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Meintjies/ Moolman take national road titles

Under-23 World Champs silver medallist Louis Meintjes (Team MTN-Qhubeka) and defending national champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Hitec Products) claimed top honours in the Elite men and women’s race categories at the 2014 Time Freight SA Road Cycling Championships, which came to a close in Westville Durban on Sunday.

As with the African Continental Championships, the Elite and Under-23 Men started the 180-kilometre race together, and the first rider to cross the finish line was dubbed the Elite winner. In this instance, Meintjes, pictured right,  is the new Under-23 and Elite National Champion.

Meintjes clinched the victory on the finish line in a stroke of fortune. Newly crowned national time trial champion Daryl Impey (Orica GreenEdge), who was out to claim ÔÇ£the doubleÔÇØ, looked set to win when disaster struck and his chain broke in the final 15-metres before the finish line. Impey freewheeled helplessly across the line.

Defending champion Jay Thomson (Team MTN-Qhubeka) claimed the bronze medal.

Meintjes was elated with his performance: ÔÇ£I’m really happy and I’m looking forward to wearing the national jersey overseas. I had a very strong team and every time there was a break we were represented with a strong team member, so we were always in control. I’m not at top form at the moment, but I am really surprised and really happy with the form I had today.

ÔÇ£We had a lot of plans and the guys understand racing and in every situation there is a different plan. But Jay (Thomson) and I spoke in the last few kilometres and he said I looked really good on the last little climb so we decided to change the plan.ÔÇØ

Impey was visibly disappointed with his mechanical failure after a strong day in the saddle and an almost certain victory: ÔÇ£My chain came off in the sprint and I’m pretty disappointed. I had it in the bag, and it is really disappointing.ÔÇØ

The women’s race saw Moolman-Pasio claim the victory after a calculated race with several attacks on the strong field. Cherise Stander crossed the line second, and 18-year-old Heidi Dalton finished third.

ÔÇ£I tried to test everyone’s legs at every opportunity that I could,ÔÇØ said Moolman-Pasio, pictured right after her victory. ÔÇ£I was the only one making the racing today, so I’m really happy that I managed to pull it off as an alone rider. It was a tough job. I just can’t tell you how happy I am ÔÇô taking the jersey to Europe is such a privilege and such an honour, I’ll really fly the flag very high there.ÔÇØ

Moolman-Pasio bided her time before launching the successful break in the final lap. ÔÇ£I didn’t want to go too early ÔÇô it is a tough course and with the humidity I was feeling the cramps coming on so I had to be careful. After halfway, wherever the road wet up I tried to make it hard for the girls and coming into the start of the final lap, the string finally snapped and no-one was behind me, so I drove it as hard as I could until the end.ÔÇØ

Silver medallist, Stander was pleased with her second place: ÔÇ£It was quite an aggressive race and everyone was just watching Ashleigh (Moolman-Pasio) today. The route was quite hard and it was important not to start off hard, and to race within your limits.ÔÇØ

Young Dalton delivered a strong performance in her first year in the Elite category, coming from Junior last year. ÔÇ£I’m racing with the best women in the country, and the world,ÔÇØ said Dalton. ÔÇ£It was a hard race today but well done to Ashleigh and Cherise. I knew it was going to be tough, it’s my first year Elite and I was battling in the first three or four laps, but then I just felt I was getting stronger, which is strange because I am still young. I’m over the moon with my third place.ÔÇØ

Women’s cycling legend and eight-time national champion, Anriette Schoeman finished in sixth place: ÔÇ£It was a very tough race, the girls all brought their A-game! This course wears you down quite a bit, but it was a privilege for me to race with the elite ladies. Hats off to Time Freight for investing sponsorship into cycling, and to Cycling South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal Cycling for probably one of the best National Championships I’ve ridden.ÔÇØ

Pictures: Mylene Paynter

Summary of Results

Elite / U23 Men [144km]
1 Louis Meintjes 4hr 27min 14sec [u23]
2 Daryl Impey 04:27:14
3 Jay Thomson 04:27:30
4 Darren Lill 04:27:49
5 JC Nel 04:28:05
6 Jacques Janse van Rensburg 04:28:15
7 Nolan Hoffman 04:30:27
8 Carl Pasio 04:33:05
9 Ryan Gibbons 04:33:10 [u23]
10 Nicholas Dougall 04:33:10 [u23]

Elite Women [126km]
1 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio 03:57:31
2 Cherise Stander 03:58:38
3 Heidi Dalton 03:58:49
4 Carmen Buchacher 04:00:16
5 Charlene Roux 04:00:27
6 Anriette Schoeman 04:01:10
7 Elmari de Wet 04:02:00
8 Lise Olivier 04:03:23
9 Chane Jonker 04:05:54
10 Leandri du Toit 04:07:22

Junior Men [126km]
1 Stefan de Bod 03:29:43
2 Ivan Venter 03:29:43
3 Kent Main 03:29:44
4 Graeme Ockhuis 03:29:59
5 Carl Bonthuys 03:30:00

Junior Women [72km]
1 Bianca Haw 02:14:37
2 Monique Gerber 02:14:37
3 Frances du Toit 02:15:15
4 Michelle Benson 02:17:19
5 Catherine Colyn 02:17:24

Veteran Men 30-34 [144km]
1 Deno van Heerden 03:59:45
2 Conrad Viljoen 04:01:05
3 Franco Ferreira 04:01:06
4 Jacques Greeff 04:01:09
5 Barend Viljoen 04:01:09

Veteran Men 35-39 [144km]
1 Jaco Ferreira 04:12:00
2 Carl Lotter 04:12:05
3 Gilbert Quevauvilliers 04:12:15
4 Tijl van de Winkel 04:12:21
5 Nicholas Cape 04:12:30


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