out once again. With shouts from those on the sidelines Brendon managed to get over just behind the break with Calvin seeing his day become a whole lot harder as the gap started to grow. The gap at the top of the climb between the chasers and the breakaway was less than 50 meters, but with all the shattered legs from Vissershoek it took till Fisantekraal to close the gap.

After Fisantekraal the antagonists in the group along with the help of the cross winds decided to open the taps. At one point there were 5 groups of riders all over the road. The problem was that we were able to see all 5 groups ahead of us! Luckily a well organised chase group that had been distanced on Vissershoek came past and a shout of “Savage come hammer” injected some life into the legs and the race was on again.

Over the next 30km the group worked really well rotating the pace and picking up all the smaller groups on the road. As we caught the Masters racing group the CSA commisionaire in his Polo waved the group past and was very adamant we come straight past. Pity he sat his Polo on the white line forcing the entire group to cross the white line. A few of us alerted him to the fact that he was forcing riders accross the white line, we were met with abuse. Thanks CSA for your effort towards cyclist safety.

Only Photo we got during the race due to the pace!!

Just before we reached the R302 we managed to close the gap to the second group on the road. Once the groups were together the urgency the group had dwindled as people started thinking towards the last few rollers. Kudos must be given to the youngster Wynaand Dippenaar, the amount of attacks off the front were great to watch and reminded us of Cannonball Klyde from Savage!

Only Photo we got during the race due to the pace!!

The group negotiated the final rollers in a rather subdued pace compared to the savagery of earlier in the race. The highlight of the sprint to the line was again young gun Wynaand, seeing himself boxed in and drawing inspiration from the cobbled classics, took to the dirt to find space around the peloton and open up his sprint! Although he was just pipped to the line by Riaan from the surging peloton!

A big thanks to the PPA for organising such a great race again with good marshaling, very cheap when we entered in January, a massive tent at the end and great medical services on call at the end for the crash in the elite sprint. Heal up quickly Craig Boyes!

Link to the strava file for the race here: STRAVA