Episode two of the League got underway at Simonsvlei Wine Farm on Sunday the 24th. A nice long route lay ahead, with a rolling hills and perfect conditions on the day. There was a slight breeze but nothing that would play a role.
The team was fired up and decided to make some racing in the early stages. Luke followed a solo attack just before the first King of the Mountains point. No team was letting anybody get more than 200m on the bunch and attacks were reeled in like clockwork. There was a dash for the points but all of us were just out of the running. Marius, Luke and I took turns at breaks, some solo some with Daiken members and a few with some Anderson Transport riders. With those two teams in high contention neither was letting anything slip down the road. The second KOM point approached, I was 3rd at the 30km ghost KOM point, that CL had mysteriously placed and not manned, then decided to move the 48km point to make it a complete guessing game. The sporadic attacks continued until Malmesbury, were unknowingly the second KOM point was waiting for no-one. The peloton didn’t even blink as we sailed through and out of town again.
Now into a slight headwind, the top teams put riders on front in an attempt to shake things up, first a gutter and then some hard solo attacks. With the conditions as they were and everyone on high alert, nothing could stick. We decided to sit in and conserve some energy for the inevitable sprint finish. The SV group still at full strength.
The road back was therefore pretty uneventful, aside from Hashiem having his dropout collected from behind, forcing him to limp home. The rest of us well placed and looking strong for the sprint.
The pace surged upwards at 10km to go already, with a few last ditch efforts to get away further adding fuel to the fire, steadily we snuck up the ranks and soon found ourselves at the sharp end and looking dangerous. 2km to go and all hell broke loose, speed was up to 60kmph and unrelenting, I found Rob’s wheel as he buried himself with just over a km to go, I came flying around my leadout man and held out for 500m but it was all too soon… the finish had moved 800m further up the road and they were soon engulfed by the next wave. I recovered a little and found Luke’s wheel on the right hand side for a second bite…
The rest is a blurr of carbon, aluminium, gravel and tarmac… two riders had come together on the middle left hand side and the resulting crash cascaded through the driving peloton. 20 riders or more went down, including me, who took the worst hit, followed by Marius and Luke. David and Rob managed some dirt skills on their way around the left. Luckily we all managed to get up and finish, nothing broken except a few ego’s and one Specialized Tarmac SL3 on it’s maiden voyage.
I am happy with the team, we were a lot more aggressive this time around and soon we’ll find a way through.