BRONZE MEDAL FOR ASHLEIGH
The 20th Commonwealth Games ended on a high for cycling, and for Team South Africa, when the final women’s road cycling event yielded a hard-earned bronze medal from Ashleigh Pasio in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday 3 August.
In an epic display of guts and determination, Pasio (28) claimed her medal by mere millimetres after 98km of racing. The route was broken down into 7 laps of a 14km loop on an extremely tight and technical circuit in Glasgow. The third-place bronze medal position was decided by a photo finish, where Pasio’s lunge for the finish line edged out Australian Tiffany Cromwell. Lizzie Armitstead (ENG) and Emma Pooley (ENG) claimed the gold and silver medals respectively.
The only other South African rider to cross the finish line was An-Li Kachelhoffer (26), who finished in 23rd place, 12:17 off the pace. Heidi Dalton (19), Anriette Schoeman (36), Lise Olivier (31) and Cherise Stander (24) did not finish the race.
Further to her excitement, Pasio was the flag-bearer for Team South Africa in the closing ceremony later that evening.
Three days earlier, Pasio and Dalton competed in the Time Trial. Although this wasn’t their primary focus, South Africa had representation and Pasio finished 15th in a time of 45:58.07, while Dalton finished 20th in a time of 48:22.03.
ROAD CYCLING – WOMEN’S ROAD RACE
1 Lizzie Armitstead (ENG) 02:38:43
2 Emma Pooley (ENG) 02:39:08
3 Ashleigh Pasio (RSA) 02:39:54
ROAD CYCLING – INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL WOMEN
1 L Villumsen (NZL) 42:25.46
2 Emma Pooley (ENG) 42:31.49
3 K Garfoot (AUS) 43:13.91
15 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) 45:58.07
20 Heidi Dalton (RSA) 48:22.03
TEAM PURSUIT NEW NATONAL RECORD ON THE TRACK
Team South Africa’s cyclists got proceedings underway in the track cycling discipline at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the impressive Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday 24 July.
The men’s 4000m Team Pursuit saw Evan Carstens (23), Kellan Gouveris (20), Nolan Hoffman (29) and Theuns van der Bank (29) finish fifth in the rankings in a time of 4:18.194, setting a new national record on the boards.
Van der Bank, Morne van Niekerk (18) and Oupa Maluleke (23) raced the qualifiers of the Individual Pursuit (4000m). None qualified as they finished 13th, 14th and 15th respectively but all recorded personal bests of 4min 40.041, 4:44.415 and 4:48.368.
A day prior to the competition, track coach Dean Edwards, himself a competitor for Team SA at the last Games in New Delhi in India, had told Mark Etheridge of Road to Rio that the team was hoping to break the national record in the Team Pursuit, which was achieved.
Read the full story on http://www.sascoc.co.za/2014/07/23/track-aces-race-into-action-at-sir-chris-hoy-velodrome/
London 2012 Olympian, Bernard Esterhuizen (21), finished 6th in the Men’s 1000m TT on Saturday 28 July, posting a time of 1:02:414. In the sprint event Esterhuizen missed out on qualifying for the next round but rode a good keirin to progress to the semi final eventually finishing in a credible 8th position. His international race experience, where he receives the necessary support from the SASCOC Opex programme in a top-level environment, assisted him in delivering solid results.
The endurance riders had a torrid time in the Points and Scratch races. Hoffman and Gouveris progressed to the final of the Points race, with only Hoffman progressing to the final of the 20km Scratch race. The high pace and intensity of the races took its toll and neither finished.
TRACK CYCLING – MEN’S 1000m TIME TRIAL
1 S Sunderland (NZL) 1:00.675
2 S van Velthooven (NZL) 1:01:060
3 M Archibald (NZL) 1:01.162
6 Bernard Esterhuizen (RSA) 1:02:414
BUYS AND STRAUSS DIG DEEP IN CATHKIN BRAES PARK
Mountain biker’s Mariske Strauss (23) and Philip Buys (25) took to the 5.5km circuit at the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails on Tuesday 29 July. Team manager Brett Coates described the track as “not very technical, nowhere near as technical as the Cascades course in Pietermaritzburg and used for a previous World Championships”. Yet it required consistency and concentration from the competitors throughout each lap.
Ranked fourth on the start line, Strauss looked in strong contention for a medal position in the 6-lap race, but a big crash in practice resulted in her feeling stiff and sore for race day. She bravely fought back from an 11th position to finish in 10th place. Catharine Pendrel (CAN) claimed gold while Emily Batty (CAN) claimed a silver medal.
London 2012 Olympian, Buys, led the way in the start loop but slipped back to 7th after the end of lap 1, and finished his 7 laps in 13th place. New Zealand young guns Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze claimed the gold and silver medals while Daniel McConnell claimed bronze.
“In the beginning I was feeling good and was comfortable in front but we weren’t going fast,” Buys told the SASCOC website. “I wanted to settle in at around the second or third wheel and wanted to lead in the technical bit in the forest. The Kiwi guys went into the lead midway through the first lap and things just got too fast from there.”
Read the full story on http://www.sascoc.co.za/2014/07/29/uphill-mtb-battle-for-strauss-and-buys/
MOUNTAIN BIKE – XCO MEN
1 Anton Cooper (NZL) 01:38:26
2 Sam Gaze (NZL) 01:38:29
3 Daniel McConnell (AUS) 01:38:36
13 Philip Buys (RSA) 01:48:34
MOUNTAIN BIKE – XCO WOMEN
1 Catharine Pendrel (CAN) 01:39:29
2 Emily Batty (CAN) 01:40:39
3 Rebecca Henderson (AUS) 01:40:51
10 Mariske Strauss (RSA) 01:47:17
Cycling South Africa’s President, William Newman, said: “Although we fell short of our medal expectations we know our team performed to the best of their ability and we have to continue to support them. Ashleigh turned in a great performance to bring in our solitary medal. We have to assess our current situation and make the necessary adjustments to give our riders the best chances of qualification and success at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The road ahead is not easy but with hard work, dedication and support from all, our riders will succeed. The Ladies Road team has shown the way and we will provide extra support to them to realise their full potential.”
Photos: Copyright pictures by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA