Hendricks bags title

 WOMAN POWER: The Herald Continental Cycle Tour women’s winner Maroesjka Matthee, of Cape Town, salutes the crowd as she crosses the finish line ahead of Port Elizabeth’s racing queen Anriette Schoeman close behind Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

WOMAN POWER: The Herald Continental Cycle Tour women’s winner Maroesjka Matthee, of Cape Town, salutes the crowd as she crosses the finish line ahead of Port Elizabeth’s racing queen Anriette Schoeman close behind Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

TEAM BCX riders Clint Hendricks and Steven van Heerden were a cut above the rest as the pair claimed a one-two finish in the 106km classic at The Herald Continental Cycle Tour yesterday. In the women’s section, Cape Town Team Ciovita rider Maroesjka Matthee won the 106km title ahead of last year’s winner and Bay cycling ace, Anriette Schoeman, of Team Africa Silks Bestmed.

Another Port Elizabeth racer, Kelsey van Schoor, of African Pride, claimed third place.

Hendricks and Van Heerden, of Johannesburg, had big smiles as they crossed the line almost side by side to loud cheers from the crowd.

Hendricks led the way across the line in a time of two hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, while Van Heerden stopped the clock at of 2:35.59sec.

Greg de Vink, of Team Mad Macs, rounded out the podium places in 2:36.00.

Hendricks, 26, was elated to pick up his first Herald Cycle Tour victory on a warm Sunday morning.

“The team rode brilliantly today, we had about four or five riders in the lead group,” he said after the race.

“Steven attacked after Maitlands and we opened a big gap.

“We had a few attacks and managed to work well together in the last 40km.

“Steve said I should take the win, even though I asked him a number of times if he was sure, because I would have liked him to win as well,” Hendricks said.

“He works tirelessly every day, and it just shows how unselfish he is. So, it’s just nice to reward the team with the win.”

Hendricks bettered his result of last year, where he finished second behind Nolan Hoffman, also from Team BCX.

Van Heerden said it was a tough race, but hailed the performance of all his teammates for their help in bringing home the title.

Asked why he had decided to give Hendricks the win, he said: “That’s camaraderie. We are friends.

“We ride together. He’s a sprinter, so that is his job,” Van Heerden said.

“My ride was just a training race for the Commonwealth Games later this year.”

Matthee, 29, claimed the women’s win in a nailbiting final few metres, to pip Schoeman to the post.

Matthee finished in a time of 3:12.51 ahead of Schoeman, who clocked in 3:12.52.

Van Schoor’s third place was in a time of 3:12.53

Matthee said despite the tough field, she knew she would need to stay in touch with the lead group – and in particular Schoeman – if there was any chance of her gaining a decent result.

“I always enjoy racing in Port Elizabeth,” she said.

“Anriette attacked non-stop but I managed to stick to her until the Maitlands climb.”

Matthee caught up with Schoeman about 5km after the ascent – and said it was then a drag race to the line.

“I was a bit nervous as I didn’t want to be boxed in, but I knew Anriette’s was the best wheel to stick to,” she said.

Schoeman said: “Conditions were quite tough and I didn’t feel great, so I just tried my best on the climbs.

“I was coming down with a bit of a tummy bug so, considering how I was feeling, I’m happy with the result.”

Schoeman said Matthee’s teammates made it difficult for her to pull away.

The king and queen of the mountain titles went to David Maree and Schoeman respectively.

In the 55km pursuit race, Imveli Cycling club’s Archie Zakhe, 15, took the honours in 1:38.05secs, ahead of second placed Reinhard Strumpfer (1:38.09) and Benjamin Brown in third (1:40.25).

On the women’s side, Team Bestmed’s Ashleigh Mayhead, 16, The Herald Continental Cycle Tour MTB winner a week ago, crossed in 1:44.18.

Mayhead finished a second ahead of Gemma Meaton (1:45.08) as Mischka Strydom came in two seconds later (1:47.59).

Top Five results:

Men 106km: Clint Hendricks (2:35.58secs), Steven Van Heerden (2:35.59), Greg de Vink (2:36.00); Brandon Downes (2:37.11); Nolan Hoffman (2.37:12)

Women’s 106km: Maroesjka Matthee (3:12.51); Anriette Schoeman (3:12:52); Kelsey van Schoor (3:12.53); Elne Owen (3.12.54); Liezel Jordaan (3:12.54).

Amir Chetty chettyam@tisoblackstar.co.za