The 35th Dis-Chem Ride for Sight cycle race held at the Boksburg Stadium attracted 2,800 starters, reflecting an enormous 50% increase on the previous year’s entry numbers.

Participants tackled one of three race distances on offer on the day, the 116 km Super Classic presented by Ensure, the 62km DS 24 Challenge and a new 8km fun ride.

Breakthrough win

A strong breakaway of six riders that included Kent Main, Jaco van Dyk, Jared Hay, Christiaan Klopper, Casper Kruger, Bradley Scott and Dirk Nel opened up a near record six-minute advantage on the peloton in the Elite Men’s race.

Main and Scott eventually separated themselves from the other four riders, leaving Honeycomb Bee’s Scott to clinch the honours in a thrilling sprint finish. In doing so, Scott recorded his maiden professional race victory, with Klopper finishing in third place.

Podium clean sweep

The women’s race was dominated by the Sandton/Cycle Nation City team, whose young newcomer Lisa Bone recorded the biggest victory of her career, out-sprinting her highly experienced teammate Jo van de Winkel for the honours from a two-up breakaway.

Team leader and reigning National Women’s Road Champion, Carla Oberholzer, outgunned the peloton to secure a clean sweep of the podium for the Sandton/Cycle Nation City team.

Pedal for a cause

Linsay Engelbrecht, an Edenvale resident and a para triathlete who has represented South Africa at the Commonwealth Games, decided the event should serve a dual purpose, serving as a fundraiser for vision loss and an opportunity to highlight the cause of those experiencing partial sight and blindness.

She managed to enlist 20 sighted volunteers who were prepared to pilot a tandem bicycle with a Visually Impaired Person (VIP) seated at the back. This initiative aimed to bring about a significant transformation in their lives by taking on a 62km road race while competing alongside cyclists with normal vision.

This competition was designed to instil the strength and courage that competitive road cycling can inspire. The race organisers extended their heartfelt thanks to all the volunteer pilots for their patience, time, and unwavering commitment to their VIP tandem partners.

The race organisers also commended all visually-impaired cyclists who participated in the Dis-Chem Ride for Sight. Their determination and courage are truly inspiring, with every participant demonstrating that vision is not just about sight, but about heart and spirit.

Raising awareness for retinal blindness

The race was superbly presented in 30 degree-plus conditions by Retina SA, whose main objective is to restore the gift of sight through fundraising initiatives, raising more than R12m from the previous renewals of the event for their amazing cause.

Henru Hugget won the Orbea Terra Aluminium Gravel Bike valued at R45,000, sponsored by Cycle Lab. The event organisers extended their sincere gratitude to all the cyclists who bought a ticket as all proceeds raised from the donation draw are directed towards Retinal Degeneration Research.

The organisers also extended their heartfelt gratitude to all sponsors and co-sponsors, including Dis-Chem Pharmacies, the Dis-Chem Foundation, Ensure Gold, DS 24, CycleLab, Biogen, Gillette, and Transact for their magnanimous and invaluable support in making this event possible.

A statement by Retina SA expressed deep gratitude to the organising committee and helpers for their tireless efforts in making the Dis-Chem Ride for Sight a resounding success.

Your dedication, hard work, and commitment have been instrumental in orchestrating this event. Each detail was meticulously planned and executed, ensuring a smooth and memorable experience for all participants. Your contributions have not only made this event possible but also created an environment where visually impaired cyclists could shine. Thank you for your invaluable support and for making a difference in the lives of many.”

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