Cycling South Africa’s Road Commission caught the first glimpse of their long term plan for competitive road racing come into fruition on Friday, when the Under-23 men took to the road in Copenhagen for the 2011 UCI World Road Cycling Championships in Denmark.
The team had prepared to be closely involved in one or two moves before the end of their twelve-lap, 168-kilometre road race in order to place pressure on the stronger sprinting teams, in an attempt to prevent them from executing a proper lead-out, and to expose an area for our riders to make an impression in the final sprint.
Reynard Butler was impressive in some earlier moves, with Johann van Zyl following suit before he suffered an unfortunate puncture ÔÇô this denied the young South Africans the opportunity to play out the softening attacks near the end.
Although recovering well from the puncture, bridging the 58-second gap back to the bunch eventually took its toll on van Zyl and he soon lost contact.
Louis Meintjes’ huge effort kept him at the front with the bunch, putting them under pressure in a six-man group that broke away for one-and-a-half laps.
This forced the Aussies to chase early, but some unfortunate crashes near the end took Meintjes, 18th in the time trial earlier this week, out of contention, with both Jennings and Janse Van Rensburg out of position ÔÇô Van Rensburg fought hard to get to the front but the energy spent cost him dearly in the final sprint to the finish line.
France claimed a rare double of gold and silver as they calculated their timing to perfection on the final rise in the electrifying bunch sprint finish, with Great Britain claiming the bronze medal.
On Saturday, our Elite Women take to the streets of Copenhagen to battle it out over 140-kilometres to race for World Champion status.
Final Results ÔÇô Men’s Under-23 Road Race ÔÇô 168km (12 laps)
1 Arnaud Demare FRA 3:52:16
2 Adrien Petit FRA 3:52:16 +0
3 Andrew Fenn GBR 3:52:16 +0
4 Rudiger Selig GER 3:52:16 +0
5 Marco Haller AUT 3:52:16 +0
17 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg SA 3:52:16 +0
46 Christopher Jennings SA 3:52:16 +0
98 Louis Meintjes SA 3:52:59 +43
118 Johann Van Zyl SA 3:55:48 +3:32
123 Reynard Butler SA 3:55:48 +3:32