With an almost perfect day in Cape Town, hundreds of enthusiastic cyclists turned up for the opening race of the PCL Summer League series. The Cape Cobra was bound to be an exciting race as most of the riders were out to test their fresh legs after a festive season of relaxation and good eating. Due to the South African Championships being held earlier this year (first week of February), top athletes from around the country came out to gain some valuable racing experience, and to see what sort of form the other cyclists were in. Two new teams to the peloton, Team RSAWEB and Team Brothers Sport, brought a new and interesting dynamic to the race. Both these teams were well represented and resulted in a more distributed load in team strengths.
The Cape Cobra is a well known race and is considered as one of the toughest road races in the Western Cape. The 85km race started at Reddam House School in Constantia and took riders over some of the most challenging climbs along the Cape Peninsula.
Team RSAWEB rider, Carl Pasio, reflects on the race:
A hard tempo was set from the start as many teams tried to get a rider or two off the front of the peloton. It was not long into the race when the first decisive move went off the front. Robert Quinn from Team RSAWEB had initiated this move on Boyes Drive and had got away with riders from Cape Town Market, Team Brothers Sport and Diakin Gu. This move put pressure on teams that were not present in the move, such as GT Maties. Defending Spring League champion Christiaan Kriek (GT Maties) was first to react and set a hard pace in pursuit of closing the break. On summiting Black Hill for the first time, the peloton closed down the breakaway group of Robert Quinn.
With the group all back together, the riders headed towards Kommetjie where they were to tackle the short but steep Slangkop climb. A hard pace was set up the climb by Darren Lill (Cape Town Market) and Edward Greene (Team RSAWEB), and it was not long before the peloton was strung out in a long line and gaps between riders were starting to form. The race wasn’t going to be determined here though, as a long decent allowed riders to rejoin the front riders. A long and gradually climbing road took the riders along Misty Cliffs towards the Cape Peninsula, where many attacks went off the front.
The descent from Smit’s Winkel into Simons Town brought the riders to the bottom of Military Climb – it was here that the race was to be determined. Team RSAWEB timed the lead out to this climb perfectly – I was launched away with riders Darren Lil, Stefan Ihlenfeldt (Cape Town Market) and Oliver Munick (Mr Price GT). The steep concrete path that took the riders to the top created massive gaps in the peloton and left Team Diakin Gu with no riders present in the break away.
The four break away riders, Oliver Munick, Darren Lill , Stefan Ihlenfeldtx and myself worked well together and soon opened up a decisive gap over the chasing peloton. After climbing Black Hill for the second time, the riders descended towards Silvermine, where they would tackle the final 7km assent up Ou Kaapse Weg to the finish line.
At the start of the final climb it was Darren Lill who began to attack, and it was not long before the first victim, Oliver Munick was dropped. This resulted in me being alone to fight the duo of Cape Town Market, and I set a consistent hard tempo to prevent any attacks going off the front. In the final kilometer all three riders rode side by side, and it was in the last 300m that the final sprint began. Stefan Ihlenfeldt took the honors, followed by myself in second, and Darren Lill in third. Team RSAWEB rider, Edward Greene, made a good effort up the final climb to finish in a respectable fourth place.