16 Nov, 2015

Young gun takes 947


The 18-year old Stefan de Bod could not stop smiling after he won the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge on Sunday, making him the youngest winner in the race's history.

De Bod, part of the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team, said he and his teammates had planned the race down to the very last detail after he and teammate Clint Hendricks had taken the top two places ahead of Daryl Impey of team Orica GreenEDGE.

“We rode the course on Saturday with JP van Zyl, our manager, and we went through every scenario,” said De Bod, who hails from Stellenbosch and was the national junior road race champion last year. “We even marked where I would attack from near the end, and where we would put pressure on the other teams. It was a very good race for us. The first one we planned from the beginning to the end.

“We had the first move go with Jayde Julius, which didn’t get away but set the legs up for the day. Then it was for me to go from, 3km. It wasn’t every man for himself. Everything worked perfectly for us. And racing against Daryl, who many of us look up to and want to be at his level, was great.”

Hendricks has gained a reputation as breakaway man on the South African scene for his penchant of riding away from the bunch on endless attacks. He tried his luck today, but the team had several plans.

“In the last 6km we went up Steyn City and Jacques Janse van Rensburg put the pressure on,” said Hendricks. “We looked at the course yesterday, we decided where we were going to attack and Stefan executed that to perfection. I was there to back him up and maybe grab a podium, and luckily I had the legs to do that.”

Impey, who wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France two years ago, said while he had hoped to win the Cycle Challenge for the first time, he was glad to see that there was such strength in depth in South African cycling.

“It is always nice to ride on SA soil again and mix it up with the SA boys,” said Impey. “I’ve only started training two weeks ago after taking a month off at the end of our season. It was a good finish by the boys. I tried hard to shake them off, but they put in good moves and I had nothing left at the end. We had a good chase at the end and they deserve this.

“You can see the standard is improving year by year, and more of these guys will end up on the big stage.”

Shaun-Nick Bester of Bonitas took fourth, while Julius was fifth for MTN-Qhubeka, in what was the last race for both teams in their current form. “This was the last race for us as an MTN-Qhubeka team, so it was emotional for us to leave the team house in Potchefstroom because we grew together as a family,” said De Bod. JP van Zyl has done so much for us and taught us so much. I’m glad I could end it with a win.”

The official results for the top three were:
Stefan de Bod – 2h15m23s
Clint Hendriks – 2h15m29s
Daryl Impey – 2h15m32s