Giro del Capo, South Africa, March 4-8, 2008

Hi All,

here is the diary of the final three days of the Giro del Capo. Man, it was HOT.

Stage 3 Paarl – Paarl

"So your an Aussie, you must be used to this weather, then" is what I have been hearing from quite a number of people here at the Giro del Capo. The answer generally is "no." When it reads 50 degrees in the car and you are racing a bike, it is hot for everyone, no matter what part of the world you are from. I don't train around Ayers Rock in the middle of the day, so apart from one day at the Tour Down Under a few years ago I have never experienced/raced in heat like this before.

It was a long hot difficult day for the 180 kilometres around Paarl and after getting presented with the team's prize after winning it for stage 2 we were off at pretty quick clip. After the first climb the race split and it took a good chase from Ciarán and myself and a couple of others to get back. Dave had to chase a little longer but finally got back some 20 kilometres before the final climb. On the final climb I just had to pace myself and got over the top with Ciarán and chased on the way down, but still lost three minutes to the front group nevertheless.

Unfortunately, we lost Morgan before the stage after being rather sick, and lost Derek and Martin after the stage. Despite riding all day in the oppressive heat with a couple of lads for company, they missed the time cut by a couple of minutes. Was a long hot day for all. There was a consolation prize for the day with Dave claiming the points jersey for the day and Ciarán hanging onto tenth place in the overall classification.

Stage 4 Stellenbosch (Hellhoogte) – Stellenbosch (Hellhoogte)

Racing in Africa threw another wobbly into the bunch today, when we missed a turn some 40 kilometres into the race. It all started with a dog running across the road in the neutral section as the bunch was doing 70km/h down a hill. Then, after the first intermediate sprint, that we lead out for Dave, Ciarán jumped up the road in a good group and at the time had some 1min30s on the bunch. Once the officials realised what had happened and that the race missed the turn we all promptly turned around, waited for the break to come back to us and grabbed a few drinks. In the meantime the officials made sure that the break had the same riders and numbers of riders in there and took off again with the bunch in pursuit some 1min30s later.

Unfortunately, the break had Robbie Hunter and some other dangers in it, so it was never going to go too far and as we returned to Stellenbosch for the start of the first difficult lap of four up the Hellhoogte, they were maybe two minutes in front. Tried to look after myself and look out for Ciarán and Dave, but with two laps to go we were all feeling a little dusty. All lost a bit of time but still content with the day's racing and how were worked together.

Stage 5 Signal Hill Time Trial

All did what we could up the 5.5-kilometre trip to the top of Signal Hill overlooking Capetown. Good crowd along the way to cheer everyone along which was welcome and a great view to greet everyone once you caught your breath at the top. David George won the TT and Pfannberger from Barloworld won the Giro del Capo.

The Pick and Pay Cape Argus is on tomorrow and whoever finishes the tour gets an entry into the invitational Cape Argus event/race.


Til next time we meet

Cameron Jennings

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Cameron Jennings has been racing for DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed for the past few years. After the team folded Jennings had a tough winter, but managed to bounce back and find a racing home with Irish outfit Pezula Racing for 2008. He will be looking forward to another good year of racing. Jennings will continue to write a diary for Cyclingnews and describe his experiences racing as a professional in all parts of the world. Australia UK USA