Published in March 3 Cycling Weekly
House established a large lead over his rivals as early as the first stage, when he simply followed Czech rider Martin Blaha through a narrow section of winding road near Hartbeestpoortdam outside Pretoria. Due to the frenetic start the peloton decided to settle as this point, allowing House and Blaha a maximum advantage of 7’35”. When asked why the peloton had gifted the Rapha rider with such a large cushion, House answered: “I don’t know.”
Interestingly, although House later dropped Blaha, team manager John Herety instructed the 2009 British road race champion to ride within himself. At one point House was clocked at 40km/h on the long final drags to the final, with 30km remaining; the peloton were riding at 26km/h.
Stage 2 through central Johannesburg was eventually cancelled, with the result of stage 1 carried over to stage 3.
On stage 4, House attacked again on a narrow section of steep twisting road near Wilderness, but Impey responded. On the fifth stage Rapha Condor-Sharp manager John Herety said, "We played a dangerous game today, relying on the South African teams to chase each other but it worked out exactly as we planned."
House did not lose time until the challenging 6th stage.
“I felt nervous before the start of stage 6,” House said, and called the attacks before the penultimate climb “the most dangerous because I had no teammates with me.”
House conceded 31 seconds to the stage winner, South Africa’s national road racing champ, Darren Lill [DCM]. Lill had earlier complimented House saying, “I’ve never seen you climb this well.”
House lost 11 seconds to rival Impey on the final climb, and 13 seconds to Rabie, who leapfrogged Impey for overall second place. The final stage, which House called “tough” culminated in a sprint, and was won by Bernado Riccio. It was the Italian/Japanese Team Nippo’s third stage win in four stages.
House attributed his form to extra weight lost training in Texas during the summer, whilst putting in a larger than usual block of training including what he described as “plenty of intensity.”
House added though that he had traveled to South Africa hoping for a stage win but was not targeting an overall win.
GC Golden Lion – Kristian House (RAPHA Condor-Sharp)
KOM – Daryl Impey (MTN Qhubeka
Best African Rider – Johan Rabie (Team Bonitas)
Samsung Young Rider–Christopher Jennings (Team Verandas Willems-Accent)
Points – Yohann Gene (Team Europcar)
Team Winners – Team Europcar