PMB to Durban: Slingerland wins gruelling Amashovashova

2008-10-19 00:00

It was a winning weekend for Malcolm Lange who won the 22nd Pick n Pay Amashovashova 106 km cycle race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban yesterday, while Cashandra Slingerland made it a double for the MTN Energade team as she dominated the women’s race.

This year the event has gained ICU status and a number of African teams were among the 7 000 starters. “I’ve been really motivated in the last two months and cycling well, so felt I could make it this year,” said Lange, who won the first of his six victories in 1991.

Hanko Kackelhoffer (House of Paint) took the first King of the Mountain but Toyota Super Cycling’s David Maree was first to make a break approaching Thornville and opened this out to 57 seconds for the first Hot Spot 29 km into the race at Umlaas Road.

Heading into Inchanga, Lange led an initial four-man break away on the long winding ascent, but Kackelhoffer powered ahead to take the second King of the Mountain.

Climbs out of halfway and up Alverstone saw the group whittled to eight, including top sprinters Arran Brown (House of Paints), Johann Rabie (Neotel), Reinhart Janse van Rensburg and the MTN combination of Lange and SA road champion Ian Macleod, who did much of the pace work for the breakaway.

“I wanted to split the group and it came at the right time. Initially we had three in the break and I noticed [Nolan] Hoffman was missing so we went for it,” said Lange “We had a 50-second lead in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, but I was concerned it wouldn’t be enough on the freeway descent after Hillcrest.”

Sean Leach was the final to fall off the group as they headed to Shongweni with the MTN pair still in the driving seat. “Ian [Macleod] worked really hard for me.”

The consistent descent of the second half took the average pace to 43 km/h and opened the lead to over 80 seconds, as the group hurtled towards Durban’s Suncoast Casino. Rabie again initiated the sprint from 200 metres out, but was covered by Macleod, who brought Lange, Brown, Van Rensburg and Dan Craven with him. Lange edged Brown, while Janse van Rensburg piped Craven for third with all three given a time of two hours, 25 minutes 23 seconds.

Slingerland made it a double for the MTN Energade team taking line honours in two hours, 53 minutes 14 seconds. The previous SA time-trial champion made the break 20 km into the race with only Carla van der Merwe and Isabel Moolman able to go with her.

Slingerland tested the duo on the next climb and was away free for over 70 km of lone cycling to the beachfront finish. “I enjoy time-trialing as I have power but lack speed,” said Slingerland.

The combination of Andrew Mclean and Graham Cronje, a late replacement for the injured Robbie Hunter, won the tandem race in two hours, 17 minutes, breaking their goal 2:20 barrier to earn R100 000 for the Race for Change charities.

The Pick n Pay-sponsored weekend commenced with the Asishove Mountain Bike Challenge held on Saturday morning around the tough and muddy Giba Gorge where KZN’s newly-crowned U23 World Cup Champion Burry Stander defended his title.

Team Garmin DCM duo of Max Knox and Brandon Stewart took the early lead, with Port Shepstone-based Stander just off the pace.

Knox and Stander took control on the steep climb at halfway, while SA Cross Country Champion, Stewart, battled to maintain the pace. Stander took the lead on downhill, opening the lead over the final seven kilometres to finish a minute and a half clear of Knox in a time of one hour, 55 minutes and 40 seconds. Stewart hung on for third in 2:00:14.

Pre-race favourite Samantha Oosthuizen (Garmin DCM) won a race-long duel with local rider, Shawna Thunder.

The action continued in the afternoon where Lange out-scored the talented opposition in the inaugural 60 km kermise around the taxing Alexander Park circuit in Pietermaritzburg. Points were earned for the first four riders across the line in sprints held every fifth lap.

Neotel’s Johann Rabie and Nolan Hoffman were prominent in the early sprints but their placings were less consistent that the MTN master who created an unassailable lead in the penultimate dash to win the R20 000 prize. Lange’s main threat came from Johann Rabie who finished second with Hoffman third

SA champion Cherise Taylor returned to top of the podium when she led Team MTN in the women’s race with team mates Cashandra Slingerland and Marissa van der Merwe finishing second and third.

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