Brad Gouveris’s late decision to enter the Lorraine Cycle Tour paid dividends when he finished top of the podium in the 80km feature race in Port Elizabeth today.
The 21-year-old from PE, riding for Action Cycles, edged Warwick Renard in the sprint for the line to add a second title to his maiden triumph in 2017 with a time of 2:00:10.
The women’s event was won for the 19th time by race ambassador and defending champion Anriette Schoeman (Africa Silks-Bestmed), who shrugged off a cold this week to finish well ahead of her rivals.
Gouveris, who was followed home by Renard (2:00:11) and Ceajay Bosman (2:01:57), said he only made a decision yesterday afternoon to compete in the event, sponsored by African Bank, Mecer and Strada.
“I have some other commitments on Monday which I thought would prevent me from riding, but in the end I didn’t want to miss out on what has become an important race on the local calendar,” he said.
“From my time as a junior I have been competing in the event and the first win I had in 2017 was very special.
“As nice as it is to win when racing outside the province, it is a great feeling to win your hometown event and I was thrilled to regain the title.”
After what he described as a fairly controlled start, Gouveris said he targeted the King of the Mountain at Maitlands and “could see the group breaking up a bit”.
“So I just rolled over the top and got a bit of a gap before Warwick and Ceajay came across to me,” he said.
“In going for the second King of the Mountain I managed to create another gap, but Warwick came back to me with about one and half kilometres to go. At that stage I just trusted my sprint for the finish.
“Warwick put in a really good effort and rode extremely well. He pushed me hard in the last 300m, but I was able to stay ahead for the win.”
Having recovered in time from her cold this week after a course of antibiotics, the 42-year-old Schoeman was able to continue her stranglehold on the women’s title.
She crossed the line in 2:14:07, finishing ahead of Juanita MacKenzie (2:17:01) and Lauren Coleman (2:17:36).
“I haven’t ridden for a week and I always knew it would be difficult to keep up with the guys if they put in a threshold effort,” said Schoeman.
“They went hard up one of the hills and I was too far back, so I then focused on the ladies and joined a second group of males.
“We were only five in the group and were caught by a bunch, which included some of the women.
“We rode consistently until Maitlands when I was able to get away from the other three girls and we rode at a hard tempo from then on.
“I was in a few dark places today, but managed to cope and it’s really nice to take the win again. This is always a nice one to race because there is good route marking and efficient marshalling.
“It was hard, but I really enjoyed it. After the week I had I was just happy to be on the starting line again.”
1 Bradley Gouveris 2:00:10
2 Warwick Renard 2:00:11
3 Ceajay Bosman 2:01:57
4 Warick Minkley 2:02:59
5 David Scheepers 2:05:38
6 Adam MacKenzie 2:08:51
7 Bryce Robertson 2:11:16
8 Ryno Gerber 2:13:17
9 Patridge Chimwendo 2:14:04
10 Benjamin Brown 2:14:06
1 Bradley Bosman 1:45:24
2 Adriaan Lategan 1:47:01
3 Zukhanye Mahashe 1:50:33
1 Anriette Schoeman 2:14:07
2 Juanita MacKenzie 2:17:01
3 Lauren Coleman 2:17:36
1 Megan Ricci 2:06:43
2 Elize Strydom 2:12:52
3 Chantel Kapp 2:12:53
CAPTION: Bradley Gouveris crosses the line to win the men’s 80km feature race in the Lorraine Cycle Tour, sponsored by African Bank, Mecer and Strada, in Port Elizabeth today. Photo: Fabian Smith