Du Toit wins Lost City Classic
Rising star Leandri du Toit extended the winning streak of the Toyota CSA Academy team to six races in succession when she captured victory at the 115km Powerade Cansa Lost City Classic road cycling race in the North West Province on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Du Toit showed both maturity and strength to claim the honours in the popular race in a time of 03 hours 08 minutes 42 seconds, just edging out Sarah Chemaly (MTN Qhubeka) and Toyota CSA teammate, Lynette Burger, who were second and third respectively.
It’s the biggest win of Du Toit’s short career and it came largely against the odds.
“There were just two of us from Toyota CSA team in the race and our goal was to try and get one of us on the podium. MTN Qhubeka had four riders and there were a few other strong riders from the Mecer Africa Silks team in the mix. Getting first and third was a huge bonus!” said Burger.
After a relatively tame start, the race came alive at the first hotspot, which was won by Team Mecer Africa Silk’s Linda van den Biggelaar; MTN Qhubeka’s Charlotte van der Merwe then attacked and was joined by Du Toit and Van den Biggelaar.
After some aggressive racing by MTN Qhubeka, the lead group eventually swelled to seven, comprising Du Toit and Burger (both Toyota CSA), Cashandra Slingerland (Mecer) and Karien Alberts, An-Li Pretorius, Van der Merwe and Chemaly (all MTN Qhubeka) present.
Chemaly attacked just before the second hotspot at 99km and claimed it. She was joined by Du Toit and the pair held a small gap over the chase group. Chemaly opted not to contribute to the pace setting, but Du Toit was committed and spent the remainder of the race on the front.
The chase group of five began to close the leading pair down as they approached the finish, but they left their charge too late. Du Toit managed to claim the win, just ousting Chemaly in the surge for the line. Burger led the chase pack home, crossing the finish in the same time as the two leaders.
“It was a thrilling finish. I’m amazed that Leandri was strong enough to still take the win after having paced on her own for the last 10 kays. I thought our group might catch them and gave it my all in the sprint. I’m happy to get third, but it needed a photo examination by the officials to work out that Sarah had got second,” said Burger, who won the overall title and two stages at the Clover Lowveld Tour in Mpumalanga, which finished last weekend.
Burger, a former South African and African champion, is hoping her good run of form will continue for next week’s Masters World Road Champs in Pietermaritzburg.
“I took a while to recover from the Clover Lowveld Tour, which was really tough, but should be sharp for the World’s next week. It’s quite a hilly course for both the time trial and the road race and I hope the 3.5kg I’ve shed will pay off. I’m really fired up to do well!” she smiled.