Development rider Costa Seibeb on Sunday won the Nedbank Cycle Challenge in dramatic fashion after just holding the chasing pack off in a climb to the line.
The 20-year-old Seibeb won the 75km race in a time of 1:54:48, to beat Heinrich Kohne by two seconds to the line, while Michael Pretorius came third in 1:54:51.
Jaco Hanekom came fourth in 1:54:52, followed by Tristan de Lange, Jacques Tattersall and Willie van Zyl who all finished in 1:54:53.
After some early breaks by amongst others, Jacques Celliers, Ingram Cuff and Christo Swartz, Seibeb broke away from the peleton going up the Daan Viljoen hills.
Seibeb built up a lead of more than 200m but disaster struck when he got a flat tyre and was hauled in by the pack again. Luckily his FX Fitness team mate Heiko Diehl, caught up and gave him his tyre and Seibeb was soon back in the saddle.
He once again caught up with the leading peleton and shortly before the turnoff to the Western Bypass once again broke away from the pack. This time there was no holding him back as he put his head down and stretched his lead to more than 300m at a stage.
The chasing peleton however gradually closed the gap over the final kilometres and when they reached the final incline to the finish line in front of Windhoek Gymnasium, the pack was closing in fast. Seibeb however just managed to hold them off to win the race by two seconds.
“The race was quite tough. I had a break early in the race when I took the lead but when I got a flat tyre, I was heartbroken and felt like crying. But luckily Heiko Diehl came along and gave me his tyre. I managed to catch the bunch again and then I dropped them and went ahead on my own,” an ecstatic Seibeb said after the race.
“I am very happy to win this race. I dreamt about winning the race last night, so I’m very happy that my dream came true,” he added.
The 18-year-old Vera Adrian won the women’s race in a time of 2:02:25, finishing 33rd overall. Chelna Neethling was the second woman home, more than four minutes behind Adrian, while Irene Steyn came third.
Sunday’s race was the 27th consecutive year that the Nedbank Cycle Challenge had taken place. It also saw a new record of more than 1 560 cyclists participating over three distances, namely 75km, 35km and 20km.
The Nedbank Cycle Challenge was preceded by the Nedbank Mountain Bike Challenge on Saturday which saw a record entry of close to 600 riders competing in 37km and 15km categories.
The 40-year-old veteran mountain bike champion Mannie Heymans won the 37km category in a time of 1:47:40, finishing well ahead of Ian Grassow (1:49:30) and Christo Swartz (1:50:18).
Genevieve Weber won the women’s race in a time of 2:14:19, finishing well ahead of Irene Steyn (2:19:35) and Elanor Grassow (2:19:57).
The Mountain Bike and cycling results can be found at www.racetec.co.za