By Mark Etheridge
Rio Olympian Daryl Impey continued his domination of the national time trial event as he successfully defended his title at the national road championships in sweltering Oudtshoorn on Wednesday.
Thirty-four-year-old Impey won last month’s Tour Down Under in Australia and came up trumps for a seventh time at the national time trial.
A small field of eight elite men took up the challenge and the Mitchelton-Scott rider clocked 52min 37sec for the 43.8-kilometre course.
That saw him end 2min 17sec up on the up and coming Ryan Gibbons of Team Dimension Data and 6:49 ahead of Cape Town rider Rohan de Plooy.
‘It’s always nice to win the time trial, every year there is always a bit more pressure. I was confident after Down Under that I would come here and be able to do a good ride, it was really hard and I am super happy with it,’ Impey told the Mitchelton-Scott website.
‘I started off quite fast and hard, kind of blew up a little bit towards the end, but I think I still paced it quite well. It was so hot compared to other years and I think the competition felt that. It was around 36degrees at 2.30pm in the afternoon.’
Next up for Impey will be yet another attempt at winning the road race on Saturday.
‘The road race is something I’ve never won so there’s always pressure from myself to try and win. It is important to try and win it eventually, but it is hard, I know the odds are stacked against me with all the teams and their numbers.
‘I’m hoping to carry some form from Down Under and hopefully do something special on Saturday, we will see, it is always difficult to say what will happen.
‘Condition-wise I am ready for it, it is quite a short race so I think it should be quite aggressive.’
With Rio Olympian Ashleigh Moolman Pasio not defending her title this year, the elite women’s TT victory went to Liezel Jordaan as she covered the 29.2km course in a time of 45:11. That saw her just three seconds quicker than Yvette Oelofse.
Meanwhile in the U23 men’s time trial it was Dimension Data’s Stefan de Bod who notched up his hat-trick of national time trials.
There were 17 starters and when the dust had settled De Bod (pictured below) was quickest in 53:37 well clear of second-placed Kent Main who was 1:41 adrift. Third went to Greg de Vink in 57:40.
De Bod, part of Team SA’s team that took part in the African Youth Games in Botswana four years ago, said on social media after his race: ‘Third year in a row winning the U23 TT at SA champs and also second fastest time of the day behind @imps28.
‘I’m happy with the ride today and I’m looking forward to the big year ahead with the team. Well done to my mates @kentmain and @ryangibbons23 with their great rides today. We are looking forward to the road race on Saturday.’
U23 women’s honours went to Pretoria’s Michelle Benson quickest in 45.13 from Elne Owen who was well adrift in 49:35.
Main picture of Impey courtesy of Into Cycling Newspaper