"As if the touring Aussie cricketers are not enough, along comes a cyclist from Down Under to rub salt into the wounded South African sports psyche.
Australian Allan Davis, riding for the Italian Mapei-Quick Step outfit, celebrated his first victory as a professional when he outsprinted the bunch in the first stage of the Pick 'n Pay Argus Giro del Capo in Durbanville on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old claimed the tour leader's pink jersey with his win over the 90km circular route in intense heat and could prove to be a tough nut to crack in the remaining four stages which take in monumental climbs in the Boland mountains between Wednesday and Saturday.
"It was very tough out there today," said Davis whose team dominated the pace up front of the 110-pack. "I joined the squad six months ago and was only told a week ago that I had to replace Frederik Willems (of Germany). So things have been a bit of a rush."
Events piled up on young Davis in quick succession to the extent that the team arrived from Italy late on Monday afternoon after an 11 hour flight.
"We were jet-lagged and hanging in over the first half of the course. It felt like I was pedalling square, so I was surprised to get the win."
Davis forged ahead with 300m to go and held out on the uphill against Germany's Enrico Poitschke (Wiesenhof Liepzig) and South Africa's sprint ace Malcolm Lange (HSBC).
"Before the start I checked the finish out and saw that it was an uphill gradient which suited me. I reckoned that if the bunch was together, I'd have a chance, so I marked my spot when I'd have a go and it worked," said Davis, who left school near Brisbane aged 15 to become a pro rider in Europe.
"It was either that or build houses with my uncle who's in the construction business," he grinned as he handed his winner's bouquet to a pretty girl in the crowd.
Lange didn't have the edge to get ahead on the uphill finish.
"The sprint favoured power as opposed to speed," said Lange who is priming himself for victory in the one-day Argus classic on Sunday. "But we were all nervous out there, feeling one another out on the first stage. It's going to be a very interesting Tour because this is probably the strongest field ever in the (11-year) history of the Giro."
There was only one breakaway during the stage when Kosie Loubser (Espress Bar Panda), Iron Man triathlete Jan van Rooyen (Velo CC) and Adrian Maaske (Astrolabe/Omega) had a go after 8km.
They worked well through the rolling countryside, gaining a three minute lead on the bunch by 30km. Loubser co-ordinated the working routine among the three approaching the leg-aching climb to the Vissershok Heinz King of the Mountain prime, but disaster awaited the gutsy professional from Pretoria.
Something was drastically wrong when he conceded the mountain climb hot spot to the less-experience Maaske. he surged ahead on the descent, then suddenly went white in the face and threw up on the side of the road as the bunch sped past him.
"I had to withdraw after that," said a bitterly disappointed Loubser. "I picked up tick-bite fever and only overcame it two weeks ago. I thought I'd got over it. I felt good at the start of the race, but it caught up with me. My body just refused to go on."
The Giro challenge gets underway in earnest on Wednesday when the riders face an eight lap course outside Stellenbosch that takes in the slow poison of the winding Hellshoogte climb from 100m to 400m altitude.
The field is certain to stretch out and snap with every lap up the mountain and it is here that Davis, who is more a climber than a sprint finisher, will face his first major test at defending his jersey."