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Sanders secures bronze for SA in Morocco
- Updated: February 25, 2016
A relative newcomer to road cycling, South Africa’s Samantha Sanders claimed a bronze medal in the Individual Time Trial at the 2016 CAC (African Cycling Confederation) Road Cycling Championships in Benslimane, Morocco, on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old cyclist, who comes from a mountain-biking background, knew that the race would be decided at the turnaround point on the 31km out-and-back route, which is just how it unfolded as the headwind prevailed for their return.
Although not a hilly route, the finish proved to be a challenge with two kickers to attack and crest before crossing the line. This will be the same finish for Thursday’s road race.
‘The route surface was divine,’ said Sanders. ‘It was very fast and we also enjoyed full road closure, which is always great. The plan of action was to go out steady and drive it hard after the turnaround and I felt I executed that well.
‘I turned myself inside out and so it should be – you leave your pain gauge at the start blocks for a TT. My goal was certainly to podium and I tried hard for a gold medal but I was well aware of the strength of both Vera and Girubuntu. It was nail-biting waiting for them to finish.’
It was Namibian Vera Adrian (23) who ultimately claimed the gold medal, surpassing Sanders’ time by 11 seconds. Second place and the silver medal went to Jeanne D’arc Girubuntu (21) of Rwanda.
‘I’m disappointed not to have won but I’m really hungry now and have learnt valuable lessons from the event. This is only my second ever TT, the first being in Wartburg at the recent SA National Champs, so there’s some polishing that has to be done but I am certainly up for the challenge and would like to be back to fight for gold next year.’
An African Games medallist in Brazzaville, Congo last year, Lise Olivier ended seventh in the time trial, 2:10 off the pace.
Sanders and teammates – Lise Olivier, An-Li Kachelhoffer and Anriette Schoeman – will now compete in Thursday’s road race.
Elite women’s Individual Time Trial results
1 Vera Adrian (Nam) 46 min47sec
2 Jeanne D’arc Girubuntu (Rwa) +1
3 Samantha Sanders (SA) +11
4 Wogahta Gebrehiwet (Eri) +1:11
5 Mossana Debesai (Eri) +1:43
6 Aurelie Halbwachs (Mri) +2:04
7 Lise Olivier (SA)+2:10
8 Helen Mitchell (Zim) +4:12
9 Eden Bekele (Eth) +4:16
10 Fatima Zahra El HiyaniI (Mar) +4:31