Italians top early stages of race

2008-02-04 00:00

It was two in a row for Italian pro cycling team Liquigas when Leonardo Bertagnolli took top honours on a tar-meltingly hot Sunday, on day two of the Intaka Tech World’s View Challenge, which started on Saturday and runs until Thursday.

Second place went to Andry Grivko from German Team Milram (he also came second yesterday in overall race results) and in third was David George from team MTN from South Africa. This is the same order of results per team as yesterday.

The Italian team arrived two weeks early to train and acclimatise, which has stood them in good stead as they won both the weekend races. “Our target was to win one stage. Now we have won two already, so anything is possible,” said yesterday’s winner Manuel Quinziato. “We have a saying that there is no two without a three!”

Bertagnolli said: “This place is amazing: it is very beautiful and we have had great weather to train in.”

The top four women in the racing vets and ladies categories repeated their performance from race one and came home in the same order as yesterday.

Event director Alec Lenferna paid tribute to the city of Pietermaritzburg. He especially thanked the traffic department for coping with motorists, who at times had to wait while cyclists took to the city streets.

Today’s race starts at Alexandra Park at 9.30 am, heads towards Wartburg and Dalton and ends again at Alexandra Park.

There will be a rest day tomorrow, with the final days on Wednesday and Thursday.

Day one

SA pro cyclist Nic White from team MTN was in third place, and Italian cyclist Quinziato took the honours at the end of the first day of the cycling race.

In second place was Team Milram from Germany (rider: Andriy Grivko) and third place to Team MTN from South Africa (rider: Nicholas White).

An undulating route, a constantly segmenting peloton and vigorous sprints marked the first day of the race, of 111km. The route took cyclists through Camperdown, Richmond and Ashburton, starting and ending in Alexandra Park in temperatures peaking at 44 degrees.

There were four categories over two races. Starting the day were the top international professionals, in a field of more than 100 riders representing 13 professional teams. The second race of the day featured the veterans, women’s and recreational categories.

One of the day’s big surprises was that Intaka Tech SA Development entry, Michael Robinson won in the overall points division in the Subaru sprint competition.

South Africa had a strong presence, and up until the final three kilometres there was a South African developmental rider in the main group, and Nic White took third place honours overall in the main race.

The climber that conquered Fox Hill with ease was Jaco Venter from Team Neotel, who won the first King of the Mountain title. The second King of the Mountain title went to Travis Allan from Konica Minolta, when he succeed the Richmond Hill after 34 km. Allan was also crowned overall King of the Mountain.

“We had a fantastic day!” said race director Denzil Ulyate. “It is fantastic to have such a high calibre of riders competing. We are excited that the good South African riders excelled in all forms. It is great that they were competing so favourably in a world class event.

“We are delighted to see the number of spectators along the route — Maritzburg came out in numbers to support the event. It is great to see the city embracing cycling as a major sport in Pietermaritzburg.”

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