Devin Shortt (supported by Panda Sportswear) and Danielle Strydom (Swiss Cycles/Polyoak) claimed top honours in the Junior races on the final day of the 2016 South African National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships, which came to a close in hot conditions in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, today.
Also competing were the Masters’ Men who, like the Junior Men, rode seven laps of the 18-kilometre circuit (119km) while the Junior Women raced 85km (five laps).
The Junior Men’s race witnessed a lot of attacks with about 10 of the riders getting away on the first lap. The peloton held back and maintained a maximum gap of about two minutes but when the breakaway group started to splinter, the peloton worked harder to bridge the gap.
For Shortt, this victory is added to two U16 National Championship titles and an U14 race victory. “We picked up the pace and caught the last man from the breakaway with a lap-and-a-half to go and then it was flat out to the finish,” he said. “I attacked with 800 metres to go and managed to take the win.”
Strydom’s race was a slightly different affair with the whole field of 13 women riding at an easy pace for the first four laps. There were a few sprints on the uphills, but nothing to unsettle the pack. On the last lap, the pace was lifted and by the time they reached the first water point, the women were accelerating and starting to race.
“I chased down an attack by Nicolene Marais (BestMed) and managed to break away in the last kilometre, before the second feeding zone, and put the hammer down and won,” said Strydom about her first National Championship victory. “I don't have any words, it feels amazing!”
Fast and furious racing ensued in the Masters’ Men races, with the highly competitive 30-34 and 35-39 age groups starting together at 07:10. Jacques Greef (Token Wheels) claimed his first National Championship win in the 30-34 race while Jaco Ferreira (TCS Energas) won his second title of his career in the 35-39 race.
Greeff, who’s been racing for 17 years, was delighted with his victory. “The guys didn’t want to work a lot until two laps to go. Then on the last lap, Alex Pavlov tried going off the front and I told my guys to be patient. Before the second last turn, two guys went off to chase Pavlov down and I went across to them and saw my teammate Egon Campbell trying to join us so I told the guys I’m waiting for him. When we got to the 500-metre to go mark, I gave it my all and managed to finish it off with the win.”
In the 35-39 race, Ferreira said that racing with the two categories together was always going to be very tactical. “The guys would go out and then come back, and go out and come back, and we just had to check that it was nobody in our age group that got away,” he said. “I felt that I had good legs on the hills and on a lap to go, a few of the 30+ riders went away and the 35+ guys were watching each other. Basically, with a kilometre to go at the top of the hill, I went as hard as I could and I am happy to pull it off. It all came down to the end of the race. I won here two years ago so this course is right up my alley.”
Cycling South Africa President, William Newman, commended Kelvin du Sart (Road Director for KZN Cycling) and Greg Stedman (Chairperson for KZN Cycling) for putting on a great event; as well as KwaZulu-Natal Sport and Recreation, the local municipality and all the volunteers and sponsors for their support in hosting a successful event.
“We’ve come to the end of a very successful 2016 South African National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships. It all started in Wartburg near Pietermaritzburg with a fantastic two days of racing. Then here in Westville we had closed roads, which was so important to have for the safety of our competitors. I’d like to commend KwaZulu-Natal Cycling for organising another top-class event; the racing was of a very high standard and especially the Elite and U23 Men – its been very competitive and the results were dominated by Dimension Data for Qhubeka but they didn't have it all their own way. Leading up to 2016 Rio Olympics it shows that road cycling in South Africa is in a good space and it shows that we are definitely in contention for medals. Well done to all the riders that won medals.”
The Race Organisers would like to thank the Outer West Metro for their brilliant efforts in managing the road closures and for the manner that they assisted in closing the speed fencing and ensuring the safety of all of our competitors in Westville. Thank you to the Westville and surrounding area residents for being so accommodating and supportive over the weekend.
Summary of Results – 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships – Sunday 14 February 2016
Junior Men (119km)
1.Devin Shortt 03:10:35
2.Enno Albertus Swanepoel 03:10:43
3.Damean Oosthuizen 03:10:43
Junior Women (85km)
1.Danielle Strydom 02:56:10
2.Jessica Margaret Brown 02:56:11
3.Nicolene Marais 02:56:17
Masters Men 30-34 (119km)
1.Jacques Greeff 03:02:22
2.Neil Timm 03:02:26
3.Alex Pavlov 03:02:30
Masters Men 35-39 (119km)
1.Jaco Ferreira 03:02:49
2.Julius Cobbett 03:02:55
3.Johan Deysel 03:02:56