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De Bod gets early birthday present with Cycle Challenge victory

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Eighteen-year-old Stefan de Bod (MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team) was the youngest rider to claim victory at the recent 2015 Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge in a well-executed race with his team.
Racing in his first year as an Elite rider, the Stellenbosch local – who turned 19 this week – won the 94.7-kilometre race ahead of teammate Clint Hendricks with Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) in third place.
Listed as the biggest moment of his cycling career, De Bod said that it was a good race and the first race that he has been in that was planned from the beginning to the very end. ‘We had a clear strategy. The plan was for me to go with 3km to go, which worked perfectly.’
But  for the youngster, who was part of Team South Africa at the African Youth Games in Botswana last year was a bitter-sweet affair.
Speaking about his uncertainty for the 2016 season since the Feeder Team will be without a sponsor, De Bod said: ‘This is the last race in the Feeder Team for now – no one has contracts for a bigger team next year. It was a bit emotional to leave the team house in Potchefstroom because we all grew close as a family there. Last year I was still a junior and I’ve learned a lot this year and can only say thank you to JP van Zyl, because he taught me so much. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have won today because he told me exactly where to go.’
Second placed Hendricks was pleased with how the race unfolded according to plan. ‘The bunch stayed together until Steyn City and then our team turned up the heat. In the last 6km, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Team MTN-Qhubeka) put the pressure on. We prepared well for this race in the last month or so – this race was a big goal for the team. We looked at the course and the last 6km, in every single bit of detail, and decided on where we were going to attack and Stefan planned it to perfection. For me it was to follow the counter. Luckily I had the legs to do that and it was fantastic that we took the victory!’
Impey, who is back on home soil, has recently started his training programme and was happy with his third place. ‘I’ve only started training now and surprised that I was okay in the end. These two guys and their team did a good ride.
‘The local standard of racing is improving; especially when the young guys get more opportunities, that’s going to raise the level and the standards of racing. Next year, I hope that the sponsors do come to the party because it would be a shame if the younger guys don’t get the opportunity to have that bridge to Europe.’

(From left) Orica-GreenEDGE’s Daryl Impey, chats with MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team’s Stefan de Bod (first) and Clint Hendriks (second) after the Momentum 947 Challenge


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