They came with a plan. The strategy was to go hard from the gun. To win in style. By doing so they would be telling a side story.
Nic White and his RoadCover Cycling Team today convincingly outgunned Alpha BodyWorks and Active Bodies to win one of the biggest team time trials in the world - the Coronation Double Century over 202-kilometres out of Swellendam.
RoadCover, who featured imports Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) and last weekend’s 94.7 Cycle Challenge winner, Brendon Davids, along with team regulars such as Willie Smit and Clint Hendricks they rolled off the line one of the world’s largest team time trials as favourites and put the hammer down early on.
Conditions were perfect early on, cloudy and cool with a few fog patches through Buffeljagsrivier and up into Tradouw Pass, the first real test of the route. “We went out quite quick from the start and were a little bit on the limit and didn’t know how long it was going to last,” he said.
According to White, as important as the win was for his team and sponsors, so was the ‘story’ behind the make-up of the 12 for the day. “Generally the ‘CDC’ is a race where some of the top riders of the country are invited to race in composite teams. We decided to come as our own team and bring along some guest riders as well. We wanted to tell a story, past, present or future.
“It’s always nice to come out and see the guys I started out with and just to be back in the South African racing vibe, it’s something I miss,” added Meintjes who is in the country until late January when he will most likely start his 2017 season at the Tour Down Under.
RoadCover won in a time of 4:42:23 (for 185km of racing) because of a compulsory neutral section in the route. The total distance covered was still 202-kilometres while the racing distance 185-kilometres. The neutral zone was necessitated by the ongoing roadworks between Montagu and Ashton. The zone was in effect from Van Riebeek Road in Montagu through the Cogmanskloof Pass to the end of the Ashton Team Support Zone in Zandvliet Road.
Another plan that ran on song was that of three-time defending women’s champs, Velocity Sports Lab 1, although the win didn’t come nearly as easily as in the past. “We badly wanted the win,” said team captain Lara Woolley afterward. “We’ve won it for a few years, but this year the competition was a whole lot stiffer. Cycle Nation came down from Johannesburg and Tiletoria Train, were also very strong, but that made it more exciting in the end,” she said.
Aside from the unique competitive nature of the racing element, the event is a favourite on the calendar among fun riders - for who it really caters. The spectacular scenery; camaraderie of finishing such a big endurance challenge; and carnival part atmosphere in town post event ensures this event continues to grow.
“This is our 10th year with the Double Century,” commented Coronation portfolio manager, Neville Chester, who completed the race himself. “It really resonates with Coronation because of the key hallmarks that set it aside from other cycle races: The teamwork; the long distance; the ups-and-downs…it’s all in line with our brand values of thinking long term and working very hard as a team to deliver great outcomes for clients,” he said.
The Coronation Double Century is a Pedal Power Association event organised by the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust on their behalf.
1. RoadCover 4:42:23
2. Alfa Body Works 4:55:14
3. Active Bodies 4:55:16
1. Velocity Sports Lab 1 5:51:50
2. Cycle Nation 5:56:35
3. Tiletoria Train 6:08:17
1. Storck Bicycles 5:20:41
2. Hot Chillee Mixed 5:25:25
3. Clover Prestige 5:30:18