21 November 2011
Johannesburg’s biggest cycle race, the Momentum 94.7, drew 25 000 riders to the City of Gold on Sunday. The result came down to a bunch sprint of 10 men, with MTN-Qhubeka’s Arran Brown emerging as the winner ahead of teammate Reinardt Janse van Rensburg.
It is a race that has been good to Brown in the past. He won it in 2009 and finished as runner-up in 2010.
The racing began at a fast pace as the cyclists made their way along the M1 highway, which is normally packed with traffic making its way into the Joburg city centre during the week, but was closed for the road race on Sunday.
After 18 kilometres, with the leading bunch closing in on the King of the Mountains checkpoint, the group splintered into four groups, with 11 riders breaking away at the front just after the King of the Mountains, which was won by Tasol GT rider David Maree, with MTN Qhubeka’s Dennis van Niekerk in second.
Sprinters Arran Brown and Tyler Day (Team Bonitas) were the last two men to make it into the leading pack as the race front-runners powered their way through the city centre.
Two men expected to challenge for the title, Nolan Hoffman of Tasol GT and Herman Fouche of Cape Town Fish Market, were, however, missing from the break and sent their team-mates to the front to begin the chase.
Up front, Team Bonitas riders’ Darren Lill, Johann Rabie, Jason Bakke, Tyler Day and Hanco Kachelhofer, as well as MTN Qhubeka’s Martin Wesemann, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Arran Brown were setting the tempo. Also with them, but without the assistance of their teams, were Louis Meintjes (Team Toyota Academy), James Perry (Team Tasol GT) and Ian McLeod (Team Northcliff Cycles).
Eventually the chasing bunches merged and that took the sting out of the tail as the breakaway riders built their lead to three minutes with 25 kilometres to go.
James Perry attacked twice in the last five kilometres, but his efforts were to no avail as the remaining 10 riders readied themselves for a bunch sprint. Ian McLeod’s chances were blown, though, when he suffered a puncture.
SA road race champion Lill set the tempo up the final drag before the left turn to the finish. Martin Wesemann (Team MTN Qhubeka) then took over the charge, with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg on his wheel, followed by Hanco Kachelhofer and 2011 Cape Argus Cycle Tour winner Tyler Day.
Brown sat behind Day and was in fourth place as the riders the final right turn around the roundabout. In a picture-perfect finish for Team MTN Qhubeka, Brown and Jane van Rensburg then powered away from their nearest rivals up the incline to the finish.
It marked the 32nd race win of the season for the MTN-Qhubeka men’s team.
The women’s race saw four riders go clear of the rest, with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Jo van der Winkel (both Team Nashua Toyota), Cherise Taylor (Team USN) and Lise Olivier (Team MTN Qhubeka) maintaininga lead of two minutes over their nearest challengers for the whole race.
In the end, it was Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio who got the better of defending champion Cherise Taylor in the sprint to the line, with Van der Winkel taking the final podium spot and Olivier finishing fourth.
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