23 Jul, 2015

Willie Smit claims Jock Cycle Tour victory!

Willie Smit claimed the yellow jersey after stage one of the Bestmed Jock Cycle Tour.
Willie Smit raises his hands as he retains the yellow jersey and claims the overall win!
Willie Smit in action on day one of the inaugural Bestmed Jock Cycle Tour.
Willie Smit being interviewed after stage two of the Bestmed Jock Cycle Tour.

Team Europecar South Africa cyclist Willie Smit claimed overall victory at the inaugural Bestmed Jock Cycle Tour on 19 July. He claimed victory over his fellow Nelspruiter, mountain biker Nico Bell, of Team RECM.

The tour consisted of three stages, covering a total distance of 298 kilometres. Willie finished the tour in an overall time of 8:52:45 and claimed a narrow 1:06 lead over rival Nico Bell.

“I have been focused on getting ready for this tour. It is a new tour and it features some tough routes in the area which I live. I had hoped for a strong time trial in which I succeeded in gaining the lead. My team, Europecar South Africa, was superb in controlling the following stages to assist me in the overall win,” said Willie.

Stage one was an individual time trial that covered 26 kilometres from Nelspruit to Kaapsehoop. This individual time trial was mostly uphill, boasting a huge challenge to all riders. The time trial was won by Willie Smit.

“I decided on a tactic in the hilly time trial, to do a bike swap half way through. I moved from the aerodynamic time trial bike to my normal Colnago road bike. I may have lost a few seconds but I feel that I made up for it on the flatter sections, allowing me to push through for the win ahead of my rivals,” said Willie.

Stage two was a 140 kilometre, hilly stretch, from Mbombela Stadium, up to White River and then over Long Tom Pass and back to Nelspruit. The aggression on stage two was minimal, and mountain biker Pieter Seyffert went away alone.

Team Europecar South Africa was able to control the speed of the bunch and the escape, carrying Willie close to the end. Ryan Gibbons of Team Europecar South Africa managed to win the second stage with a powerful sprint finish with Herman Fouche of Team Bonitas Professional Cycling. Willie rode strongly to round up the podium on the day.

The final stage was one that everyone feared. This stage was the traditional Jock route from Nelspruit, over Boulder’s Climb, to Kaapmuiden, then Barberton and back to Nelspruit up the Hill Top climb, covering a total distance of 132 kilometres.

Once again it was Team Europecar South Africa which controlled the race by sending Ryan Gibbons in an early move with Clint Hendriks from MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team. This gave Ryan the chance to secure the points competition by claiming hotspot points along the route.

This escape was short lived as they regrouped over Boulder’s. After the descent, Herman Fouche of Team Bonitas Professional Cycling and Clint Hendriks of the MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team escaped, forcing Team Europecar South Africa to chase.

The final hurdle of the day was the Hill Top Climb where the explosion came. Stefan de Bod from MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team, forced the tempo up the climb. Shedding all but the current yellow jersey rider, Willie Smit.

The duo sped down to the end and Willie claimed the sprint from Stefan de Bod. Stefan did not win by enough of a gap to improve his overall position, but he did show he was the best U23 cyclist and rounded up the overall podium behind Nico Bell and Willie Smit.
Kyle Deeley

Kyle Deeley

Editorial Assistant |