Nelspruit was abuzz with South Africa’s top road cyclists today for the opening race of the Mpumalanga Sport Council 2012 SA National Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships.
The cream of the crop took to the roads on their own, battling the hot, humid and still conditions in the Individual Time Trial discipline, marking the start of what is expected to be four great days of top notch road cycling.
MTN Qhubeka’s Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg dominated the Elite men’s race, clocking the fastest time on the 40km Elite Men’s course in 50 minutes 40.25 seconds, whilst Momentum Toyota’s Cherise Taylor secured her second consecutive Championship title completing the 30km women’s course in 45 minutes 34.92 seconds.
Twenty three-year-old Pretoria resident Van Rensburg was elated with his victory following dedicated preparation leading up to the event. “It’s quite special to be the SA Time Trial Champion,” said Van Rensburg. “The team trained here in Nelspruit two to three weeks ago and we knew the course really well. Our training was specific on our Trek ‘Speed Concept’ time trial bikes – they are really top of the range and our equipment is all the latest technology.”
Last year’s international racing results has boosted Van Rensburg’s confidence ahead of the SA Road Champs: “Since the start of the season I knew that I could win this, and the preparation has paid off. The course was undulating and quite hard. I realised that if I was in trouble on the course, that I would not be able to make up the time again, and fortunately I managed to pace myself well.”
In the women’s race, 22-year-old Taylor was equally elated with her new title: “It was pretty hard, a time trial is always hard!” exclaimed the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast cycling star. “The competition was tough, but I was so fortunate to have a great team manager David Pieterse, who really motivated me today. I am really ecstatic for winning the title; it is such a hard discipline to win!”
Taylor’s preparations have been solid in the lead up to the SA Championships, and her recent move to training with coach Dr. Jeroen Swart is going really well. “Jeroen is monitoring my power and heart rate on a weekly basis. I leave for Europe on the 23rd March, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the year.”
When asked about the upcoming road race, the new Time Trial champions feel they are ready for the challenge. “I hear that Saturday’s route is quite tough. My favourite for Saturday’s race is Ashleigh or Robyn (de Groot). I hope that the teams come together and make a good race out of it,” said Taylor. “It is a privilege to wear a national jersey.”
“I’m feeling quite positive for Sunday,” said Van Rensburg. “Some of the pressure has been relieved now.”
RESULTS – Mpumalanga Sport Council 2012 SA National Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships – Thursday – 01 March 2012
Elite Men Individual Time Trial – 40km
Elite Women Individual Time Trial – 30km
U23 Men Individual Time Trial – 40km
Junior Men Individual Time Trial – 30km
Junior Women Individual Time Trial – 20km
Elite, U23 Student Men Individual Time Trial
Elite Student Women Individual Time Trial