Two of last year’s Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour road race winners, were back on the podium again this year following today’s 115 km event.
In a thrilling sprint finish Stefan Ihlenfeldt, who was third last year, beat defending champion Nolan Hoffman in a time of 2:59:48, by just a second. Third, by a millisecond was Tyler Day. The first 21 riders across the line were bunched from some distance before the finish line and finished just 7 seconds apart.
Twenty-seven-year-old Ihlenfeldt, who has competed in the last six Knysna Cycle Tour road races, was delighted with his win. “The race started off very cold. I think everyone struggled with the below zero temperature, so the race wasn’t too hard from the start as no-one really had the legs. It started getting form about 60 km into the race with small breaks getting away. I was in the last breakaway and we were well represented as Team Lights by Linea with teammates James Tennent and Rohan du Plooy, and that forced the other teams to pull the break back so me and Dirkie Nel could just sit in the bunch and play the waiting game. Dirkie had the timing perfect to get me safely around the last corner, and I managed to pull away.”
Defending ladies champion Anriettte Schoeman, who has competed in 18 Knysna Cycle Tour races and was also Queen of the Mountain today, beat Carmen Buchacher by a second with a time of 03:06:39. Third was Samantha Sanders (03:10:52).
Says Schoeman: “This year they changed the route slightly and cut out Hoekville, which made it a little bit easier but the climbing was still severe. It wasn’t steep, just very long. Luckily I had fresh legs and I stuck with Carmen, who is a very good climber, because I knew that if I could stick with her to the finish, I could beat her in the sprint.
“I really enjoy the race and that’s why I keep coming back every year.
Sanders and Buchacher were second and third to winner Yolande de Villiers in yesterday’s 80 km MTB event.
Carel Bosman, Sponsorships Manager for Momentum, one of the two naming sponsors of the cycle tour, said that he was very pleased with the events this year.
“There are two key things that make us really excited about being associated with the Knysna Cycle Tour. Firstly, Momentum is all about financial wellness, but we believe that your health is your wealth. People who are moderately active claim 50% less than those who are not, so we strongly promote an active lifestyle. It was fantastic to see thousands of cyclists going out this weekend and being proactive about their health. The other thing that makes this event the perfect fit for Momentum is the family factor; seeing youngsters, the elderly and everyone in between competing in the different races. There’s pretty much a race for everyone and it’s not about winning, it’s really just about being active.”
Marketing Director of the Knysna Cycle Tour, Andrew Finn confirmed that the event is growing and that there was a record number of about 6,000 cyclists competing in the MTB and road races this weekend, which is about 10% more than last year.
“Despite extremely cold conditions today and yesterday, the cyclists enjoyed themselves and their families and friends turned up in good numbers to support them at the start and finish, spend time on the field watching the SPUR Children’s Tour and basically enjoy themselves in the winter sunshine.
“The Family Forest Dam Ride was fully prescribed this year and is becoming a must-do event for families attending the annual Oyster Festival,” he said.
The Festival continues until 10 July. Visit www.oysterfestival.co.za for the full programme.
Photos: Desmond Scholtz