Pietermaritzburg – The second day of the Confederation of African Cycling African Road Championships dawned just as swelteringly hot as day one with the two junior divisions taking to the 24km Time Trial course and it was the South African riders who claimed the spoils in both the Junior Men’s and Junior Women’s races.
With two recently crowned national Time Trial champions representing South Africa they were going to go into the competition as favourites and they showed their class as well as their ability to adapt to conditions as Frances du Toit and Greg de Vink added a continental title to their growing lists of achievements.
De Vink went into the race with subdued expectations following a tough Team Time Trial on Monday and the 17-year old rider was glad that he was able to cross the line in the shortest amount of time and conclude what has been a busy couple of weeks.
“I came into today not expecting to win so it is a really great surprise,” he said. “I came off a gold at the South African Champs and then a win yesterday in the team time trial so I was feeling good today and was just really happy that I got the win even though I didn’t really think that I was going to come out on top.”
The Junior men’s podium was separated by just over a minute with second place going to Islam Mansouri from Algeria and the bronze medal being awarded to El Mehdi Chokri of Morocco however in the searing heat De Vink was happy that his Time Trial specific preparation paid off.
“It was really hot out there on the course but I have been riding in this heat for a while and with my focus being more geared towards the time trial at the moment I think that helped me today.
“I am giving the road race a skip later in the week so I could go flat out today and so to take two continental gold medals home with me is great!
“I am just really happy that I won and it was great to represent my county in an international event,” De Vink beamed.
In the Junior Women’s category it was a little more one-sided as local girl Frances du Toit continued her brilliant run of form on the bike as she also did the double claiming the Individual Time Trial gold to go with her Team Time Trial win a day prior.
“I have been riding well recently so I went into today with confidence but I was also pretty nervous because I really didn’t know what the rest of Africa had to offer!
“The course was really tough and the heat did not help us out although I did go off second so it was slightly cooler this morning then it was when some of the other girls went off,” Du Toit mentioned.
With Du Toit leaving second out of the ladies it meant that she was going to have to sit and wait for a while as the other girls came in to the finish and with the early start she was unable to judge how she did when she finished.
“Going off second made it a little tricky for me because I passed the girl in front of me so I had nothing to go on in terms of time so I just had to sit tight and wait for the others to come in – which was nerve wracking!
“At nationals last week I went off last so I knew what I needed to do to win and how to pace my ride but today was different but there was a sense of relief when the last girl finished and I knew that I had won,” an elated Du Toit declared.
he rest of the Junior Women’s podium was made up of Lynette Benson from South African in second and Zimbawean Skye Davidson in third.
The Wednesday schedule at the African Continental Road Championships will commence with the individual time trials for the Elite Men and Women starting at 09:30am.
The African Continental Road Champs will be streamed live on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 February (09:30-12:30) and Saturday 14 February from 09:30 to 14:30 on www.streamit360.tv.
Follow the conversation during the 2015 African Continental Road Champs on Cycling SA's social media platforms using the hashtags #CACroadchamps #africachamps on Twitter (@Cycling_SA) and Instagram (Cycling_SA). More information, including the road closures for Wartburg and surrounds, click here.
Entrance for spectators is free of charge. More information can be found about the event at: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-african-conti-road-champs
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - CONFEDERATION OF AFRICAN CYCLING CONTINENTAL ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS - DAY TWO
Individual Time Trial
1. Gregory de Vink (RSA) 35:33.324
2. Islam Mansouri (ALG) 35:47.428
3. El Mehdi Chokri (MAR) 35:50.235
4. Jarrod Hattingh (RSA) 37:17.746
5. El Houcaine Saebbahi (MAR) 37:44.947
6. Oussama Mansouri (ALG) 38:00.544
7. Fadi Confiance (SEY) 38:10.968
8. Samuel Mugisha (RWA) 38:21.919
9. Tristen de Lange (NAM) 38:31.431
10. Peter Alphonse (SEY) 39:20.644
1. Frances du Toit (RSA) 44:13.268
2. Lynette Benson (RSA) 45:53.528
3. Skye Davidson (ZIM) 46:50.927
4. Helen Mitchell (ZIM) 47:35:680
5. Hermeline Kouassi (CIV) 50:53.852