Sebregts scoops double gold at SA road champs

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Veteran cyclist Desray Sebregts scooped gold medals in the time-trial and road race at the South African national road championships in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, last week.

The Bryanston resident, who races in the colours of Team Bestmed-ASG-Multihull, won both events in the 35 to 39 age group, completing a seven-medal haul by her team.

As captain, Sebregts set the example for her younger teammates, who competed across all categories from under-16 to elite level, taking four silver medals and a bronze between them.

The 36-year-old came out tops in the time-trial, covering two laps of 10.68km in just 32:59, about 1 minute 45 seconds clear of nearest rival Suzan Bowman.

Sebregts then took a hard-fought victory in the 98km road race in a time of 3:09:11, finishing a single second ahead of runner-up Bianca Holtzkampf and third-placed Nicolene Naude.

After pulling at the front of the bunch for the first 40km, Sebregts said she had decided to sit up and not do all the hard work in the peloton.

A few minor breakaway attempts were brought back until the racing finally came alive with a flurry of attacks on the last circuit of the seven-lap course.

“There were numerous attacks on the hills until five of us managed to get away with about one-and-a-half kilometres to go,” she said.

Holtzkampf maintained the pressure and rolled with Sebregts, while the others sat on their wheels, saving their legs for what would be a finishing sprint.

“I started to increase my power leading up to the last corner with Bianca right on my wheel.”

With 300m to go, she said she knew she had to start the finishing sprint but was unsure whether her legs would hold out.

“I gave it my all and Bianca and I were neck and neck. She passed me by a nose with 50 metres to go but I knew I hadn’t come this far and trained this hard to let it go in the last few seconds.

“I dug deep and stomped on those pedals – I could feel my back wheel hopping off the ground – and managed to outsprint her.

“I couldn’t believe it but I was ecstatic! I really felt I worked the most that day in the bunch and that I deserved it, so I’m happy it all came together in the end.”

Finally taking the top step of the podium was a sweet victory for Sebregts, as she finished second in the time-trial and third in the road race last year.

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