Africa’s Track cycling level on the Rise

The last day of the African Continental Track Championships wrapped up what was almost a week-long spectacular showcase of excellent racing from all the nations taking part. With many neighbouring nations on the podium, and even more knocking on the door, the level of track cycling in Africa is definitely on the rise.

In the Junior Men’s Keirin event, Morocco’s Mounir El Azhari secured his spot in the final by placing first in Heat 1. Tye Stainbank was placed second in Heat 1, which sent him into the final where he finished in second place. Third place went to Hamza Mansouri from Algeria.

South Africa’s Jean Spies smashed his heat to enter into the final of the Elite Men’s Keirin, which he then won ahead of Wade Theunissen (South Africa) and Rocco King (Wannabees).

Jennifer Abbot and Danielle van Niekerk from Team South Africa took the Elite Women’s Madison title, with Strasse Panda’s Victoria Myburgh and Claudia Gnudi in second, and the Algeria/Nigeria partnership of Aicha Tihar and Rita Aggo.

The Junior Women’s Madison was won by South Africa’s Courtney Smith and Ashleigh Parsons. The Junior Women’s Points race was won by Jessica Brown for Future Stars Cycling Academy. Brown had arrived a week before the Championships to take part in the World Cycling Centre Africa training camp in Durban. She said: “The training camp here in Durban went pretty well. We got a lot of pointers for the Madison and how to ride on the track – this one is very different to the one in Switzerland. The gears, the wind, the wheels, the type of bike you’re using and the way you’re sitting all contribute towards your race.

“I met a lot of riders and new friends learning different languages which was so much fun. This has been great because it’s two weeks before our National Champs in Cape Town. I had an absolute blast here and I learnt a lot.”

In the afternoon, the Junior Men’s Points race took place, which saw Algeria’s Oussama Cheblaoui take the gold medal, Eric Jean Habimana (Rwanda) take silver, and Morocco’s Hamza Essadouki the bronze.

The last event of the day was the Elite Men’s Points race. Team BCX’s Steven van Heerden snatched up the most points to take the gold in this event, with Giant’s Evan Carstens in second place and Got It Global’s Jared Poulton in third.

Officials and riders were joined by President of the UCI, Mr. Brian Cookson, who commended the organisers on a well-run event, and mentioned how happy he was to be in the city of Durban.

Director of the World Cycling Centre Afria, Jean-Pierre van Zyl, was overwhelmed to see the level of racing displayed by the other African countries, and saw skills taught during the WCC training camp being put to the test on the track. He said: “I’m very proud to see so many African nations for the first time on the velodrome. My background is velodrome – Olympic Games, World Championships – and its very exciting to see the South African’s ona good level. It was a good race in general.

“Lets see what’s going to happen in 2020. I think we will not only South African but other African riders qualifying for the Olympic Games, its what we are aiming for. Hopefully we will even see a few finalists at the 2024 Olympic Games.”

Full results from the afternoon session of Day 2 and morning session of Day 3 will be available on the website soon. For more information and updates, please visit https://www.cyclingsa.com/2017-african-conti-track-champs/.

Summary of Results for Day 4 of the 2017 African Continental Track Championships (Thursday 23 March)

Elite Women Points 20km

1.     Bernette Beyers (Bestmed)

2.     Charlene du Preez (South Africa)

3.     Victoria Myburgh (South Africa)

Junior Women Points 10km

1.     Jessica Brown (South Africa)

2.     Ashleigh Parsons (South Africa)

3.     Courtney Smith (FSSA)

Junior Men Keirin

1.     Mounir El Azhari (MAR)

2.     Tye Stainbank (RSA)

3.     Hamza Mansouri (ALG)

Elite Men Keirin

1.     Jean Spies (RSA)

2.     Wade Theunissen (RSA)

3.     Rocco King (Wannabees)

Elite Women Madison 20km

1.     Jennifer Abbott and Danielle van Niekerk (RSA)

2.     Victoria Myburgh and Claudia Gnudi (Strasse Panda)

3.     Aicha Tihar (ALG) and Rita Aggo (NIG)

Junior Women Madison 20km

1.     Courtney Smith and Ashleigh Parsons (RSA)

Junior Men Points 15km

1.     Oussam Cheblaoui (ALG)

2.     Eric Jean Habimana (RWA)

3.     Hamza Essadouki (MAR)

Elite Men’s Point 30km

1.     Steven van Heerden (BCX)

2.     Evan Carstens (GIANT)

3.     Jared Poulton (Got It Global)

ENDS