Crowds and supporters of the Men's Road Races could not have asked for more glorious weather on the last day of the South African National Road Championships.
The riders did face some wind on the course, but that came as no surprise to the Cape Town conditions, and those at the finish line witnessed Dimension Data for Qhubeka's Reinardt Janse van Rensburg alongside teammate and under-23 Winner Stefan de Bod to claim the Elite Men's race on Sunday 12 February. Daryl Impey of Orica Scott had claimed the Individual Time Trial title on Thursday.
The first break away group of the day, contained eventual 3rd place finisher, Willie Smit - Image - Rob Ward
The 14-lap, 179.5-kilometre race began with the usual early tactics and attempts at breaks from the bunch, but the first real move of the day was that of Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Willie Smit, Carl Pasio, Ed Greene, Calvin Beneke and David Maree who formed the "leading six" just 20km in.
Missing in action on the day was Daryl Impey, who was attending his brother’s wedding, as well as Louis Meintjes and 2016 Road Champion Jaco Venter who were both forced to withdraw due to illness.
Long into the race was when de Bod took off and was soon joined by Janse van Rensburg and Smit.
The final escape, Smit with Janse Van Rensburg and De Bod - Image - Stuart Pickering
Another hot topic on the day was Willie Smit, who not only was part of the initial breakaway group of six riders, and then the next thresome, but also came across the line in third place to claim the bronze medal and his second podium at the championship.
The finish line, Janse van Rensburg and De Bod. Smit visible in the distance - Image - Rob Ward
"The team was phenomenal today. We had a plan in the morning and I think the race pretty much went to plan," said Janse van Rensburg "Everything worked out really well. Guys like Willie Smit were very impressive today, it's good to see the local guys coming through. But I'm very very happy to take this jersey to Europe," he concluded.
The u23 title was claimed by De Bod, with Nicholas Dlamini grabbing the silver medal and Morne van Niekerk coming over the line in third. "It was amazing team work out there today,” said De Bod. "It was windy and it's not exactly a route that suits me, so I'm pretty happy to have pulled it off. I knew I just had to go full gas and see who follows me. In the end it worked out very well."
The Elite men's Podium, Smit, Janse van Rensburg and De Bod
In the 128.7km U19 Men's race, Jason Oosthuizen finished in first place ahead of Devin Shortt in second and third placed Ryan Terry.
"It was tough at the beginning of the race, because having won the time trial, and having defending champion Devin Shortt there - the guys know that we were strong so they weren't letting us get away," said Oosthuizen.
With three laps to go after catching the main break Oosthuizen said that it was just a defending game until the end. "With 150m to go I just put my head down and did what I needed to do," he said.
1. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Team Di Data) 4:33:11:272
2. Stefan de Bod (Di Data Conti) 4:33:11.668
3. Willie Smit (RoadCover Cycling Team) 4:34:35.151
1. Stefan de Bod (Di Data Conti) 4:33:11.668
2. Nicholas Dlamini (Di Data Conti) 4:43:36.649
3. Morne van Niekerk (Team Aspire) 4:43:36.715
1. Jason Oosthuizen 3:56:05.301
2. Devin Shortt 3:56:05.466
3. Ryan Terry 3:56:05.697
Daryl Impey retains the SA Time Trial Title while Willie Smit finished second on Thursday.
Daryl Impey wins his 6th Individual time trial.- Image - Stuart Pickering
Defending Champion Daryl Impey retained his National Time Trial title for 2017 as he crossed the finish with the fastest time of 49 minutes and 14.782 seconds in the Elite Men’s category along the 39.8-kilometre route at the 2017 SA National Road Championships in Wellington, Western Cape, on Thursday 9 February.
“Today went well, I’m very happy with the win,” said Impey.
The 2016 Time Trial Champ mentioned that he had ridden hard, but smart. “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 the Road Race on Sunday, but will 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.
Willie Smit rides to the second place ahead of the Dimension Data team riders.
“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, Stefan de Bod 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, 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 Road Race, all the sensations are good; it’s going to be a great day as well.”
SUMMARY OF RESULTS FROM SA NATIONAL ROAD CHAMPS - DAY 3 – 9 February 2017
Daryl Impey (Orica Scott) 49:14.782
Willem Smit (RoadCover Cycling Team) 51:11.134
Reinardt janse van Rensburg (Team Di Data)
Nicolas Dougall 52:08.680 (Team Di Data)
Ryan Gibbons 52:48.412 (Team Di Data)
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio 38:10.896
Juanita Venter 41:19.982
Brittany Petersen 42:28.109
Samantha Sanders 43:35.838
Chane Jonker 44:53.851
Stefan de Bod (Di Data Conti) 50:52.280
Nicholas Dlamini (Di Data Conti) 52:20.998
Morne van Niekerk (Team Aspire) 53:41.400
Kent Main (RoadCover Cycling team) 53:50.485
Louis Visser (Di Data Conti) 54:18.548
Heidi Dalton 43:10.434
Michelle Benson 44:11.571
Monique Gerber 46:02.782
Hazel Magill 46:28.525
Jessica Gerber 48:57.315