The RoadCover cycling team enjoyed an almost perfect ride to secure a convincing one-two-three finish at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers on Sunday.
Clint Hendricks led home teammates Brendon Davids and Willie Smit in a time of 2:19.17 after RoadCover initiated the two decisive breaks, firstly on the long drag up the M7 to Pinetown that ended up with five riders alone, and then at 20km to go that set up the three teammates for a team time-trial home.
Clint Hendricks wins from Brendon Davids (left) and Willie Smit (right) - Image - Anthony Grote
Dylan Girdlestone was in the initial break and pre-race favourite Nolan Hoffman from Team BCX saw the danger and was able to bridge across to complete the quintet near the top of the M7 climb.
Girdlestone and Hoffman were always going to be in trouble with three strong teammates dominating the group and it was no surprise when the RoadCover trio started alternating attacks off the front with about 40km to go.
The event in Durban with the iconic Moses Mahbida Stadium in the backgound
Girdlestone and Hoffman did what they could to counter the moves, but after five or six blistering sprints from the RoadCover trio, the two outsiders could only watch when Davids and Hendricks went away as they crossed the Umdloti River on the way back to the Moses Mabhida Stadium. And then Smit gapped across and the threesome settled into a team time-trial mode to quickly build the gap over the chasing duo.
The final 20km was simply a case of building a lead and deciding who would take the victory. With Hendricks already nominated as the winner before the start, the other two pushed him ahead as they crossed the line.
As expected the speedster and three-time aQuellé Tour Durban winner Hoffman won the dash for fourth from Girdlestone, with defending champion Bradley Potgieter giving RoadCover four out of the top six.
The rest of the podium on the top ten overall.
"I was a bit uncertain about how I would feel today because I had a big week last week (at the Tour of) Eritrea but the plan was to ride for me if it came down to a bunch sprint," said Hendricks after crossing the line. "I was fifth in Eritrea which was an unexpected GC result for me but it showed I had really good condition.
"Brendon and Willie have just come from joBerg2c so they are a bit fatigued and they had to squeeze out the last bit for today. The team is in good spirits. You know this team always rides for each other - I think we have a good bond.
"We could not have asked for anything better as a team today. We said at the team meeting we need to go right from the bottom of the climb and try to get a minute gap. We had 50 seconds at the top which we were happy with."
Second-placed Davids, who partnered Smit in the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race which ended in Scottburgh on Saturday, backed up the sentiments of the new champion.
"The plan played out perfectly. Obviously Brad was defending champ, but our goal was to get Clint across the line first.
"Myself and Willie came in here a bit unsure how we would ride. Willie has been struck with a stomach bug for the end of the joBerg2c but seemed to be bouncing back for the past couple of days. But as we say, we had tour legs coming into the race.
Willie Smit and Brendon Davids freshly finished with the Oldmutual joBerg2c event, where they ended in third place!
"The team was incredible today and I think that is the key to our success. We all race for each other – we don't race for individual glory."
And they certainly garnered all the glory as a team on Sunday.
105km road race
1. Clint Hendricks (RoadCover Cycling Team) 2.19.17
2. Brendon Davids (RoadCover Cycling Team) 2.19.17
3. Willie Smit (RoadCover Cycling team) 2.19.17
4. Nolan Hoffman (Team BCX) 2.21.52
5. Dylan Girdlestone (Independent) 2.21.53
6. Bradley Potgieter (RoadCover Cycling team) 2.21.59
7. Myles van Musschenbroek (Pro Touch Cycling Team) 2.22.20
8. Jayde Julius (Alpha Body Works) 2.22.39
9. Steven van Heerden (Team BCX) 2.22.39
10. David Maree (Team BCX) 2.22.39