For the final event of the Pedal Power Sportif series we were treated to a new route from the previous four events. The route looks rather familiar to the Medihelp Stellenbosch cycle tour, except the start take place at Simonsvlei farm. The facilities were great and the massive field behind the cellar meant we finally got to try out the Hilux’s low range box! Some Savages were taking the tapering rather seriously while others thought it would be a great time for a Thai holiday. Kevin, Brendon, Klyde, Calvin and Will lined up again in the rather well attended A-B bunch.
The start was slow as I think everyone had memorised the profile map of the day and noted they just had to get over Helshoogte. This meant we managed to snap some photos while the group trundled towards Klapmuts. Once we kit the final rollers of the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour, one or two riders, including our breakaway specialist, Will went clear. Brendon and Calvin quickly came to the front to make sure Will and his new found companions got a little breathing room. One or two riders rolled off the front to join the breakaway into Stellenbosch.
As the breakaway hit Helshoogte James Tenant slotted it into the big ring and him and Will were off on an 80km two man time trial as the rest of the breakaway pedalled squares back to the Savage led peloton. Brendon and Kevin were marshalling the front of the group making sure that there was to be no slacking off from the rest.
Over the top of the climb Savage pulled over and let the group work to pull back the Savage in the break. This just led to solo attacks past Boschendal and even a few times when Savage found themselves soft pedalling on the front with nobody wanting pull through for a turn. With the lull in pace we popped Calvin near the front to make sure the group stayed together and the rest of us started discussing the race report and possible hashtags for the event.
As the group dawdled past Val de Vie the pace was so subdued that Brendon was able to ride off the front for some pictures for the race report without much fuss. Savage’s top strategists Kevin and Brendon reckoned that with the sedate pace the group had been doing for the past 50km our man in the break should have had at least 4 to 5 minutes on the group. Therefore an attack on Windmeul only 15km out should not catch the top up the road.
As the Windmeul ramp approached, Savage dropped some hammer and split the group, and managed to keep 3 Savages together and drove over the top of the ramp. The group finally found some organisation to chase, this was not helped by the fact that some riders in our breakaway apparently could not go around Kevin to take a turn on the front.
As the group tore onto the Fairview road, Kevin started to see who had brought their legs to the party and skirmished off the front on the rollers causing the stringing out of the 60 odd remaining riders. Klyde made his reappearance at the front with only 3km to go to pull back the last ditch efforts of the group and Will who had sat up from the break. Kevin wound it up into the final left bend with Brendon stuck to his rear wheel. The final sprint to the line saw them trying to close the gap to James who had been in the break all day. James managed to stay ahead with Kevin piping Brendon on the line, like he does every Tuesday and Thursday in Camps Bay.
After the race, our breakaway specialist queried the master tactician’s decision to attack. It turns out they did not have a 5 minute gap, but only 3 minutes. The last 15km were pretty brisk with an average speed of 43km/h compared to the 38km/h for the kilometres leading up to the attack. Lesson learnt, leave the difficult maths to Will.
The event was a great end to the series and a really nice recce for the Stellenbosch Cycle tour. Everyone felt great after the ride and is raring to go for the Coronation Double Century this weekend! Massive thanks to the PPA for organizing the event and the think bike marshals for keeping us safe. Big shout out to our awesome new partners, Toyota for the use of the tough Hilux, Bikehubber our media partner and Ciovita for the stunning kit!