Veteran cyclists lead Panorama Tour

Veteran cyclists Andrew McLean and Graham Cronje of Team Cycle Lab Toyota, on Sunday confirmed their dominance at the MTN Panorama Tour in White River when they won their second successive stage and extended their overall lead in the four-day race.

Starting the day with a significant 11-minute lead, the experienced pair were content to stay in the front pack during the majority of the 82km stage and let their rivals make the moves. But nobody was able to make a significant impact on the race leaders, who escaped from their nearest rivals with 3km remaining to claim the stage win in 2:03,31.

There was a three-team sprint for second place, which was eventually secured by the TCS Broken Like Barend team of Pieter Henning and Barend Burger, who also captured victory in the open men’s category. Stage one runners-up, the Cycle Lab team of David and Johan Labuschagne, rounded out the overall podium and extended their lead in the sub-veteran men’s competition, with Team Fullimput (Donovan Jackson and Roan Exelby) taking fourth and cementing third place overall.

“It was a shortish stage and the first 50km weren’t that tough so we just sat in the pack and waited for the climbs towards the end,” explained McLean.
“Barend Burger and Pieter Henning were actually very strong today and they pushed the pace on the climbs that whittled the lead group right down.”

McLean pointed out that the races within the race added to the excitement as teams diced for supremacy in the overall race as well as in the various categories.

“The last 20km of today’s stage were very intense and tough and it was mostly as a result of the battles in the sub-veteran and the open men’s categories.”

In the women’s race, the MTN 1 pair of Amoryn Saayman and Carla Rowley claimed their second stage win and extended their lead over their rivals Lisa Vermaak and Liefie Day (Standard Bank), to more than 20 minutes. Another team that won a second stage and extended their category lead on Sunday were the Standard Bank Bring It On pair of Tijl van De Winkel and Joanna Hotchkiss.

The High Tech Spinning duo of Bayne Slabbert and Jurgens Wagner secured their first stage win in the Master Men’s race but were unable to topple category leaders, the Filorga pair of Ernest Horn and Andre Potgieter who crossed the line just six seconds later.

In the tandem race, the Standard Bank duo of Ian Martin and Chris Frankiskos outsprinted the TCS Magical pair of Jaco Ferreira and An-Li Pretorius. But the latter retained their category lead in the general classification and were in fourth place overall.

On Monday, the riders tackle stage three, at 120km the longest stage, which starts and finishes in White River and goes via Sabie and Brondal. There are 2 100m of ascent most of which comes from three significant climbs: Spitkop, Long Tom Pass and Brondal. - Sapa

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