Nicholas Dougall of MTN-Qhubeka finished safely in the bunch on a slippery final stage to seal the overall victory in the four-day Bestmed Tour de Boland, presented by ASG, on Friday.
Dougall, who holds dual Australian and South African citizenship, won the opening stage, an individual time-trial, to establish a 40-second buffer early on.
The 20-year-old kept the leader’s jersey throughout the team time-trial and road race stages on days two and three to take a 50-second margin into the final day criterium.
Team-mate Till Drobisch stole the show in the crit when he snatched both the points jersey and second place overall with a daring solo breakaway in dangerously wet conditions.
JC Nel dropped down from second to third in the general classification to lock out the podium for the Potchefstroom-based team, which serves as a feeder unit for MTN-Qhubeka’s Pro Continental squad.
Their Ethiopian colleague Estifanos Gebresilassie claimed the king of the mountains jersey following a powerhouse display in the 110km road race, which finished on top of the old Helshoogte pass above Stellenbosch the day before.
Dougall described the tour as “an all-round kind of race” and said the different stages had offered something for every rider, with each course presenting its own challenges.
“As a whole, the team rode really, really well throughout and helped me defend the jersey.”
He said he was relieved to have finished in tact on a stage in which three riders, including ASG’s pre-stage favourite and sprint jersey winner Nolan Hoffman, crashed.
“I was very nervous on the descents today. I’m not overly confident in the wet but I had JC with me through all the corners.”
The former Brisbane resident said he was happy to be back on local soil and racing for the pan-African team.
Nel said their victory in the tour, which visited Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl in the Cape Winelands, certainly boosted their confidence ahead of Sunday’s Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.
“Obviously, winning the Argus would be the ultimate goal but a podium spot would be a good result for us.”
The women’s race was won by An-Li Kachelhoffer of Bestmed ASG, while Chris Jooste took the junior title for RSAWeb.
Stage Four – Elite Men
1. Till Drobisch (MTN-Qhubeka) 42:08
2. Estifanos Gebresilassie (MTN-Qhubeka) 42:50
3. Mohamed A. Ali (MTN WCC Africa) 42:56
Overall – Elite Men
1. Nicholas Dougall (MTN-Qhubeka) 4:06:21
2. Till Drobisch (MTN-Qhubeka) 4:07:08
3. JC Nel (MTN-Qhubeka) 4:07:20
4. Estifanos Gebresilassie (MTN-Qhubeka) 4:08:07
5. Oliver Stapleton-Cotton (Smith & Associates) 4:08:28
6. Alem Grmay Abebe (MTN-Qhubeka) 4:08:33
7. Stefan Ihlenfeldt (ASG Joy) 4:09:05
8. Richard Lazier (MTN WCC Africa) 4:09:13
9. Getachew Yohans (MTN-Qhubeka) 4:10:15
10. Nolan Hoffman (ASG) 4:17:58
Overall – Elite Women
1. An-Li Kachelhoffer (Bestmed ASG) 4:28:30
2. Kendall Ryan (Bestmed ASG) 4:29:45
3. Ashleigh Blackwell (Bestmed ASG) 4:30:45
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Till Drobisch of MTN-Qhubeka wins the final stage of the 2013 Bestmed Tour de Boland in Pniel outside Stellenbosch on Friday. Photographer: apcha