Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finished in the lead group in the CapeArgus cycle tour around the CapePeninsula on Sunday.
The American star made a break inside the last kilometre of the 110km race to create an opening for his Team RadioShack teammate Daryl Impey, a strong sprinter.
In an all-South African podium finish, Impey finished third behind Malcolm Lange and Christoff van Heerden.
With a strong head wind hampering the riders, the winning time was a relatively slow 2hr 39min 55 sec. Armstrong was placed ninth with all the leading riders credited with the same time.
Lange, who won the race for the third time, said Armstrong’s presence “added a lot of stature” to Africa‘s biggest mass participation cycling event, which attracted an entry of 35,000.
But Lange said Armstrong under-estimated the force of the wind at the finish.
“Lance tried to go with a kilometre to go but I don’t think he realised how strong the wind blows down here in the Cape. I think their plan was to make me go early but I waited. With about 150 metres to go I knew I had it.”
Lange’s Medscheme team organised a breakaway just over 30km from the finish as the cyclists entered the climb around the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive.
Armstrong and Impey stayed with the lead bunch of 12 riders through to the finish.
Armstrong’s participation ended a week in Cape Town organised primarily to raise funds for a foundation which encourages sport for under-privileged children.
He said before the race that he wanted to “ride with intent” but to “stay out of trouble” in an event in which Impey was his only teammate.