Gustav Basson won the battle of the sprinters on the second stage of the Takealot Tour of Good Hope, which finished at the Boland Landbouskool just outside Paarl today.
After a gloomy Monday when rain made conditions tricky, the peloton experienced much better weather on the 114km stage, which included rolling hills but no major climbs.
With TEG Procycling teammate Jason Oosthuizen playing an important part, Basson was set up perfectly for the final sprint and crossed the line in 2:39:03.
He was followed home by UAE Team Emirates’ Yousif Mirza Alhammadi and Team Enza’s Nolan Hoffman, who took the yellow jersey after winning the opening stage yesterday.
Although Hoffman heads the general classification in the UCI 2.2. race ahead of Alhammadi and Mayer after two bunch finishes, the leading riders are all on the same time and they will be looking at tomorrow’s team time-trial to break the deadlock.
The early part of the second stage was marked by a three-man breakaway consisting of Cycle Power’s Bradley Potgieter and the OfficeGuru pair of Travis Barrett and Alex Worsdale.
They went clear just after the 20km mark, but, according to Basson, all the teams contributed to the chase in an effort to control the race.
“All the teams who didn’t have anyone in the breakaway put someone in the front and it was just a matter of controlling it for most of the day,” he explained.
“When the gap grew to three minutes with about 30km to go we decided to ride to close it because we knew it would come down to another sprint finish.”
The peloton reeled in the breakaway with 5km to go after which Oosthuizen delivered Basson perfectly for the final sprint.
“Dan Craven (NCCS Namibia) tried to ride away as we turned left into the last stretch, but Jason kept me in touch and when I opened up I was able to get a gap and keep that to the finish,” said Basson, who is hoping for a winning ride in the 26.5km team time-trial.
“On paper we have some of the strongest riders with several time-trial specialists. But anything can happen and it will be a matter of keeping our focus because, obviously, the main aim is to land the overall lead.
“We believe it will have a telling effect on the overall situation.”
In another dash for the line, Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska beat stage-one winner Ariane Luthi and Catherine Colyn in the women’s race with all three clocking a time of 3:30:04.
Wloszczowska, who is making her debut in the five-day Takealot Tour of Good Hope, was thrilled with her victory.
“It is really nice to come from a cold and snowy Poland to ride in the Cape Winelands and it was great to take the stage,” she said.
“It was fairly flat with a few attacks and a breakaway, but in the end it all came together again.
“I attacked on a little uphill with about 800m to go and then around the corner there was another little uphill, so I managed to get away and to hold that in the sprint,” said the Pole, who will ride alongside Luthi in the Cape Epic later this month.
The time-trial will be followed by the 127km queen stage, which includes two ascents of Bainskloof Pass. On the final day, a ride of only 66.7km, the peloton will face the sharp but telling climb to the Taal Monument.
Caption: Gustav Basson celebrates his win on the second stage of 114km in the Takealot Tour of Good Hope road cycle race near Paarl in the Cape Winelands today. Photo: Henk Neuhoff Photography