Day leads Bonitas to 1-2 in Cape Argus

14 March 2011

First-year professional Tyler Day of the Bonitas Medscheme team captured the biggest victory of his short career when he outsprinted a large bunch to win the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in Cape Town on Sunday.

His teammate and defending champion, Malcolm Lange, finished second in what was the final race of his professional career, while Herman Fouche of DCM rounded out the podium places in third.

Twenty-one-year-old Day continued to build his reputation as a fearless fast-finisher when he left his charge for the line until the last 150 metres. He popped out from behind his teammates and powered down the centre of the finishing straight to secure the 109-kilometre race title in two hours, 32 minutes and 10 seconds.

Lange, a three-time winner of the race, punched the air with as much emotion as Day did as he crossed the line just centimetres behind his young protege.

‘We were patient’

“We were patient and waited until near the finish to get our lead-out going,” Day said afterwards. “We were happy to let the other teams lead the pack in the last few kilometres. It’s a long lead-up to the finish and we didn’t want to use our energy until we needed to.

“My teammates helped get me near the front in the last kilometre and then I sat in behind them when they formed a lead-out train for me. It really was a perfectly timed race for us. Malcolm [Lange] is just the best teacher, and the team was just amazing.”

The victory was the third in successive years for Team Bonitas Medscheme, an exceptional achievement in the modern era, especially considering three different riders have won South Africa’s most popular race in that time: in 2009, Arran Brown; in 2010, Malcolm Lange; in 2011, Tyler Day.

Common denominator

The common denominator in those wins is 37-year-old Lange, who, with 20 years of top flight racing experience, helped engineer the victories in a race that’s normally considered a lottery due to the mild nature of the route and its relatively short distance.

“What a perfect way to end my career,” said Lange. “First and second for Team Bonitas Medscheme, but more importantly, the third year in a row we have won this race and a breakthrough win for Tyler, a hugely talented young sprinter that I have been mentoring.

“It was an incredible feeling sitting right on his wheel and watching him celebrate his victory. He will win a lot more.

‘Our race plan’

“We rode through the finish a few times in the dark before the race started, working through our race plan,” Lange said. “We knew that the MTN team would be eager to control the race, so we let them, until it mattered most, in the last few hundred metres.

“I’m proud of my team and believe that I can retire confident in their ability to keep winning important races.”

World’s biggest

More than 35 000 cyclists enjoyed the sunny, warm conditions in the world’s biggest individually-timed cycle race, which started with the professional men in a large group of 217 riders.

Due to the relatively calm conditions, the main pack stayed intact for most of the race. Then at Suikerbossie, a 1.8 kilometre long climb out of Hout Bay, a group of 15 riders broke clear.

But with a largely downhill and flat 13 kilometre run in to the finish from there, it was always going to be difficult for the breakaway to stick and the main field caught them at Camps Bay with seven kilometres remaining, setting the finale up for a mass bunch sprint.

RESULTS

    1. Tyler Day – RSA (Bonitas Medscheme) 2hr 32min 10sec
    2. Malcolm Lange – RSA (Bonitas Medscheme)
    3. Herman Fouche – RSA (DCM)
    4. Dusty Day – RSA (Matlosana)
    5. Arran Brown – RSA (MTN Qhubeka)
    6. Abdelbasset Hanouchi – MOR
    7. Jean Spies – RSA (Tasol GT)
    8. Johann Rabie – RSA (Bonitas)
    9. Jan van Puyvelde – GER
    10. Arne Hassink – FRA all same time

SAinfo reporter

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