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Swanepoel sets the pace

Lichtenburg’s Lilandi Swanepoel, who signed with Team bizhub less than a month ago, finished strongly to win the junior individual time-trial title by the narrowest of margins at the South African Road Cycling Championships in Klerksdorp.

She completed the 20-kilometre test against the clock in 31min 59sec, a mere three seconds quicker than Cycle Lab’s Ashleigh Blackwell (32:02). Sarah Chemaly (Select Cycling Club) was third in 32:04.

It also marks the fourth year in-a-row that the Konica Minolta-funded outfit has lifted this title. Michelle Corbett was champion in 2009 and 2008, with Cherise Taylor winning in 2007. Taylor since went on to win the senior time trial in Klerksdorp this year.

Swanepoel, who never really thought of herself as a time-trialist, said she nevertheless felt extremely confident before the start. ÔÇ£I knew I was in great shape after our recent training camp in Clarens. I felt ready.ÔÇØ

The seventeen-year-old rider, who was the second junior home in last year’s Pick ‘n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge, said her game plan was not to start too fast. ÔÇ£I concentrated on keeping my heart rate steady on the way out, which was the more difficult portion of the route. It was quite tough and at times I struggled to maintain my intensity. Once I turned, I gave it everything in order to take advantage of the slight downhill and tailwind.

ÔÇ£I had a very strong finish ÔÇô especially the final kilometre,ÔÇØ said Swanepoel, who has been racing competitively for less than three years. ÔÇ£I kept on telling myself that every second may count and that motivated me. It turned out that I was correct.ÔÇØ


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