Success at the Swartberg 100 Gran Fondo: Jaco van Dyk takes the win

by | May 7, 2024 | Team Honeycomb | 0 comments

Nestled amidst the rugged peaks and dust-blown plains of South Africa’s Karoo region lies the tranquil town of Prince Albert, serving as the starting point for the legendary Swartberg 100 Gran Fondo. On Saturday, 27 April, four intrepid riders from Team Honeycomb stood ready to take on the challenge.

Casper Kruger, Jaco Van Dyk, Tristan Nortje, and Marc Prizen tackled the 170km course, facing the unique challenges of South Africa’s only UCI Gravel event and a part of the UCI Series, offering a pristine opportunity for UCI points and qualifying for Worlds.

The race kicked off on a tar section, characterised by a deceivingly flat terrain overshadowed by a massive headwind, creating a sense of negativity in the bunch. Despite the challenging conditions, Matthys Beukes’ determination pushed him ahead as the lone rider willing to brave the wind and take the lead.

As the race progressed, the lead group dwindled down to about 4 or 5 riders upon reaching the foot of the Swartberg Pass, where Jaco and Tristan positioned themselves for the grueling climb. Meanwhile, Marc and Casper assumed the role of protectors, diligently leading the way to the water point, shielding Jaco and Tristan from the relentless pace.

With Marc focusing on conserving energy due to his recent recovery from illness, his teammates took charge, ensuring his well-being and reserving his strength for the upcoming Gravel SA Champs in two weeks’ time.

The race dynamics shifted when Marco Joubert launched an attack on the climb, with Jaco swiftly responding to join him at the front. Marco’s prowess on the downhill sections, honed by his mountain biking skills, briefly created a gap between him and Jaco. However, Jaco’s tenacity and determination propelled him forward, bridging the distance and ultimately out-sprinting Marco to claim victory just before the finish line.

Tristan, demonstrating exemplary teamwork, opted not to chase as his teammate Jaco surged ahead, securing a commendable 4th place. Casper’s consistent effort throughout the race earned him a respectable 6th position, while Marc adhered to his strategic plan of taking it easy after the halfway point, finishing 18th overall.

Stage Results and Finishing Times

  • Jaco van Dyk: 1st place (5:43:01)
  • Tristan Nortje: 4th place (5:49:12)
  • Casper Kruger: 6th place (5:52:59)
  • Marc Pritzen: 18th place (6:03:35)

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