23 Jul, 2015

Ex-Bok reigns supreme in Jock Classique

The peloton in action during the Jock Classique 2015.
Heidi Dalton. The winner of the women's leg of the Jock Classique 2015.
Willie Smit
Former Springbok cyclist Mark Spencer claimed victory in South Africa’s oldest one-day stage race, the 150 kilometre Bestmed Jock Classique, in Nelspruit on Saturday 18 July. Mark, who is the current national road champion in the 40-44 age group, won two of the three stages with an overall time of 4:28:19.

"I am delighted to be the first amateur to take the win in this iconic Mpumalanga race," said Mark.

Mark said that the one-day version was the perfect fitness test mid-way through the cycling season. “It’s such a great race for us. During winter period there’s not really much on the calendar, so this is a good race to train through the winter for,” said Mark.

The start at Mbombela Stadium had been exceptionally cold but the racing quickly heated it up. On the 42 kilometre opening stage to White River, the field quickly split on the first climb at Heidel Eggs. “About five kilometres before the finish, I put in a bit of an attack and five of us broke away and I was pipped at the post by Gareth Kirsch,” said Mark.

“On the 45 kilometre second stage to Sabie, the field took a cautious approach on the big Spitskop ascent,” said Mark. “I put the hammer down and split the field going up the climb and then just time-trialed to the end.”

With Long Tom Pass looming on the 63 kilometre third stage, Mark said a brisk headwind had splintered his small led group early on. “Over the top I managed to keep rolling and on the downhill I just put my bike in its biggest gear and kept going alone right back to the finish at the stadium,” said Mark.

Having won his national champion’s jersey in Nelspruit in February, Mark was very familiar with the final climb. “It’s nice to test where you are at this time of the year and to see that the legs are still there.”

In the women’s race, 23-year-old Heidi Dalton took her first major national win as an elite cyclist for Team Activate-Demacon in a time of 4:58:56. Heidi’s team went on the attack on the first climb of the day, allowing the Ballito-based rider to launch a successful solo getaway and take the stage by a two-minute margin.

“On the first stage I was away by myself for most of the stage, so that tired me out a bit. The team helped me so much over the last two stages,” said Heidi. Her experienced team captain Lynette Burger claimed stages two and three and helped the youngster to defend her lead.

“I came second in stage two and fourth in the last stage – I’m done!” exclaimed Heidi. “I’m not a pure climber so I knew the Jock was going to be tough for me but I have been working very hard, so I’m really happy with the win,” said Heidi.
Kyle Deeley

Kyle Deeley

Editorial Assistant |