The 34th Dis-Chem Ride for Sight cycle race saw cyclists take to the road in near-perfect weather conditions at Boksburg City Stadium on Sunday 19 February.

The road race, a seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2024 and the 2023 Virgin Active, Ride Joburg 947, attracted a sizable field of loyal supporters, with almost 2700 riders taking part.

As one of the country’s most iconic single-day bike races, this was another superbly presented race with very few issues.

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Community support and social upliftment

The Dis-Chem Ride for Sight, is proudly sponsored by Dis-Chem Pharmacies, and supports Retina South Africa as the event beneficiary.

All proceeds raised go towards funding research and upliftment projects in the fight against retinal blindness.

The Dis-Chem Foundation pledged to match all donations made by participants over and above their entry fee, which resulted in a special donation amount of R36,480 being made.

Over the last 34 years, the event has raised well over R10m and ensured South African patients will have access to emerging treatments.

To improve road conditions for riders and leave a lasting impact on the local community, event organisers repaired numerous potholes the 116km and 62km routes. In total, the event organisers used 5.5 tons of asphalt to repair potholes on both routes.

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Bunch sprint decides men’s road race

The men’s race was dominated almost throughout the tough 116km course by the spirited early and long prevailing three-rider breakaway of Rohan du Plooy, Casper Kruger and Josh Dike.

However, the eventual winner emerged from a bunch sprint after the breakaway trio got reeled in inside the final few kilometres.

This presented the ideal opportunity to the defending champion, Josh van Wyk, a renowned international track specialist, multiple SA champion, and the record holder of the 124-year-old Paarl Boxing Day 25 Miler to convincingly outgun the field in the dash for the cash.

The second wheel in the all-new straight high-speed finish run in, was the talented junior Emile van Niekerk. Third place went to the once retired 35-year-old Boksburg resident and the 2014 race winner, Herman Fouche.

Van Wyk’s victory is particularly remarkable because the event was his first race back after a serious velodrome crash last year, which left him side-lined for several months.

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Upset in the women’s road race

The women’s race featured a small field content to leave the outcome to a sprint finish, which delivered a surprise result.

Race favourite, past winner, former world championships medallist and silver medallist at the recent SA Championships, Cherise Williett, surprisingly lost out on a podium spot after a superb sprint effort from last year’s runner up, Lize-Ann Louw, with Sannara Grove and Ricci-Lee Brookestone filling the remaining podium steps.

All the categories were hotly contested with many bunch finishes throughout the morning. Neil Crosthwaite, the 1986 SA Professional Champion, scored a popular victory in the 50-plus Masters category when recalling his exceptional sprinting skills of old.

Race report by Johnny Koen