21 June 2012
RE: CM 200 another success for team bizhub-FCF
With Gauteng in the grip of winter, three riders from team bizhub-FCF made the trek to Knysna for the RE: CM 200 which took place from the 15th to 17th of June ...
Konica Minolta seek Cycle Challenge Hat-trick
Sunday's Pick n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge marks the final major event on the 2008
South African road cycling calendar and there's nothing more satisfying for a professional
team than heading into the summer break with this prestigious title ticked off on
their season roster.
Team Konica Minolta know this feeling well, having won the men's title for the past
two years and the women's title in 2006. And the team is back in search of 2008
glory with a small, but focussed squad that's highly motivated to try and capture
a rare hat-trick.
"I've been fine-tuning my training specifically for this race and the new finish
suits me really well", said a smiling Herman Fouche, one of Konica Minolta's three
sprinters and the man that won the coveted title in last year. "I've not had my
best season this year, which included a bad crash. But I'm fully recovered and can
feel I'm approaching peak form again."
The event, which has attracted more than 25000 entries, will have a new finish for
the third successive year. Starting in Woodmead, the route takes the riders on a
94.7km loop through the City of Joburg and surrounding northern suburbs, and will
finish with an uphill sprint just near Waterfall Country Estate in Kyalami.
"Last year we finished further along, up a steepish climb, but this the finish a
bit sooner and the climb is not quite as steep, which suits me as I'm not a big
powerful sprinter, but quick on a slight incline works." said Fouche.
Such is Konica Minolta's depth in the sprinter department, that should Fouche falter
on Sunday, there are not one, but two back-up riders capable of capturing the title
in Christoff van Heerden and Adam Blythe.
Van Heerden recently won the Tour of Hong Kong Shanghai and is becoming a formidable
force in bunch sprints, while Blythe, a talented sprinter from England, has been
nibbling at the last couple of big race podiums and could well find himself on top
of one come Sunday. And playing his usual understated support role is Dennis van
Niekerk, not a sprinter but astute and sure to be looking for any opportunistic
situations take advantage of.
"It's one of the big titles to win locally and having missed the Pick n Pay Amashova
due to our commitment to the Tour of Hong Kong Shanghai last month, the guys are
super-motivated," said team boss John Robertson. "We've managed to pull off the
men's race win twice in the past two years so there's no reason we can't do so again."
Fouche expects his main rivals to be Malcolm Lange (MTN Energade) and Hanko Kachelhoffer
(House of Paint). "Hanko is sharp at the moment and of course Malcolm has been winning
a lot lately and it's always difficult to beat a guy like him that has speed and
experience!" said Fouche, adding: "But I'm hungry to defend my title so I'll be
giving my all and hopefully it works out well for the team again."
In the women's race Konica Minolta's podium hope is, Aurelie Halbwachs. After capturing
two bronze medals at last weekend's Continental Championships in Morocco, the Mauritian
champion proved she has very good form. Although she'll be up against the full-strength
squads from MTN, Cycle Lab Supercycling and Proline, she'll be vigilant and looking
to make sure she's in any significant move.