Defending champion Daryl Impey retained his national time trial title and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio impressed all and sundry by taking the elite women’s title at the national road cycling championships in Wellington, Boland on Thursday.
Two-time Olympian Impey clocked 49 minutes and 14.782 seconds in the Elite Men’s category for the 39.8-kilometre course, while fellow Olympian Moolman-Pasio was only back on her time trial bike for the second time after her accident in France last year when she collided with a motorcyclist.
She covered the 27.1km course in a time of 38:10.896.
‘Today went well, I’m very happy with the win,’ said the defending champ. ‘The race went as I had expected it to go, and I was feeling good and my legs are in good shape. It was a really good day,’ he said.
Impey was sad to be missing Sunday’s road race, as he’ll be attending his brother’s wedding that day. ‘Of course it is unfortunate that I will be missing it, but family comes first,’ he added.
Second placed Willie Smit said: ‘It was mostly all about lap times and just keeping to the same lap times with the highest amount of power possible. With my coach in the car, we were working on the router and just staying at certain lap times. That was basically how you were going to get onto the podium today.
‘You can try to start fast and stay at that same pace without blowing on the last lap, but it’s quite a gamble out there – you’ve got to hope that you don’t overheat and blow completely. Luckily I managed to keep it together until the end,’ he said.
In the U23 Men’s race, which followed the same distance as the Elite Men, former Africa Youth Games gold medallist Stefan de Bod (above) managed to retain his Time Trial title ahead of Nicholas Dlamini in second place and Morne van Niekerk in third. ‘It was a hard day,’ said De Bod. I was feeling really good and the preparation was working well,’ he added.
When chatting about Sunday’s Road Race, De Bod said that the course doesn’t suit him too well, but that he’s going to give it his all in order to try and claim another jersey.
Van Niekerk, who came in third today, said: ‘The weather really played its part today – it was great out there. It was lucky that we went off early. It was a really good day out in the Cape. I felt good today, and in terms of the road race, all the sensations are good; it’s going to be a great day as well.’
Moolman-Pasio was thankful to all involved in helping her recover from her accident in France. ‘I’ve been very blessed in my rehab and recovery process – I’ve been in very good hands with Jeroen Swart as my coach and doctor as well,’ she said.
Moolman-Pasio said how lucky she felt that she had agreed with her doctors on a less conservative approach to her rehab process, which helped her a great deal. ‘Initially the thought was to be completely off the leg for a whole month, but then as we did more scans and we really saw the proper nature of the fracture, the doctors started to encourage me at two weeks already to start putting more weight on it, so I was actually really lucky,’ she added.
She also mentioned how important it is to listen to your body. ‘Pain was always the guideline. I started to pick things up, luckily faster than I thought, but still slower than what I would’ve done if I was 100% normal, so it’s been a slower build, but maybe that’s also a blessing in disguise,’ she said.
After almost eight years at full-tilt on the cycle racing scene, Moolman-Pasio described the forced rest as a good one.
On the Time Trial, she said: ‘I know that I’m strong, but I didn’t know what kind of form I’m in. I’m also really lucky to have been involved with a team like Cervelo Bigla where there’s such a big focus on Time Trial. I really have become so at one with my Time Trial bike. So it’s a really awesome thing to achieve.
‘Even though this is literally the second time on my Time Trial bike since I crashed on it – I rode it on Saturday and now again – I’m just lucky that I feel so comfortable on my TT bike and I feel back at home on it. It felt good out there. I think I also learnt how to pace myself nicely and I’m very happy with the result – its nice to take the National Jersey back to Europe.’
Another impressive result in the Elite Women’s Time Trial came from KwaZulu-Natal’s Brittany Peterson, who finished in third place. It was this time last year when she retired from professional paddling and decided to give cycling a go as a form of fitness. ‘I began cycling and actually loved it. It was my boyfriend [and professional cyclist Brendon Davids] who convinced and encouraged me to give it a try,’ she said.
Peterson also mentioned that Moolman-Pasio and her husband Carl had had a lot to do with her choice to pursue cycling and, in particular, Time Trial racing. ‘I really love it and I’ve tried to just improve little bit by little bit. I have found a passion for it so I’m just going to keep on at it,’ concluded.
U23 Women’s winner Heidi Dalton, a member of Team SA at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, Congo, said the heat was a big factor for everyone out there, not only her. ‘We were lucky that there was no wind. I’ve just started coaching with Jeroen so I didn’t know what to expect. I came and gave it my best. I’m very happy with how it did go,’ she said. Dalton’s boyfriend, Dimension Data rider Ryan Gibbons took fifth in the elite men’s time trial.
Jason Oosthuizen made his intentions very clear in the U19 Men’s race when he posted the fastest time of 38:47.637 on the 27.1km route. Rossouw Bekker was the second fastest finisher in the category, clocking 39:49.682 with Jean-Pierre Lloyd rounding off the podium in third place in a time of 39:58.115.
The U19 Women’s race saw Tiffany Keep maintain strong momentum throughout the 14.4km lap to secure the fastest time in 23:55.574. Azulde Britz crossed the line with the second fastest time (24:01.651), with Nadia van Niekerk finishing in third place (25:00.036).
Pictures of Impey, Moolman-Pasio and De Bod courtesy of Double ST
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
TIME TRIAL (Afternoon Session)
1 Daryl Impey 49:14.782
2 Willem Smit 51:11.134
3 Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
4 Nicolas Dougall 52:08.680
5 Ryan Gibbons 52:48.412
1 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio 38:10.896
2 Juanita Venter 41:19.982
3 Brittany Petersen 42:28.109
4 Samantha Sanders 43:35.838
5 Chane Jonker 44:53.851
1 Stefan de Bod 50:52.280
2 Nicholas Dlamini 52:20.998
3 Morne van Niekerk 53:41.400
4 Kent Main 53:50.485
5 Louis Visser 54:18.548
1 Heidi Dalton 43:10.434
2 Michelle Benson 44:11.571
3 Monique Gerber 46:02.782
4 Hazel Magill 46:28.525
5 Jessica Gerber 48:57.315
1 Jason Oosthuizen 38:47.637
2 Rossouw Bekker 39:49.682
3 Jean-Pierre Lloyd 39:58.115
4 Ryan Terry 41:32.824
5 Ricardo Broxham 41:43.868
1 Tiffany Keep 23:55.574
2 Azulde Britz 24:01.651
3 Nadia van Niekerk 25:00.036
4 Elne Owen 26:29.984
5 Hanje Nel 27:26.389