Viljoen Beats Tissink in Uphill Battle
Pre-race favourite Conrad Viljoen (MecerNMMU) answered all the
questions to emerge as the winner of the tough 90km seventh leg of the
Premier Cycling League in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, 23

A battle-weary Viljoen eventually got the better of Ironman Raynard
Tissink in the final dash to the line after a ding-dong battle over the
closing 25km. Viljoen stopped the clock on 2:32:36.

They were followed home five and ten seconds later respectively by
their team-mates Mark Murray (MecerNMMU) and Welcome Stokwe (Friendly
City Cycles).

Young Weslee Todkil (Toyota-Cycle Lab) finally delivered when it
mattered most to edge out Ronnie Scheffer (MecerNMMU) for a superb
fifth place, a mere 1:45 behind.

Michael O’Halloran (Walmer Club), Antal Meiswinkel (Toyota-Cycle Lab),
Luthando Fatyi (Friendly City Cycles) and Stephen Pugh (Toyota-Cycle
Lab) rounded out the top 10.

After obliterating the field on the final two of seven climbs, Viljoen
and Tissink set about tearing each other apart over the final flat
stretch. It was clear that Tissink wanted to get rid of Viljoen before
the sprint, but the latter responded valiantly to all of his attacks.

“Raynard was awesome today, but I knew I would have the edge in the
sprint,” Viljoen said afterwards. “It was an important race for me and
my team and it was up to the others to take us on – and they did.”

The first serious action came after 20km when Roger Pheiffer (Walmer
Club), Jade Muller (MecerNMMU), Jimmy Baillie (PE
Invitation), Stephen
Pugh (Toyota-Cycle Lab) and Andrew Young (Masters & Ladies)
slipped into a move just before the second big climb, aptly named The

They acted as a springboard for Murray, who attacked as soon as the
peloton hit the climb. Viljoen was quick to follow the move and they
soon caught and passed the breakaways, leaving them out in front with
65km to go and five huge climbs on the horizon.

They climbed the next four climbs side by side, building a maximum
advantage of about one minute at the halfway mark at the Van Stadens
River Mouth resort. They were however slowly being reeled in by the
bunch, which had re-organised itself to some degree.

Tissink, who was happy to sit in the peloton until then, turned up the
wick on the next two climbs and only Stokwe, a former South African
development rider who has been showing glimpses of his former self
recently, was able to stick with him.

At this point the two leaders’ advantage was down to less than 30
seconds and they decided to sit up and wait, setting the scene for a
two against two battle to the finish. Stokwe and Murray were however
severed on the final climb, which left Viljoen
and Tissink
in front.

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