Photo: Mzansi Tour
The Mzansi Tour got off to a fast start today as Rapha Condor JLT posted the quickest time at the opening team time trial prologue around Emmarentia Dam. The British Continental team’s average speed of just under 50km/h was good enough to just edge out Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung by 4 seconds. Synergy Baku Cycling Project was the third fastest team, 5 seconds off the pace.
D3Devo p/b Airgas Cycling Team had set the fastest time from the first wave of teams with a 6’52” but the majority of the top teams would start in the 2nd and 3rd wave. Starting from the 2nd wave, The World Cycling Centre Africa team, consisting of riders from the Team MTN-Qhubeka feeder squad, would take the lead with an impressive time of 6’47”. Their time in the hot seats was short lived though as Rapha Condor JLT was the next team to cross the line with a 6’37”.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were led across the line by Daniel Teklehaimanot +4″ behind Rapha Condor JLT, taking 2nd spot on the leader board. A further change in the top 3 placings would only come when the 2nd last team of the day to start, Synergy Baku Cycling Project crossed the line, bumping the WCCAfrica team down to 4th as they took 3rd.
With such small time gaps the tour is now wide open to potentially, some very exciting racing over the next 4 stages. After the performance of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in the prologue, Teklehaimanot will start stage 1 in the green points jersey while Jacques Janse van Rensburg will wear the white Cathsseta Best African rider jersey.
Stage 1 – Golden Gate > Clarens (140km)
An undulating course that will suit a puncheur, particularly with the short steep climb that comes to the finish
Stage 2 – Clarens > Golden Gate National Park (159km)
The races queen stage that ends with a mountain top finish in the Golden Gate National Park, not the toughest finishing climb around but enough to decide the overall classification.
Stage 3 – Bethlehem > Vanderbijlpark (201km)
A long but flat and fast stage. Definitely one for the sprinters, unless the wind picks up on the long straight roads.
Stage 4 – Blue Hills Estate Circuit (79,5km)
15 laps of 5.3km circuit, numerous corners will make a lot of accelerations quite taxing. A race for the strong sprinter.