The Exel team delivered some solid results in Stage 7 of the Tour de Berlin as Hanco Kachelhoffer and Dennis van Niekerk went with a select breakaway group in the final kilometers of the 140 km stage from Neuhaus to Bad Blankenberg.
The duo stuck it out and battled over the steep cobbles with Hanco coming through to take a splendid 9th and Dennis narrowly behind in 13th, just seconds off the Stage winner Miha Svab (Adria MOBIL). Not to be outdone was Reece Swartz and Nolan Hoffman who followed about 2 minutes adrift.
In the Stage 8, the time trial, Exel again delivered a good performance and this on their normal road bikes. The Individual Time Trial over 30km took the riders in and around the town of Themar. Luigi Sestelli (Palazzago) eventually won the stage in a time of 39 min 24 secs with Kai Reus in second.
The boys from Team Exel delivered respectable times with Kachelhoffer riding a time 43 min 34 secs, Van Niekerk 43 min 38 secs and Swartz and Hoffmann, not known for their time trialing ability, clocking times around 45 min.
Kachelhoffer, the SA under 23 time trial champion, was just over a minute slower than the time he set at the Championships earlier in the year. The conditions here were much harder than in Pretoria and also we did not have our time trial bikes, so it was a good result for us to make the Top 30, said Kachelhoffer
In the final stage of the Tour from Bad Blankenburg to Weimar over 140km the bunch was kept pretty much together by the boys from the Rabobank Squad who were intent on keeping the Yellow Jersey on the shoulders of Reus.
There were a few attacks that were launched by the Teams of Palazzago and Asdria MOBIL in an effort to move their riders into Yellow but Team Rabobank closed down every move
The race eventually came down to a bunch finish and was taken by Robert Wagner (Teag Team Köstritzer) with Thomas Fothen (German National Team) in 2nd and Dennis Pohl (Team Wiesenhof U23) in 3rd.
Exel were tucked away in the peloton as the field made their run for the line and Kachelhoffer was the best placed, finishing in 18th spot. The rest of the Team were close by with Dennis in 30th and Hoffmann and Swartz not too far back.
The boys did a superb job, we came here to learn and get the experience and that is exactly what we achieved. From what we learnt here we should be able to have better results if we come back next year, said team manager Conrad Lesch.
The German National Coach was also impressed by the performance of Hanco and Dennis and said that the youngsters did a very good job, especially over the last few days.
I was impressed with Dennis in the mountains over the last few days and with Hanco in the Time Trial. For the guys to get top 30 finishes in a Time Trial with their normal bikes is really good. I think these guys have the potential to be very good cyclists in the future, he added.
The Final General classification
1 Kai Reus (Ned) Rabobank
2 Luigi Sestili (Ita) Palazzago
3 Miha Svab (Slo) KRKA - Adria
28 Dennis Van Niekerk (RSA) Team Exel
57 Hanco Kachelhoffer (RSA) Team Exel
61 Reece Swartz (RSA) Team Exel
72 Nolan Hoffmann (RSA) Team Exel