The third stage of the 2019 edition of the annual Mpumalanga Cycle Tour started in Swadini near Hoedspruit on Sunday morning.

It saw all categories taking to the road to Blyde River Canyon in Matibidi. This was a final stage for Juniors, Veteran Men and the Open Group in the event.

After surviving the scorching heat in Stage Two on Saturday, the cyclists had to tackle a 90.3 kilometres distance in Stage Three. They were riding through Blyde River Wilderness and Ndlovumzi Nature Reserve.

On their way, they were enjoying some beautiful scenery, with mountains and vegetation along the Abel Erasmus Pass. Damon Fouchee and Travis Stedman were keen to hold on to their respective jerseys.

After negotiating the Abel Erasmus Pass, these riders had to tackle this last stretch and climb on their way to the finishing line at the Blyde Canyon in Matibidi.

There was no stopping the two friends from claiming the highest honours in the Juniors category.

“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I think I went too hard in the first stage. I teamed up with Travis Stedman. The two of us worked well together and he also helped me to survive to the end,” says Damon Fouchee, Juniors winner.

“We used to be in one team last year and we’re still together, working with each other this year. It’s been a great friendship with him and other few guys. I’ve learned that there were a lot stronger riders than last year,” says Travis Stedman, Juniors runner-up.

The tour has produced a number of stars who are doing well in global stage.

“If you look at the Juniors for the past three days where it was extremely hot, I believe they are coming well. Damon Fouchee is the overall winner, with Travis Stedman in second place. They have a long future in front of them as long as we take care of them,” says Hendrik Wagener, Mpumalanga Cycle Tour Organiser.

“We keep on changing the routes. I think it was very tough for the riders. It looks good for the DCSR, the main organiser. We are very proud to be associated with this event,” says Heidi Halgryn, organiser.

Travis Barrett of Office-Guru took the honours for winning Stage Three in the elite men.

Stage Four, which will only feature the elite men, will be a 148-point-3km ride from Matibidi to Mbombela Stadium from half past eight Monday morning.

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