Nelson Mandela Bay in a joint effort with Cacadu Province today delivered what has been described as an overwhelmingly successful stage of The Cell C Tour of Africa which saw Kristian House retain the gold Lion jersey in the GC Classifications with a 02’22 lead.
Stage results in Port Elizabeth today were
- Yohann Gene (15) Europcar rider – 04:05’27”
- Johann Rabie (65) Team Bonitas - 04:05’27”
- Gregory Habeaux (4) Verandas Willems-Accent 04:05’27”
With almost 200 road, race and static officials as well as vehicle assistance and marshals, the start of the stage was Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium where Mayor Mlungisi Mkovo started the race with great delight and a host of spectators. A windy start the stadium heading toward town saw an early attack leading to a three riders breakaway, MTN Qhubeka’s Arran Brown, Johann van Zyl (Toyota CSA) and Tomasz Kiendys (CCC Polstat).
The third stage of the tour led riders through the Addo Elephant National Park where they were treated to not only beautiful weather, clear, quiet roads and overall fantastic riding conditions, but with sightings of Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant and Eland - riders were rather amused!
For majority of the day, the Rapha Condor-Sharp team were at the front of the peloton and although the biggest gap of the day was just 02:15, it was the British team that controlled the pace.
The fast paced peloton now heading past the half way mark saw teams riding against a head wind which caused the gap to close by 01:00 minute. With 70km to go, Arran Brown (MTN Qhubeka) punctured and was here that a break formed and the international racing expertise of Team Europcar was well illustrated when they put all their men in front.
As the convoy approached PE, headwinds turned into cross winds causing a number of breaks to form – the front one containing a bunch of 24 riders with all the senior statesmen and got a minute up the road as the winds caused havoc with the peloton on the ride back in to Port Elizabeth.
Shortly after this, there was an unfortunate accident where stage 1 KOM winner, Dan Craven, crashed over the barrier.
Impey from team MTN Qhubeka won the first King of the Mountain (KOM) competition at 164km. Even though this was not a hill top finish, both KOM spots was in the last 10km of the 171km stage which was won by Daryl Impey who is now 14 point ahead in the competition of Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
Into the finish, the strongest man of the day was Johann van Zyl who was in the breakaway from the start and finished with the chasing group who were just 42”behind the lead break.
The Rapha Condor-Sharp team seem to be dominating the race at this stage with rider Kristian House still in front and retaining his status as overall leader.
In the Samsung Best Young Rider comp, Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg who is approximately 42” ahead of all of his main rivals. Which include South Africans Christopher Jennings (Burgos), David Maree (Tasol GT), Johann van Zyl (Toyota CSA) and Louis Meintjies (Toyota CSA) and UCI Africa rider, Daniel Teklehaimanot.
Best African Rider – Jacques Janse van Rensburg riding for Burgos 2016 was in the same bunch that he currently holds a lead over, David George (360 Life) and Daryl Impey (MTN Qhubeka).
Points classification leader jersey stays with Kristian House, but as he is the leader of the GC, Yohann Gene from Europcar will be starting stage 4 with the green jersey.
SHOOT: Kristian House must be considering the possibibility now of holding onto the overall lead into Paarl. But a lot is going to depend on the penultimate stage.