*Note this post is overdue; I wrote it just after the Argus but have only just got around to editing and posting it.
The lap around the peninsula marked the end of a busy week of racing for the Lights by Linea team and I. The Argus as the race is more affectionately known is the biggest one day participation race in the world with 35 000 entrants. We would be spear heading that field.
But first we had the small matter of the Bestmed Tour de Boland to finish. The final stage was a shorter at 115km but would be a tough one. Starting in Riebeck Kasteel we would do a lap around town, some 2km before coming back through the start line, doubling as the first hotspot of the day. As you can imagine the pace was high, to keep it interesting within anther 2km we were heading up the Botmanskop pass.
The attacks came thick and fast and I tried to get myself into the break for the day. Although some of the moves hovered 10-15 seconds off the front the MTN Feeder Team shut them all down.
This meant that the race would now be decided on Franschoek pass. Our job was to get Stefan to the front of the group at the base of the climb and escort him for as long as possible. He started the day in 10th place in GC and hoped to move up. With the pace hot in the first kilometre of the climb I was off and rode my own pace to the finish. Stefan ultimately managed to move up one spot on the GC to 9th.
A day off racing naturally resulted in us doing a coffee ride. It was great to be back in Cape Town sipping on good coffee and sneaking in a crossiant. The Expo too was on the cards and I got to catch up with some of my great sponsors: Continental, Nike Vision and Enervit.
Finally the Argus was here. Many joke that it is the ‘funriders world champs’ but in all seriousness, winning the Argus carries some serious weight in South African cycling. I would go as far to say that in terms of the exposure one would get out of it, it is probably worth more than winning the national championships.
The peloton, some 180 riders strong was a nervous one. I’m happy to say I didn’t see any serious crashes and instead of fighting for position at the head of affairs I ‘chilled out’ at the back for the first half of the race. I think this saved a significant amount of energy and it paid dividends when sh!t got real in the later stages.
The peloton still largely intact due to a strong headwind for the first 30km.
Image Credit: Capcha Photography
First up, the customary gutter wind along Ocean View, there was a small split but it came back together. Every time a split like this occurs though, it does result in guys going off the back off the race too. This was followed by the first of two climbs in the last quarter of the race, Chapmans peak. I felt good up here, followed the right wheels and was happy to go over the top near the front end. The quick decent into Hout Bay allowed the race to regroup slightly before the decisive climb, Suikerbossie.
The pace was hot up Suikerbossie! I was pleased to make it in the group of about 30 riders which would ultimately stay away to the finish. With just over 10km of flat roads to the finish the attacks came thick and fast. After a small split in the group I needed to get Stefan across to the front, riding at over 65km/h for a kilometer through Clifton saw me getting him back on but with just under 3km to go I was popped out the back to finish a couple of seconds down on the Hoff.
Hanco took care of Stefan into the final, but ultimately their chances were ruined with a television motorbike stopping on the right hand side of the road in their line. This was a sad outcome, with no real repercussions for anyone other than our team, potentially losing out on a good result. Luckily they came out safely thought and there were no crashes.
With a good couple of days of racing with the Lights by Linea team in the legs, I will mount my knobblied stead this weekend, to race in the next round of the MTN national marathon series race in Tulbagh. Being a UCI race and a week out from the Cape Epic the hotshots will be there and it will undoubtedly be a hard race once again.
Image Credit: Capcha Photography