Confident in his finishing ability, Reynard Butler powered his way to back-to-back one-day classic victories at the Bestmed Berge en Dale road race near Krugersdorp in Gauteng today.
With excellent support from his team, the 29-year-old ProTouch rider added the 107km feature race title to his Ride for Sight victory in Boksburg last weekend.
Butler crossed the line at Cradlestone Mall in Muldersdrift in 2:30:37, edging out Calvin Beneke (Luso AC/DC Dynamics) by a second, with Flavio Venceslau (Gauteng Track Academy) third in the same time.
The Demacon women’s team continued to dominate the South African scene with newly crowned national road champion Carla Oberholzer picking up her third title of the year.
She also used her power to shade Yzette Oelofse (Bestmed) in a sprint finish in 3:10:39. Third went to former Olympian Joanna van de Winkel (Cycle Nation-Sandton City).
Butler said his team did a great job of controlling the action throughout and setting him up for the finish.
“Going into the last kilometre we had two of our team, Myles van Musschenbroek and Gustav Basson, leading,” he said.
“I know that Gustav has a nice kick so I used him to my advantage. He led me off with about 250 metres to go and I had the power at the end to finish off.”
After last week’s win, Butler said he felt confident of his form in the dash to the line.
“I knew my sprint legs were there and I felt good during the course of the race.
“It was an aggressive and hard race; I knew the other guys would be tired and I was able to finish it off.”
Butler said the race came down to a breakaway group of about 25 riders that formed at around the 80km mark as they passed through the Cradle of Humankind.
Although the ProTouch riders put in several attacks, he said everything stayed together until the grand finale and he praised his teammates for their efforts in delivering the victory.
“We couldn’t ask for much more at the beginning of the year,” he said.
“The guys have really picked up their game from the beginning of the year and our confidence is high at this stage.”
In the women’s race, Oberholzer said she overcame a tough start on the first climb to eventually produce a big effort to pip Oelofse on the line.
“Joanna made it really hard up the first climb and we basically just covered her,” she said.
“I struggled with the start and after the climb I was not feeling well. But I recovered during the race and at the halfway mark I started feeling better.”
She said a group of eight broke away on the climb and they were joined by four more riders on the descent.
“From there we just rolled through the race and coming into the finish, it was really slow.
“My teammate Kim le Court then opened up with about 400m to go and Yzette got onto her wheel.
“I managed to get onto Yzette’s wheel and when I saw her go past Kim I knew I had to put in one last effort to get past her.
“A sprint finish is always a bit of gamble and it was a close one today.”
Oberholzer, who, like Butler, triumphed at Ride for Sight, said it was another great outcome for the team in the event which is presented by Optimum Financial Services.
“We really worked together very well at the end.”
Demacon also triumphed in the Fast One in January through former national champion Lynette Burger.
In a tragic incident, before the start of the race this morning, 41-year-old Nino Oppel of Johannesburg was struck from behind by an unidentified vehicle. He was heading to the start from Pinehaven towards Roodepoort. The vehicle did not stop.
Although medics reached the rider within less than a minute of the incident and tried to stabilise him, he was declared dead at Pinehaven Hospital about five hours later.
ASG Events race director Darren Herbst said they sent their condolences to the family.
“This is a very difficult situation for his family and we offer our heartfelt support to them,” he said.
“We make every effort to secure the safety of the riders at all our events. This is very tragic.”
1 Reynard Butler 2:30:37
2 Calvin Beneke 2:30:38
3 Flavio Venceslau 2:30:38
4 Bradley Potgieter 2:30:38
5 Jan Montshioa 2:30:38
1 Carla Oberholzer 3:10:39
2 Yzette Oelofse 3:10:39
3 Joanna van de Winkel 3:10:40
4 Kim le Court 3:10:41
5 Desray Neale Sebregts 3:10:42