The Elite Ladies started the fifth Pick ‘n Pay OFM Super Classic 110km race in Bloemfontein with the U16 Boys, but disaster struck within 3 kilometres of the start, when seven cyclists went down in a hard crash.
Proline Computers’ Marissa van der Merwe and Engela Conradie went down hard. Conradie, who is still recovering from a crash in the Vodacom Race for Victory, could not continue, but Van der Merwe managed to rejoin the bunch 15km later.
Konica/Minolta and Proline Computers launched their first serious attack 31km into the race, when Van der Merwe, closely followed by Cherise Taylor and Anriette Schoeman, attacked.
Many of the riders were unable to keep up, and were left behind, feeding encouragement to Schoeman, who attacked again 34km into the race against a steep climb in the city, with only the top 10 surviving.
Next up by Van der Merwe (Proline Computers) broke away from the bunch with Schoeman (Proline Computers), and Taylor (Konica Minolta) closed up to follow suit, but the top 10 were back together again 40km into the race.
Van der Merwe and Yolandi du Toit (Konica Minolta) attacked again 51km into the race with two of the U16 boys, but they were caught up again by the bunch a further two kilometres later.
The next significant attack was launched 87km into the race, when Schoeman broke with Taylor right on her wheel. Van der Merwe followed this up, and attacked again to open a 20-second time-gap, but Du Toit and Taylor responded, and the gap was closed 89km into the race.
With 10km to go the and average speed of the breakaway group at 36.9km/h, it was clear that the winner would be determined by a sprint finish, with Du Toit, Schoeman, Robyn de Groot, Ilse Bole, Taylor, Louise Murphy, Marissa van der Merwe and Carla van der Merwe making up the leading group.
Schoeman was the first rider into the sharp right-hand turn followed by Taylor with Burger somewhat to her right, when Van der Merwe took the inside gap for a clear lead which she managed to maintain, while Taylor kicked to pass Schoeman with 150m to go.
2. Cherise Taylor (03:03:33)
3. Lynette Burger (03:03:33)
4. Louise Murphy (03:03:34)
5. Anriette Schoeman (03:03:33)
6. Robyn de Groot (03:03:34)
7. Ilse Bole (03:03:36)
8. Laetitia Botha (03:06:58)
9. Carmen Claasen (03:07:07)
10. Lizette Nortje (03:07:28)