Sport


Lange wins windy Cycle Tour

15 March 2010

Malcolm Lange, the winner of over 400 races in his career, won the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour for the third time on Sunday in tough, windy conditions. Anriette Schoeman claimed the women's title for a record sixth time.

Team Medscheme ace Lange followed up a victory by his team-mate Arran Brown in 2009. Second place went to 2010 South African elite road champion Christoff van Heerden of MTN Energade, with Daryl Impey in third.

Lange's victory was the result of a good tactical performance by his team that put him into a strong position with 36 kilometres to race. Twelve riders took part in a decisive break, including Impey and Lance Armstrong of Team Radioshack.

Medscheme riders

There were three Team Medscheme riders among the front group of 12, with Lange being joined by former Giro del Capo champion Nicholas White and Johann Rabie.

Also in the break were David George, the winner of this year's Giro del Capo, and under-23 mountain bike cross country world champion Burry Stander, who finished third in the Giro and opened some eyes with his outstanding performances on the road.

Tiaan Kannemeyer, the winner of the Giro in 2005, was also in the mix with his House of Paint captain Dean Edwards, a very strong track rider with an excellent turn of speed. Rene Hasselbacher was in support of David George for safindit.co.za, while Team Kuota's Bjorn Glasner completed the group.

Armstrong attack

With about one kilometer to go, Armstrong put in an attack, but his effort was undermined by a strong headwind.

Edwards then took up the sprint at the front, but he had made his move too soon and Lange, a canny sprinter, timed his move out of Edwards' slipstream perfectly to fly past and on to victory by more than a bike length.

He punched the air as he crossed the line in two hours, 39 minutes and 55 seconds to record win number 407 of his career.

Van Heerden was second, Impey third, Stander fourth, Hasselbacher fifth, Edwards sixth, Glasner seventh, Rabie eighth, Armstrong ninth, and White tenth, all in the same time as Lange.

'I was inspired'

"I was inspired to win today," Lange told Sapa. "Our teammate, Arran Brown, won last year and is out injured, so we really wanted to defend the title for the team.

"I owe this win to my team. They were brilliant and we rode a tactically perfect race," he smiled.

Chatting to Lauren Cohen of The Times, Lange said he felt Armstrong had underestimated the strength of the wind and hit the front too early.

"But Armstrong's presence meant the crowds were lining the route for us, which doesn't happen so early in the morning. He'll have to come every year," he added.

'What a cool ride/race'

Armstrong was on his Twitter page soon after the race, saying: "Argus Cycle Tour done! What a cool ride/race. Congrats to @darylimpey on gettin' 3rd. Wind was howling out there."

"And hats off to all the riders today. Won't be easy in that wind. Cold beers tonight!"

Later, he added: "Taking off for home now. Thanks Cape Town for a great week. And thanks to @jagfoundation for all you are doing down here. Livestrong!"

Bettered record

Anriette Schoeman of Team Biogen Toyota bettered the record she previously shared with Willie Engelbrecht of five wins in the elite group when she won the women's race in three hours, six minutes and 11 seconds.

"It has been one of my goals to break that five-win record and Iím so happy to have achieved it," she told Sapa afterwards. "I have to pinch myself to believe it."

It was a remarkable win considering that the "Pocket Rocket", as she is known, underwent knee surgery in January and had been unsure of whether or not she would be able to participate in the Cycle Tour.

Placings

Robyn de Groot of MTN Energade placed second with British rider Catherine Williamson of Team Bizhub grabbing the final podium position.

Cherise Taylor of Team Nashua, the 2008 Cycle Tour champion, finished fourth. She was followed across the finishing line by Joanna van de Winkel and 2009 winner Jennie Stenerhag. Rounding out the top 10 were Marissa van der Merwe, Chrissie Viljoen, Mariske Strauss and Fabiana Luperine.

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