Overcast skies greeted the 10th edition of the MTN Panorama Tour for Stage 3, the Queen Stage of the annual 4-day road cycle race in Mpumalanga, presenting the biggest challenge the riders have faced.
The route covered 113km with 2055m of climbing up to Spitzkop before dropping into Sabie then taking on the tough first 9 kms of Long Tom Pass.
Stage 3 day saw Teams put the hammer down as the leaders attacked at every available opportunity. Six teams duked it out eventually: Adolph Krige & Kevin Patten, Nico Bell & JP Jung, Jaco Ferreira & Samuel de Swardt and Franco Ferreira & Greef Moolman. Nico Bell & JP Jung fought hard to prevent a significant break by Adolph Krige & Kevin Patten earning themselves the nickname, the “Bell Train”.
The attacks increased in intensity with 10km to go. Adolph Krige & Kevin Patten led the final attack as they approached the finish at Casterbridge with Jaco Ferreira & Samuel de Swardt hot on their wheels. Krige & Patten prevailed crossing the line in 03:14:08 just two seconds ahead of Ferreira & Swardt.
Jaco Ferreira & Samuel de Swardt’s performance on Stage 3 secured their spot as the General Classification leaders. With just 10 seconds between the top three teams, the Time Trial tomorrow will be the final decider.
In the Open Women’s category, the pair of Desray Sebregts and Annette Loubser from Team DESNET extended their lead with a time of 03:38:41 for the stage.
Stephan Oberholzer and Carla Oberholzer representing Team Clover, clocked in a time of 03:26:01 in the Mixed category.
Stefano Madies and Tinus Scheepers from Team Dimension Data continued their Vet Category winning streak, finishing in 03:21:08. Teammates, brothers and Masters Gavin Lawson & Glenn Lawson, completed their Stage Three in 03:38:14 in the Masters category.
Johan Spies and Pierre van Hell took another Grand Masters Stage win in their stride for Team Cyclomaniacs in 03:53:51. Tandem category winners Jay Spendley & Werner Roux of Team Lastborn & Mistake took the Stage Three Win in 03:32:08 but were unable to keep the Mixed Tandem General Classification Leaders Carl Lotter and Meghan Brinkley at bay.
The fourth and final Stage on Tuesday 28th April 2015 is a 38km Time Trial, no water points and no mercy. Tomorrow the teams will lose the advantage of the peloton, starting at 30-second intervals. It’s survivor MTN Panorama Tour style.
The race starts and finishes at Casterbridge in White River.