Former South African U23 road champion Clinton Barrow bolted to his third win in the Daily Dispatch SPAR Cycle Tour in East London on Sunday.
Barrow (Giant-Ride Life) held his nerve in a tight three-man sprint to take the title in 2:34:36, just milliseconds ahead of former Border 1000 champion Donovan O’Reilly and in-form Port Elizabeth rider Marinus Prinsloo (Bestmed-NMMU).
In a replay of last year’s women’s race, multiple winner Anriette Schoeman (Africa Silks-Bestmed) again outsprinted PE compatriot Allison Hertel (Bestmed-NMMU) to seal a hat-trick of wins.
The seven-time Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour champion, who won The Herald VW Cycle Tour two weeks ago, crossed the finish line along the Esplanade in 2:44:21 with Hertel just a second off. Veteran roadie Amanda Akom finished a distant third in 3:01:47.
East London-born Barrow said the racing conditions had been near perfect, with a light drizzle keeping the heat off.
He said the Bestmed-NMMU team had pushed the pace from the start of the 100km classic.
“In the beginning I was with them. They were racing and I was on my own.
“So I had to play the race really well because they had the numbers.”
Being isolated, the 23-year-old said he had to choose his efforts well. He did this successfully and when the winning break went clear at the 25km mark, he was one of the five-rider selection.
They group stayed together until Barrow and O’Reilly forced a move with two kilometres to go, leaving the Madibaz riders to chase hard.
“It came down to a sprint and I managed to hang on and take it.”
This is the second podium in as many weeks for the young climber, who took the runner-up spot at the 99er Cycle Tour in Cape Town last weekend.
The Buffalo City race was the culmination of a full weekend festival of cycling that started with the mountain bike races and Nutri-Kids Mini Cycle Tour on Saturday.
Top local rider and reigning Border 1000 champion Jason Reed claimed the honours in the 55km Bova mountain bike challenge in 2:18:47.
He was followed home by Jason Peach in 2:28:53, with Kyle Bradford rounding out the podium in 2:36:36.
In the women’s event, Michelle Schlebusch took the win in 3:19:44, with Christine Harrison second in 3:28:59. Madelein Gerber finished third in 3:38:30.