31 Mar, 2015

SA champs action


Some national titles were kept, whereas others swapped hands. But one thing is for sure, the 2015 Pennypinchers South African Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships held in Mbombela, Mpumalanga last month wasn’t short of action.

A top quality field gathered at the hot and humid start for the annual six-day event which sees the nation’s best vie for the coveted title of being crowned national Champion.

It was pure gold for Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Jacques Janse van Rensburg who dominated the Elite Men’s Road Race to finish just under two minutes ahead of the chasing bunch.

For Daryl Impey it was a case of being the perennial runner-up and the recent SA Time Trial Champion was a little disappointed by the tactics taken by the peloton. However, he was still satisfied with his second place finish as he looks towards the international season.

It was a first Elite national championship title for Janse van Rensburg but with a debut in the Tour de France later in the year for Team MTN-Qhubeka, he knew the importance of his victory.

“It is such a great feeling to win the elite title!” an elated Janse van Rensburg said, “after Louis (Meintjes) won it last year and with our Tour de France entry we really wanted to keep it amongst the team and I am glad that we managed to do that.”

Runner-up Daryl Impey said: “It was good to get the silver medal today even though I was a little frustrated by the tactics of some of the bigger teams that were part of the bunch.

“There was very little movement in the group and I was hoping that there might be a couple guys who were willing to come with me but no one wanted to put in a chase which was quite disappointing but it was a great ride from Jacques and he deserved it today.”

The Orica-GreenEDGE rider had been in this situation in the past and he worked hard to get himself into a position to win but this year he feels that a number of the younger riders might learn from what happened on the course.

The Under 23 men’s category also resulted in considerable excitement as Jayde Julius managed to hold off Stefan de Bod and a number of other riders to claim the national crown.

The Junior men also took part in their Road Race with Jarrod Hattingh winning the end sprint and with that the junior national title.

Frances du Toit was the strongest of the junior girls as she did the double to go along with her Time Trial victory earlier in the week.

Following her dominant display in the Time Trial, South African women's cycling star Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio produced another quality performance as she pulled away from the rest of the field in the last five kilometres to claim the National Road Race title.

The Bigla Pro Cycling Team star looked comfortable throughout the race as she commanded the lead group but mentioned that she was a little worried towards the end that she might not have enough energy in her legs to get herself across the line.

“For a moment towards the end there I thought that we were going to go down to a sprint finish and I was worried about the intensity in my legs,” the Champion said. “I didn’t think that I was going to drop them and it was only on this last little climb that I really put my head down and just kept going and to come across the line alone was great!”

It was a group of eight riders that got away and kept ahead of the rest of the field and the group managed to hold Moolman-Pasio up until the final couple of kilometres but she put in two surges that broke the back of the field and gave her that breathing space that she needed.

Second place went to An-Li Kachelhoffer of the Activate Drinks Team. The 27-year-old was surprised by her result and was happy that she was able to compete with the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.

“It was a really tough race and we knew that Ashleigh was the girl we were chasing and she was the one who had everything to lose out there so we had to try and make it as hard as possible for her which we did and the team is really happy with our results,” Kachelhoffer explained.

The Veteran Men’s 60-64 age category Road Race was won by Johan Spies, who just pipped Time Trial champion Paul Furbank and Richard Travis to the line.

The Veteran Women 40-44 was also hotly contested with Adele Janse van Vuuren sneaking a victory in their road race ahead of Elise Gianchino and Monica Glover in third.

Devin Shortt produced a dominant ride to claim the under 16 boys’ road race title by 50 seconds with Ricardo Broxham in second and Demarco Pillay in third.

The final day’s action saw a couple veteran’s categories take to the entertaining yet challenging course in Mbombela and with the continued hot weather the riders had to work hard throughout their races.

In the veteran men’s 30-34 category it was a bunch sprint that decided the race and with eight riders fighting it out at the sharp end of the field. Franco Ferreira claimed the national champion’s title ahead of Matthys Koekemoer and Jaco Cronje.

The men’s 35-39 age category was just as early fought out and it was eventually won by Deno van Heerden who snatched the win by a second from Jacques van Staaden in second and Carl Lotter who rounded out the podium places.

Amongst the other veteran men’s races it was Mark Spencer (40-44), Martin van Wyk (45-49), Anton Duvenage (50-54) and Charles Nienaber (55-59) who won the rights to call themselves national champions in their respective age categories.

The ladies veterans also took part in their Road Race with the 30-34 age category being won by Sanet Coetzee and the 35-39 age bracket was won by Desray Sebregts in an end sprint over Bianca Hotlzkampf.

So now the winning riders of each race get to wear South African colours for the year.

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |