Australian sprinter Malcolm Rudolph pushed a big gear into a brisk headwind to claim the time-trial stage on day three of the Bestmed Tour de Boland, presented by Pinarello, on Wednesday.
Rudolph, riding in the colours of Drapac, blitzed into the finish at Tulbagh to take the 30km stage from Ceres in a time of 37:17, as the lead changed hands for the third consecutive day.
Bonitas’s JC Nel clocked the second fastest time of the day (38:08), with Peter Koning rounding out the podium for Drapac (38:20).
Rudolph’s teammate and stage two winner Dylan Girdlestone finished just outside the top three, relinquishing the yellow jersey to Nel in the process.
The Bonitas all-rounder now leads the general classification with a combined time of 6:47:52. Girdlestone (6:47:57) and teammate Peter Koning (6:48:02) are second and third respectively.
Nel said the blustery conditions had been a major factor but he was delighted to reclaim the yellow jersey for his team after Herman Fouché opened their tally on stage one.
“I was our designated guy to lead the tour after the time-trial stage, so I’m glad I was able to pull it off,” said Nel.
“The team has done a superb job of looking after me for the whole tour and keeping me fresh for the time-trial, so I’m happy that I could give it back and deliver for them.”
The 23-year-old Johannesburg resident said the stage was now set for a closely contested tour.
“It’s going to be a great race to watch and I think it’s going to be a great fight all the way to Paarl.”
According to Brisbane native Rudolph, the race was far from over.
“We got beaten on the first stage so we were a bit disappointed with that. But with Dylan winning yesterday and now my win today, we’re still pretty close on GC.
“If we can have a good ride tomorrow, we can really set it up to take back the yellow again.”
In the women’s race, Ariane Kleinhans of RECM finished second in the time-trial to maintain her grip on the yellow jersey in 7:51:11.
Time Freight E’s Lise Olivier (7:55:51) is currently in the overall runner-up spot with Namibian road champion Vera Adrian (8:01:21) of Bestmed-ASG-Multihull third.
Rank outsider Alexis Barnes of the British-based PMR@Toachim House team took a surprise stage win in 47:13. Kleinhans was 11 seconds back with Adrian (48:37) third.
Abantu’s Nolan Hoffman leads the Compendium Insurance points classification and MTN-Qhubeka’s Tesfom Okubamariam the Aramex king of the mountains competition.
On Thursday, riders take on the 138km fourth stage from Tulbagh to Riebeek Kasteel – the longest of the tour – before finishing high above Paarl at the Taal Monument on Friday.
Elite men – Stage three
1. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac) 37:17
2. JC Nel (Bonitas) 38:08
3. Peter Koning (Drapac) 38:20
4. Dylan Girdlestone (Drapac) 38:27
5. Gustav Basson (MTN-Qhubeka) 38:30
6. Carl Pasio (Giant) 38:41
7. Rohan du Plooy (Lights by Linea) 38:51
8. Ryan Gibbons (Europcar SA) 39:04
9. Darren Lill (MIB) 39:05
10. Nico Bell (Aramex) 39:15
Elite men – Overall
1. JC Nel (Bonitas) 6:47:52
2. Dylan Girdlestone (Drapac) 6:47:57
3. Peter Koning (Drapac) 6:48:02
4. Gustav Basson (MTN-Qhubeka) 6:48:13
5. Carl Pasio (Giant) 6:48:31
6. Darren Lill (MIB) 6:48:55
7. Stefan de Bod (MTN-Qhubeka) 6:49:05
8. Nico Bell (Aramex) 6:49:05
9. HB Kruger (Abantu) 6:49:14
10. Morne van Niekerk (Abantu) 6:49:16
Elite women – Stage three
1. Alexis Barnes (PMR@Toachim House) 47:13
2. Ariane Kleinhans (RECM) 47:44
3. Vera Adrian (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 48:37
4. Maroesjka Matthee (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 49:04
5. Michelle Benson (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 50:28
6. Bianca Holtzkampf 50:47
7. Lara Lyness 50:54
8. Monica Glover 51:01
9. Candice Neethling (Freewheel Cycology) 51:01
10. Lise Olivier (Time Freight E) 52:22
Elite women – Overall
1. Ariane Kleinhans (RECM) 7:51:11
2. Lise Olivier (Time Freight E) 7:55:51
3. Vera Adrian (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 8:01:21
4. Candice Neethling 8:02:18
5. Maroesjka Matthee (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 8:05:38
6. Lara Lyness 8:07:31
7. Desray Sebregts (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 8:15:26
8. Michelle Benson (Bestmed-ASG-Multihull) 8:17:09
9. Zanele Tshoko (Rand Water) 8:22:54
10. Desiree Strydom 8:31:00