Ashleigh Moolman (Momentum Toyota) improved on her second-place 2011 Cape Argus finish of last year by claiming victory on the Elite Ladies category on Sunday morning, narrowly beating Catherine Williamson (bizhub-fcf) and Lynette Botha (Momentum Toyota). Photo: Supplied

In a conclusion that marred the event for many cyclists, the elite women’s finish in the 2012 Cape Argus race was won by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, with English cyclist Catherine Williamson picked up silver ahead of Cycling SA U23 manager, Lynette Burger, who finished third.

Moolman said it was a great day in Cape Town for a race. “It was challenging to ride in the big bunch with the men but toward the end I managed to slip out of the bunch without any problems. I’m really grateful for the win, but I do feel bad for all the riders who crashed so close to the finish line, especially my teammates.”

More than 20 cyclists involving women’s title contenders were involved in a crash 300m ahead of the 111-km race’s finish line, including 2011 defending champion Cherise Taylor and Robyn de Groot.

Cherise Taylor won the 2011 event ahead of Moolman Pasio, Williamson and Burger – exactly the line-up that took to the podium this morning in Cape Town.

Cyclists taken to hospital included Taylor, who signalled the all-ok on twitter later despite having to wear a neck-brace.

Popular 5fm DJ Fresh on his Instagram account: “Medals in hand at the finish line with @poppyismyname” with Poppy Ntshongwana after completing her second Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. Meanwhile, many celebrities took to the popular event in the mother city, including sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, DA leader Helen Zille and 2011 gsport Style Star finalist, Poppy Ntshongwana, who completed her second Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour to great acclaim.

Speaking to gsport, Poppy said: “This year’s Argus was incredibly different to last year’s. I felt fitter and stronger this time. I cycled a better time, and I had that motivating me the whole way through.

“So, I’m glad I achieved my goal for this year’s race. I’m definitely going to do next year’s race, and I’ll pray for better weather next year.”

Poppy’s 5FM colleague, DJ Fresh tweeted: “Proud of my girl Poppy, not once getting off her bike.” Investec SA hockey star, Sanani Mangisa, tweeted: “Big up lady! Nice one on the Argus finish and time.

David Bellairs, Marketing and Sponsorship Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, says the medical teams looked at approximately 1 000 people during the course of the day.

“The good weather and large starting group made riders push harder in order to get faster times,” said Bellairs.

“We had about 100 incidents referred to hospital by 4pm, of which 29 cases were considered high-priority. We were also very strict about enforcing our cut-offs due to the high temperatures to avoid unnecessary medical incidents.”

An estimated 32 500 cyclists took off from Hertzog Boulevard early on Sunday morning in what could only be described as perfect riding conditions. Bellairs comments: “The wind died down at about 4am on Sunday morning, leaving cyclists with clear skies and mild conditions.

“However, temperatures really picked up toward midday and we had to dispatch additional water, Powerade and Coke supplies to refreshment stations along the route. Overall it was a great day for cycling, and a big thank you must go to all the spectators who played a huge part in encouraging cyclists to go the distance.”