South Africa kicked off their 2017 African Continental Road Championships campaign in Luxor, Egypt, with three medals after Thursday’s Individual Time Trials.
Stefan de Bod and Juanita Venter were the three medal-winners – De Bod’s second overall in the Elite category as an Under-23 rider meant he was awarded gold for the U23 category and silver in the Elite Men, while Venter earned a bronze medal in the Elite Women’s race.
Willem Smit was home fourth in the Elite Men’s race, while Carla Oberholzer finished sixth in the Elite Women’s race.
Newly crowned U23 Time Trial national champion and reigning African Youth Games champion De Bod clocked the second fastest time overall over the 43-kilometre course, 26 seconds behind Elite winner Teshome Meron (Eritrea), who claimed the gold medal in a time of 53min 16sec. Eritrean Habtom Awet, another U23 rider, finished third overall.
Said De Bod: ‘It was a very flat route and also very windy, but I gave my best and got a result that I was after. I was happy with my performance at SA’s and happy here as well.
‘This route wasn’t really my type of route, but I think if you’re truly on form you can ride any type of course and still get a good result.’
Looking ahead to the road race, De Bod said: ‘I actually hope the wind blows like it did today, then I’m confident we’ll also get a good result for South Africa.
Starting at 9.05am and fifth out of the start blocks, Venter took the dead flat 29-kilometre course in her stride, replacing the injured Samantha Sanders as Mauritian Aurelie Halbwachs-Lincoln claimed the gold medal in a time of 42:40.
Venter, who was 2016 national time trial champion and would have preferred something more of a power climb along the route in Luxor, covered the distance in 43:07, which was seven seconds behind silver medallist Debesay Mosana from Eritrea.
‘The wind was strong and it picked up during my race,’ said the 2016 Time Trial National Championship silver medallist. ‘All in all I think I went well, although I could’ve been better over some of the grit sections and around some of the corners.
‘I’m happy to get a medal, but I feel that the travelling did play a role. I only arrived yesterday and feel that I might’ve been a bit better if I had arrived here earlier to settle in a bit more.’
Photo of De Bod courtesy of Double ST
Elite Men (43km)
1 Teshome Meron (ERI) 53min 16sec
2 Stefan de Bod* (SA) 53:42
3 Habtom Awet* (ERI) 54:05
4 Willem Smit (SA) 54:24
5. Valens Ndayisenga (RWA) 56:08
(* denotes U23)
Elite Women (29km)
1 Aurelie Halbwachs-Lincoln (MRI) 42:40
2 Debesay Mosana (ERI) 43:00
3 Juanita Venter (SA) 43:07
4 Zayed Ahmed Ebtissam (EGY) 43:14
5 Kidane Wahazit (ERI) 43:41