Pietermaritzburg – With some respite from the blisteringly hot weather that Wartburg has been experiencing over the past week the Elite and Under 23 men took to the Wartburg Road Race course on Saturday and it was Team South Africa that showed their class as they claimed the top three places in the Elite Men’s podium as well as the gold medal in Under 23 race.
The South African contingent in the race was quite large and eventual winner Louis Meintjes was quick to praise the rest of the team for their efforts on the day as well as mention that the tactics of the team paid off well.
“We rode really well as a team today,” Meintjes said. “Conditions were a little cloudy but they were great for riding and we wanted to go out and ride aggressively and try and split up the bunch and get someone alone at the front of the race and we managed that with Jacques (Janse van Rensburg) making the first move and then with my counter so it all went according to plan today.”
With a clean sweep of the podium the South African team have given their Olympic aspirations a solid boost and Meintjes added that that was the plan when they went into the race.
“The results are really good for South Africa and with the Olympics next year results like this will be great for selection,” he mentioned.
The Under 23 race was raced over the same distance and the South African riders worked hard to ensure that they could get wins in both and winner of the Under 23 race Jayde Julius was over the moon with the result.
“I am just super stoked with the way I raced today but not only my race, how the team raced and we used the numbers to really good effect which was great for us,” Julius enthused.
“In the Under 23 division we didn’t go in as favourites which meant that we had to work hard with the rest of the team and just make sure that we controlled the race and waited for the right moments which I think we did well today.”
Julius managed to finish with the top bunch of riders which meant he ended in fourth place overall which he was really happy about but with 10km to go in the race he knew that there was going to be a serious challenge from the other riders.
“Heading into the final bit of the race there was a massive push by the Eritrean’s to pull us back and it was a great finish to the race however we managed to hold them off and to finish just behind the top guys was something that I am very happy about.
“It was just a great race,” Julius beamed.
On the contrary Eritrean star and winner of the Under 23 Time Trial Merhawi Kudus was riddled with technical issues throughout his race and that meant that catch up was always the name of the game for the MTN Qhubeka rider.
“It was a really hard race for me and the bike issues that I had didn’t help me at all because I was constantly playing catch up.
“Quite early in the race I had issues and I managed to catch up to the group but then I had another mechanical which set me back further and trying to always catch up and chase the front guys made me really tired.
“With that said I am happy with my second position considering all of the issues that I had!” a satisfied Kudus concluded.
The Under 23 podium was rounded out Temesgen Buru from Ethiopa and it was Jay Thomson and Jacques Janse van Rensburg who won the silver and bronze medals in the Elite Men’s Road Race respectively.
More information can be found at http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-african-conti-road-champs
SUMMARY OF RESULTS - CONFEDERATION OF AFRICAN CYCLING CONTINENTAL ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS - DAY SIX
1. Louis Meintjes (RSA) 03:59:27
2. Jay Thomson (RSA) 04:01:53
3. Jacques Janse van Resnburg (RSA) 04:01:53
4. Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 04:02:02
5. Tsgabu Grmay (ETH) 04:02:02
6. Natnael Berhane (ERI) 04:02:02
7. Adil Jelloul (MAR) 04:02:03
8. Rafaa Chtioui (TUN) 04:02:03
9. Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI) 04:02:04
10. Azzedine Lagab (ALG) 04:02:04
Under 23 Men
1. Jayde Julius (RSA) 04:02:03
2. Merhawi Kudus (ERI) 04:02:03
3. Temesgen Buru (ETH) 04:03:01
4. Mauro Silveira (STP) 04:03:54
5. Valens Ndayisenga (RWA) 04:05:19