Defending champion Carla Oberholzer and 20-year-old prospect Marc Pritzen won sprint finishes on Sunday, securing the women’s and men’s titles respectively at the Discovery 947 Ride Joburg cycle race.
Oberholzer launched an early drive in the chase for the line and surged clear to retain the crown she earned last year, with the former national champion carrying Team Demacon to victory.
Joanna van der Winkel, riding for Cycle Nation, took second place and Parys Edwards was third for the Karan Beef outfit.
Though she credited her teammates for doing much of the work in setting up the win, Oberholzer was rewarded for her meticulous preparation, which included a late inspection of the course.
“Coming into the sprint it was myself, Jo and Parys, and I was pretty confident I could take them,” Oberholzer told the race website.
“I came and looked at the finish on Saturday, and I knew what I had to do.
“I’m pretty happy it all worked out.”
Pritzen, meanwhile, formed part of a large breakaway group before producing a late drive for home, snatching a confidence boosting victory for his Officeguru team at the popular annual race, previously known as the 947 Cycle Challenge.
“At one stage I didn’t think our break would stay away,” Pritzen admitted.
“The gap started coming down quite quickly, but then we realised that without us really pushing hard, the gap stayed the same and even increased a little.
“I think there was some hesitation in the group behind us.”
Pritzen’s teammate Alex Worsdale, who gave up his own chances to ensure they wrapped up the title, held on for second position, with David Maree (Team Enza) grabbing third spot.
“I tried a couple of things going up to Kyalami (nearing the finish) and then in Kyalami, which didn’t really work,’ Pritzen said.
“Towards the end, Alex asked me how I felt. I told him I was keen to sprint and he said he would sacrifice himself for me.”
He was delighted to have stunned a quality line-up.
“I have to thank the team for believing in me and always backing me,” Pritzen said.
“This is not my victory. This is Officeguru’s victory.”