BCX dominate final Limpopo stage podium, Basson retains yellow

Steven van Heerden (Team BCX) rode aggressively to claim the fourth and final 116-kilometre stage of the Tour de Limpopo from Tzaneen to Polokwane on Thursday, leaving nothing to chance. Not only did he drive his team home, but his team delivered second and third place as well to seize the podium positions at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, with Marc Pritzen and David Maree finishing second and third respectively.

It was obvious from the start of the stage that Team BCX had a very clear plan for the day, to gain a stage win and to get Clint Hendricks closer to win the yellow jersey.

“We wanted to go on an early move and get some guys up the climb first and hopefully Clint could jump over, but unfortunately Gustav and Jayde marked him and wouldn't let him go,” said Van Heerden. “Towards the end after most of the climbs, our plan changed a bit with Clint not getting any gaps in the bunch. We decided to ride for the stage and it worked out perfectly, one-two-three, so we’re happy with that.”

The final stage took the teams from Tzaneen back to Polokwane however there was no plain sailing as the peloton approached the base of the majestic 11km Magoebaskloof Pass. From there, the undulating route took riders back to the finish, where three laps of 2.89km around the Sports Precinct were completed.

From early on, Jaco van Dyk and Jason Oosthuizen (ACDC Luso) animated the race with several attacks with Team BCX. Team MCB’s Christopher Lagane was also prominent in the mix as they charged up the pass with Jan Montshiao and Songezo Jim (Sampada), Redwan Ebrahim, Kiflom Gebreselassie and Temesgen Buru (World Cycling Centre Africa Mixed Team), James Fourie, Jayde Julius and Gustav Basson (ProTouch Sports), Pritzen and Clint Hendricks (Team BCX) and Dirk Coetzee (Officeguru Racing).

Retaining the yellow jersey was ProTouch Sport’s Gustav Basson, marking all the BCX moves with his teammates in a valiant effort to protect the yellow jersey. “ProTouch came to the tour to win,” said Basson. “We try and win the races that we take part in, we work as a team and try to win as a team. The boys rode phenomenally today, if it wasn't for them this wouldn't be possible. Our management team has also been outstanding – Tony Harding and Brad and Sasha Eliot – helping us in the car and with everything that we do makes it all possible. It is nice to give back to the other guys as well.

“We knew that BCX was coming to race and they also wanted to win. The guys controlled everything for us, I feel like I had a free ride today. Mitch and Myles were controlling the front up to the climb and Pops and Jayde up and over the climb – it's a proper team and it’s nice racing when everything works and comes together.”

Serbian-registered team Java Partizan Pro Cycling thoroughly enjoyed the South African sunshine and hospitality. Belgian Mehdi Tigrine relished the terrain and warm autumn climate, while teammates Martin Ford and Dominic Schils were adamant they would return to train and race.

“The race was an amazing experience,” said Tigrine. “The race organisation was good, the hotels as well. There were some problems today and on stage two during the race but in the future the race organisation needs more police on the road. But apart from these two cases everything was perfect for me and our team. I hope to come back to South Africa again to race.”

When asked about the “touring” aspect, Tigrine said, “We’ve booked a day trip to the Kruger National Park on Friday and our wish is to see the Big 5.

“For future training, I cannot speak for the team, but I would definitely like to come back and train in South Africa. The roads and the climate are great – it’s a very good area for training,” he said.

The inaugural Tour de Limpopo took place over four days and was rated as a UCI category 2.2 stage race, and part of the UCI Africa Tour. Cycling South Africa wishes to extend a special thank you to Limpopo Tourism Agency, for making the event a distinct possibility. An event like this is not possible without the vision and support of our financial partners and sponsors, and we are extremely grateful for the support of Europcar South Africa, Hotel@Tzaneen, ZZ2, Audi Centre Polokwane and SA Sport and Cargo (Thule). We anticipate an even bigger and better event 2019!

<<< (Provisional) Summary of Results >>>

2018 Tour de Limpopo – 26 April 2018 – Tzaneen to Polokwane

Stage 4 results

  1. Steven van Heerden – Team BCX – 03:06:12.870
  2. Marc Pritzen – Team BXC – 03:06:12.959
  3. David Maree – Team BCX – 03:07:27.372

General Classification after Stage 4

  1. Gustav Basson – ProTouch Sports
  2. Jayde Julius – ProTouch Sports
  3. Clint Hendricks – Team BCX

King of the Mountain after Stage 4

  1. James Fourie – ProTouch Sports
  2. Gustav Basson – ProTouch Sports
  3. Steven van Heerden – Team BCX

Sprint Points after Stage 4

  1. Clint Hendricks – Team BCX
  2. Ryan Harris – Officeguru Racing
  3. Gustav Basson – ProTouch Sports

Best Young Rider GC after Stage 4

  1. Gustav Basson – ProTouch Sports
  2. Jason Oosthuizen – ACDC Luso
  3. Christopher Lagane – Team MCB

Best Young Rider on Stage 4

  1. Marc Pritzen – Team BCX
  2. Jason Oosthuizen – ACDC Luso
  3. Gustav Basson – ProTouch Sports

Most Aggressive Rider Stage 4

  1. Steven van Heerden – Team BCX

Team Classification after Stage 4

  1. ACDC Luso
    1. Calvin Beneke
    2. Casper Kruger
    3. Jandrich Kotze
    4. Jaco van Dyk
    5. Andrew Edwards
    6. Jason Oosthuizen
Mylene Paynter