The #DiazDash sees riders heading inland into the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains finishing 106km later in George. The damp conditions will make the district roads slightly slow but there hasn’t been enough rain/drizzle for mud. No dust either. After yesterday’s 13km prologue time gaps are relatively small across all categories, so it’s all to play for over today’s 106km #DiazDash. Our leader jerseys are all lined up and ready to lay down some smack. Blue lights guiding the swarm of riders through rush hour traffic in Mossel Bay.
Windless, cool and overcast, perfect riding conditions but unfortunately high tide means we won’t be hitting the beach. It would have been quite spicy – next year hopefully. Neutral zone still in effect to maintain a compact peloton through town.
11Km in and the racing has commenced. Turn on those head lamps … We’re heading into the pain cave. Our GS bike is too big for next section. Have to leap frog guys to where they will cross N2, 21km in. Matthys Beukes (RSA) and Gert Heyns (RSA) (Team SCOTT Factory Racing LCB 2) are leading the front group of teams. They’re working together. At 24km Robert Crisi (ITA) and Emanuele Crisi (ITA) (Team Celeste Kento Avvenia) are second in the lead. With 2 teams 10 seconds and another 4 teams 35 seconds back. I reckon 2nd group on the road will catch the leaders. Erik Kleinhans (RSA) and Chris Wolhuter (RSA) (Team Asrin) will continue chasing hard and regroup in a few kilometres.
At 26kms the speed are diametrically opposed to speed of life here. Calm restored, the chasers’ efforts have paid off, and they are all back together. We have two foreign teams in the mix, the Crisi brothers from Italy (Team Celeste Kento Avvenia) and Bram Rood (NED) and Mos Gerben (NED) (Team KMC-Mitsubishi-Koga-Stauwdam Assen) from the Nertherlands.
At 30km eight teams lead and the 2nd group are 1:40 behind. The third group are led by leading Vets Rob Sim and Doug Brown with 2:00 behind leaders, and leading women Jennie Stenerhag and Robyn de Groot are behind with 3:38.
The hammer is yet to present itself at 38km. Team Celeste Kenso Avvenia are descending to the Moordkuil River where conditions are nice and tacky. This is a bloody brutal climb with a few steep kicks. Team SCOTT Factory Racing LCB 2 (RSA) is the first to summit Moordkuil River with a 22 second lead. Chasers are Team Celeste Kento Avvenia (ITA) and Team KMC-Mitsubishi-Koga-Stauwdam Assen (NED). Dylan Rebello (RSA) and Thinus Redlinghuys (RSA) (Team Jeep) are chasing the leaders 1:09 behind with Team Asrin 2: 40 back.
Team Ascendis Health, Team Sasol (Catherine Williamson (GBR) are Esther Suss (SUI)) and Team ToMotion Racing Black Tusk are still together at water point one. Legends Fienie Barnard (RSA) and Kobus Barnard (RSA) (Team Klein Karoo Mixed) are through water point one in second place in the mixed category. Our riders loving the open road of #DiazDash. Leading vets, Team Trek Robert Daniel are taking it through the beautiful indigenous forest. Disaster for Team KMC-Mitsubishi-Koga-Stauwdam Assen (NED) with a broken rim at the 45km mark.
54 kilometres in and Beukes and Heyns (Team SCOTT Factory Racing LCB 2 ) lead Buys and Du Toit (Team SCOTT Factory Racing LCB 1) and the Crisis brothers (Team Celeste Kento Avvenia) with 1:04. Leading solo man and Team Asrin are 5:41 off leaders. Team KMC-Mitsubishi-Koga-Stauwdam Assen (NED) fixed their wheel and are chasing hard. Leader in the solo men category Richard Stone (RSA) is comfortably riding with pairing of Team Asrin.
At the 70km mark Beukes and Heyns are laying down some smack. They’re 40 seconds ahead of Team Jeep and the Crisi brothers. Yellow jersey holders Buys and Du Toit are with Alan Gordon and Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Team Navworld – Squirtlube) are at 1:24 off leaders. Dutch team are now far behind with 07:02 after fixing their broken wheel.
With only 35km to go Team Asrin are 08:34 behind with Sven Kleine, now the solo leader with Richard Damant 1:57 behind. Team Sasol are in the leading position in the women’s category 0:05 seconds ahead of Team Ascendis. The way things look on the road, pink jerseys will certainly change shoulders tonight. The gap has grown to 6:34 with 35 kilometers to go.
We’ve finally made it to George dam and are expecting the leaders Beukes and Heyns come screaming past. They’re 0: 45 ahead of the Crisi brothers. Our Italian stallions have a firm grip on second for today’s stage. 3Km to go and leading team are digging deep for victory.
It’s a home town victory for Beukes and Heyns. Crediting their local knowledge of the trails and area Beukes and Heyns pushed through the last 10 kilometers of #DiazDash to win with a great time of 04:49:58. 2nd and 3rd on stage One’s #DiazDash are the Crisi brothers at 0:54 and Team Jeep at 02:41. “At 80kms I ran out of wheelies!” Buys commented light-hearted despite surrendering the leader’s jersey of Stage One #DiazDash.
Remarkably all leaders’ jerseys, except the vets, will change shoulders tonight. Great to have so many riders giving it their all #DiazDash