Team South Africa kicked off the 2017 African Continental Road Championships with three medals in the bag after the Individual Time Trials were held in Luxor, Egypt, on Thursday 16 February. Stefan de Bod and Juanita Venter were recipients of the three medals – De Bod’s second overall in the Elite category as an under-23 rider meant that he was awarded the gold medal for the U23 category and the silver medal in the Elite Men’s category, while Venter earned a bronze medal in the Elite Women’s race.
Willem Smit was the fourth rider home in the Elite Men’s race while Carla Oberholzer finished sixth in the Elite Women’s contest.
Newly crowned U23 Time Trial National Champion, Stefan de Bod, clocked the second fastest time overall along the 43-kilometre course, 26 seconds behind Elite winner Teshome Meron (Eritrea) who claimed the gold medal in a time of 53 minutes 16 seconds. Eritrean Habtom Awet, another U23 rider, finished third overall.
De Bod said: “Dit was ‘n baie plat roete, baie winderig maar ek het dit my beste gegee en toe kry ek die result wat ek gekry het. Ek was happy met my performance by SA’s en happy hierso. Hierdie roete was nog minder my tiepe roete maar ek dink as jy op vorm is kan jy maar enige roete ry en kan ‘n goeie result kry.”
Looking ahead to the Road Race, De Bod said, “Ek hoop die wind waai dieselfde as vandag en dan is ek seker ons sal ‘n goeie result op die pad race ook kry.”
Starting her race at 09:05 and fifth out of the start blocks, Venter tackled the dead flat 29-kilometre course in her stride, replacing the injured Samantha Sanders. Mauritian Aurelie Halbwachs-Lincoln claimed the gold medal in a time of 42:40.
Venter, who prefers a power climb along her route, covered the race distance in 43:07, which was seven seconds behind silver medallist Debesay Mosana from Eritrea.
“The wind was strong and it picked up during my race,” said the Time Trial National Championship silver medalist. “All in all I think I went well. I could’ve been better over some of the grit sections and around some of the corners. I’m happy to get a medal but I feel that the traveling did play a role. I only arrived yesterday and feel that I might’ve been a bit better if I had arrived here earlier to settle in a bit more.”
Summary of Results – African Continental Road Championship – Individual Time Trial
Elite Men (43km)
1.Teshome Meron (ERI) 00:53:16
2.Stefan De Bod* (RSA) 00:53:42
3.Habtom Awet* (ERI) 00:54:05
4.Willem Smit (RSA) 00:54:24
5.Valens Ndayisenga (RWA) 00:56:08
(* denotes U23)
Elite Women (29km)
1.Aurelie Halbwachs-Lincoln (MRI) 00:42:40
2.Debesay Mosana (ERI) 00:43:00
3.Juanita Venter (RSA) 00:43:07
4.Zayed Ahmed Ebtissam (EGY) 00:43:14
5.Kidane Wahazit (ERI) 00:43:41