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Gold Reef City Vodacom Race

Impey takes the race for Victory

Despite some near misses in the final kilometers of the Gold Reef City Vodacom Race for Victory, Microsoft's Darryl Impey managed to elude the danger and ran out victorious in a close sprint finish.

The 117 km road race started in near perfect conditions from the Gold Reef City Theme Park and there was a full contingent of pro riders that set off to do battle along the challenging route.

The early part of the race saw some attacks going off the front but some of the Exel team members, namely, Thomas Desvaux, Tuis Sebona, Prince Maluleke, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter were in the front controlling proceedings.

The first threatening move came as the riders entered the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve at approximately 55 km when a select group containing, Daniel Spence, Darryl Impey, Malcolm Lange (all Microsoft), Adrian Maaske, Hanco Kachelhoffer (both Exel), John-Lee Augustyn (Konica/Minolta), Darren Lill (Schwinn), Ryan Cox (Barloworld) and Di-Data's Dennis van Niekerk broke clear from the peloton.

It was a solid move and the escapees soon put some daylight between themselves and the field. Exel's Kachelhoffer showed that he is starting to find some good form as he put down the hammer to win the KOM Prime at approximately 60 km. With the KOM out of the way, the breakaway settled and the riders immediately got back to sharing the workload. By the time the leaders exited the Reserve they were 45 seconds clear of the second group that contained representatives from all the top squads.

Although the effort from the front was good, the second group managed to reel back the front-runners with about 80 km covered. The lead group, of about 30 riders, was keeping a steady tempo but there were also a number of attacks as they made their way towards the finish.

Another decider came as the riders made their way to the start of Butchers Hill, leaving only 15 km to the finish. The Microsoft outfit was setting the tempo but it was the Exel trio of Adrian Maaske, Hanco Kachelhoffer and Rupert Rheeder that were doing the attacking and leaving the rest of the group to chase. The attacks cased a split in the group and some 15 riders went clear.

With only a handful of kilometers remaining the teams were readying their sprinters for the final battle but it would not be without drama as Shaun Davel (Panda) crashed with 4 km to the line. The crash saw some riders' literally coming to a stop and one of the unfortunate riders was Exel sprinter Nolan Hoffman. Hoffman and some other riders did however manage to catch the bunch with only 500 m to the line. But the drama was not over as Jay Thompson (Di-Data) lost his front wheel going into the final bend and he took Lange (Microsoft) and Christoff van Heerden (Hi-Q) with him. The majority of the leaders got caught behind the crash and virtually came to stop.

Meanwhile there were some riders who managed to escape the danger and charged for the line. Microsoft's Darryl Impey had lady luck on his side as he eluded the danger but he also had the quickest legs on the day as he out sprinted Travis Allen (Konica/Minolta) and teammate Jacques Fullard to take a well earned victory.



1 Darryl Impey (Microsoft)               
2 Travis Allen (Konica-Minolta)          
3 Jacques Fullard (Microsoft)            
4 Nolan Hoffman (Exel)                   
5 Dennis van Niekerk (Di-Data)           
6 Peter Velits (Konica-Minolta)          
7 Darren Lill (Schwinn)                  
8 Michael Sowerby (Maties )              
9 Herman Fouche (Konica-Minolta)         
10 John-Lee Augustyn (Konica-Minolta)    

Local results 2006