South Africa’s Gustav Basson has converted a handful of top 10 finishes on the European Circuit into first spot… for one day at least!
The 21-year-old Middelburg cyclist won the second day of the two-day Trofee van Oost Vlaanderen U23 event in Belgium at the weekend.
The Home Solutions Anmapa Soenens rider covered the 140 kilometre day-two course in 3hr 11min 42sec for a victory margin of more than a minute.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Basson who was part of Team South Africa at the African Games in Brazzaville, Congo two years ago.
‘It’s been tough going,’ said Basson from Belgium. ‘At the end of last year I borrowed a bike from Jason Oosthuizen to train on because I didn’t have a bike till I got to Belgium.
‘So to keep motivation high and scraping money together was all worthwhile.
‘I owe a lot to Gino Pieters who has helped me here, along with Bart Roosens, Wiebren Plovie and Philip Soenens, all Belgians who had belief in me. And of course my dad, Jaco, girlfriend, Lynette Benson and mentor Hein Badenhorst.’
Victory seemed a long way off after the first day though. ‘I crashed on the uphill sprint,’ he says. ‘But on the second day I was in the breakaway of 19 guys.
Then a group of around 20 rode over to us. With 25km to go myself and another guy attacked over the hill and we got a gap.
‘On the last climb 12km I saw that I had a small gap and I went flat out because I’d rather win it outright if possible rather than to sprint and play cat and mouse and get caught by the peloton.
‘The last 12km were something of a blur.. I just knew I prayed hard,’ he smiled. ‘To see the finish approaching was one of the nicest sights I’ve seen.
‘It’s nice to give something back to everyone who has made it possible for me. Next up is the Tour de la Manche in France, a four day event.’