Crowds and supporters of the Mens Road Races could not have asked for more glorious weather on the last day of the South African National Road Championships. The riders did face some wind on the course, but that came as no surprise to the Cape Town conditions, and those at the finish line witnessed Dimension Data for Qhubeka's Reinardt Janse van Rensburg alongside teammate and under-23 Winner Stefan de Bod to claim the Elite Men's race on Sunday 12 February.
The 14-lap, 179.5-kilometre race began with the usual early tactics and attempts at breaks from the bunch, but the first real move of the day was that of Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Willie Smit, Carl Pasio, Ed Greene, Calvin Beneke and David Maree who formed the "leading six" just 20km in.
Missing in action today was Daryl Impey, who was attending his brother’s wedding, as well as Louis Meintjes and 2016 Road Champion Jaco Venter who were both forced to withdraw due to illness.
Long into the race was when de Bod took off and was soon joined by Janse van Rensburg.
Another hot topic on the day was Willie Smit, who not only was part of the initial breakaway group of six riders, but also came across the line in third place to claim the bronze medal and his second podium at the championship.
"The team was phenomenal today. We had a plan in the morning and I think the race pretty much went to plan," said Janse van Rensburg
"Everything worked out really well. Guys like Willie Smit were very impressive today, it's good to see the local guys coming through. But I'm very very happy to take this jersey to Europe," he concluded.
The u23 title was claimed by De Bod, with Nicholas Dlamini grabbing the silver medal and Morne van Niekerk coming over the line in third. "It was amazing team work out there today,” said De Bod. "It was windy and it's not exactly a route that suits me, so I'm pretty happy to have pulled it off. I knew I just had to go full gas and see who follows me. In the end it worked out very well."
In the 128.7km U19 Men's race, Jason Oosthuizen finished in first place ahead of Devin Shortt in second and third placed Ryan Terry.
"It was tough at the beginning of the race, because having won the time trial, and having defending champion Devin Shortt there - the guys know that we were strong so they weren't letting us get away," said Oosthuizen.
With three laps to go after catching the main break Oosthuizen said that it was just a defending game until the end. "With 150m to go I just put my head down and did what I needed to do," he said.
To view or use the visuals of the Elite Men's road race, a two-minute edit has been prepared for media and can be downloaded at this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/enum37ihxhetb4g/AABCD3438Cm8uOt7-9V4JEeNa?dl=0
1. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg 4:33:11:272
2. Stefan de Bod 4:33:11.668
3. Willie Smit 4:34:35.151
1. Stefan de Bod 4:33:11.668
2. Nicholas Dlamini 4:43:36.649
3. Morne van Niekerk 4:43:36.715
1. Jason Oosthuizen 3:56:05.301
2. Devin Shortt 3:56:05.466
3. Ryan Terry 3:56:05.697