Report by Sipho Mona, Team Manager: Team GT/Velokhaya/PPA.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Port Elizabeth's second Engen Dynamic Cycle Challenge took place on Sunday, May 2, this time with a new, tougher 100km route.
The GT Velokhaya PPA team was there in full force, with both our elites and juniors participating. The race started like the proverbial 'house on fire' with the group maintaining an average of over 40km/h for the first 30km. A number of riders dropped off from the group, leaving the top riders to fight it out amongst themselves.
Songezo Jim, fresh from the 5 Nations Tour in Europe, obliged by being in a two-man breakaway with one of the SA u/23 National riders. They kept their break until they were brought back by the bunch. Then Siyabonga Mnqwazi countered with two other riders towards the turning point past Gamtoos Rivier and on the R331 road back home.
With about 40km to go, the race briefly took a back seat as most riders gathered their breath. But when the race entered the N2, the GT Velokhaya PPA riders went on a relentless attack with just 30km to go. Two of our riders, Wandisile Mahlombe and Songezo Jim, built up a gap of about 15sec with 20km to the end. The bunch was hot on their heels and the duo tried desperately to maintain their lead - but the whole group worked together to bring them back with just over 10km to the end.
The pack was now back together and the inevitable bunch sprint was going to be the deciding factor, In the end, our team managed a 5th position in both the Elite category (Siyabonga Mnqwazi) and in the u/23 category (Ayabonga Ophla) in what can only be described as a hardly fought sprint.