#BehindTheStripes: First Race of the season completed

I’m sitting in my hotel room in Gabon with Adrien Niyonshuti. We’ve just finished our first race of the season, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. I had a really good summer in South Africa and I could feel during the race that my preparation has been really good. The race went well for us. We didn’t achieve everything we set out, we would have liked to get better results but we tried everything we could and just need to learn from it. I’m happy with my condition so now we look forward.

It was a good experience racing with guys like Linus Gerdemann and John-Lee Augustyn. Linus is a really good leader. It’s good to race with him. He made the final calls during the stage and told us what to do. His experience is incredible because everything he said happened. He made the perfect calls all the time, he is really smart on the bike. It was also good to get to know John-Lee. I didn’t really know him before and we worked really well together. He is very experienced and he is a super guy.

I’m so so happy for Fre [Ferekalsi Debesay] and his stage win. We spoke about it before actually. I went in the breakaway the two previous days and we were talking about one of us making it to the end in one of the attacks and worrying about the sprint. I told him not to worry about sprinting for the intermediate sprints because he’d lost time on GC. He was very clever and just let the others sprint while he sat on. He actually didn’t need to save energy though because he was so strong on the day. He attacked the break several times until no one could follow him anymore. He didn’t wait for the line and escaped. It was great to get the team’s first stage win in this tour.

Next on the calendar it’s returning to South Africa and focusing on the South African National Championships. I am going to take it easy for a few days then start up next week again. We won the race last year and would like to do so again but it’s not going to be easy. You can count on us giving it our best effort though.

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