Team RSAWEB rider, Robert Quinn, secured two gold medals at the SA Road Championships held in Port Elizabeth this past weekend. Competing in the 30 – 34 age category, Rob dominated in both the Time Trial and Road Race.
Team RSAWEB’s celebrations continued with Edward Green taking 5th place (U23) in the Time Trial and 6th in the Road Race; Carl Pasio taking 7th (Elites) place in the Time Trial; and Neville Cragg securing 4th place (Sub Vet category) in the Road Race.
An overall impressive showing at the SA Road Championships for Team RSAWEB – Nice to know that we’ve got some of South Africa’s fastes riders in our team.
Team RSAWEB rider, Neville Cragg, shares his SA Champs Road Race experience with us:
Team RSAWEB travelled to PE on a mission. Four Sub-vet men of varying talents were assembled to defend our jersey – The South African National Championship jersey for the 30 – 34 age category. Robert Quinn didn’t want to let it go, and had simple advice for us:
“Ride as if you are the champion defending your own jersey.”
Upon arrival at PE, we were treated to our new team kit – stunning neon red Champion-Systems gear, complete from head to toe including jerseys, arm warmers, gloves, bibs, warmers, gillet and socks completed the look of the best dressed team in the peloton.
The start was fast with a steady pace. I decided to cover moves early – Luke Phieffer jumped and I followed – the bunch speed was relatively slow so we were brought back immediately, but a minute later Luke went again, with me right on his wheel, this time the bunch didn’t follow, which left a big gap pretty soon and with the tight course, we were soon out of sight.
On Lap 4, above Climb 2, we were bridged by Jaco Fereirra, a TCS pro and serious threat. He was alone, and I couldn’t see Rob (Quinn). I had to slow him down, but not get dropped – Luke and Jaco could now work together. They knew they I was dragging and conspired to drop me, with dead wheels and hill attacks coming mostly from Jaco, but he couldn’t shake me in a sprint. I attacked on the downhill before Climb 2 – mostly to get a jump on the climb – but effectively shelling Luke who was already struggling on the hills. This was good as they couldn’t work on me in tandem anymore, and Jaco needed a ‘helping hand’ if he wanted to stay away. I couldn’t take him on myself though, he is too good a climber and would drop me with a lap to spare if we went head-to-head.
I attacked on the plateau and downhill to get him out of my slip and make some breathing space for Climb two. It worked, but looking back as Jaco passed me, I saw Rob coming up the climb behind me – with a second TCS rider, Clive Seebrechts and Jac-Louis van Wyk. I left Jaco and waited for Rob, as they coupled my back wheel I paced Rob back to Jaco.
stuck with Rob to counter an attack from the other riders. I rested on the flats and killed myself on the climbs, but got dropped as the TCS Riders took turns attacking me off. I would however crawl back into contact after each time and rejoin while Rob played sheepdog on the climbs. We had a formed a gap of five minutes on the bunch.
Jaco escaped on Lap 7, and by Lap 8 we needed to reel him in. With Rob on my wheel, I closed the gap – over the start/finish he had 200m, and by the time we arrived at the climb there was less than 20m gap. I had closed all I could, Rob thanked me and said it was now up to him.
The remaining portion after Climb 2 was easy, flat, fast and mostly downhill, I passed a few tail-enders and kept looking back into the empty space behind me. I was 4th over the line – ecstatic and completely in disbelief… then a spectator shouted:
“Your team mate won!”
We had done it! Rob had ridden a calculated race and blown them away in the sprint. The jersey was ours – mission accomplished.