The Mac Steel Carnival Classic on Sunday 25 February 2007, provided fantastic aggressive racing. It was the Konica-Minolta ladies’ team who once again dominated the podium positions with a 2nd and 3rd place behind the winner Marissa van der Merwe (Proline Computers). The turn-up for the event was lower than the previous weekend, but still a fairly large bunch of ladies made the start line. The Konica-Minolta team had only 3 starters on the line as Yolandi du Toit did not race due to picking up Bronchitis during their 4-day training camp in Claren’s. From the start the racing was very hard and the girls picked up where they left off the previous weekend, as the race saw attack after attack in an effort to split the bunch.
Konica-Minolta, for the duration of the race, were either attacking or going in the moves and this made things very difficult for the rest of the teams. The first real split came at the first hotspot, at the 45km mark, when a small bunch of girls got away during the uphill sprint and Konica-Minolta’s Ronel van Wyk, Cherise Taylor and Arien Torsius all made the split. This move was however quickly closed down by a chasing bunch. The racing remained aggressive till the second hotspot at 85km when another split was forced by the sprint - again on an uphill drag. Ronel and Cherise made this split but not soon after a chasing group, that included Arien, rejoined the leading bunch.
Cherise made a telling move when she and Marissa van der Merwe (Proline Computers) got away from the bunch with 8km to go but the bunch was in no mood to let anyone get a lead and closed it down 3km later. Proline Computers kept attacking the bunch in the final kilometres to set up the sprint for their team-captain, but Konica-Minolta controlled all the attacks and as the finish approached it was van der Merwe who claimed the win ahead of Ronel in 2nd with Cherise in 3rd. The men’s race was just as aggressive with attack after attack but the relative flat route provided no real platform for a break-away, and all came down to a big bunch sprint at the finish. The Konica-Minolta Men’s team controlled the race the last 15 kilometres. However the team’s lead out did not go completely according to plan. Herman Fouche finished 6th in the men’s elite race. The team’s next race will be the Tour de Soweto on 4 March 2007 before the men’s team will fly down to Cape Town to defend their Giro del Capo title they won a year ago.
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