While South Africans all over the world celebrate their heritage today, South Africa’s national road cycling squad will enjoy the rest day at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships, currently underway in Ponferrada, Spain, from 21-28 September. Only a handful of riders elected to compete in the Time Trial discipline, whilst the remainder of the cyclists have focused on the upcoming road cycling races, which begin on Friday 26 September. Weather conditions were not favourable for the junior women, who were first to tackle their 13.9km TT course on Monday, 22 September.
Monique Gerber and Michelle Benson had the support of the nation behind them as they braved the wet and slippery conditions. Gerber finished in 44th place, and Benson in 48th place. The Aussies scored a gold and bronze medal, with Macey Stewart taking the victory in 20 minutes 08.39 seconds. Danish rider Pernille Mathiesen claimed silver, 10.79 seconds off the pace, while Anna-Leeza Hull secured the bronze medal, 13.31 off the winning time.
Benson was affected by the weather as she took a tumble on the slippery surface in a steep downhill section of the race. She was just 3km from the finish when she crashed, but soldiered on to settle for 48th place. Later in the day, Louis Meintjes and Willem Smit competed in the under-23 category. Meintjes’ performance along the 36.15km circuit saw him sitting in the hot seat with the quickest time for a little while, until he was dislodged by Rafael Reis (POR).
Eventual winner Campbell Flakemore (AUS) clocked the quickest time in 43:49.94, with Ryan Mullen (IRL) second, 0.48 seconds adrift, and Stefan Kueng (SUI) third, 9.22 seconds adrift. Meintjes finished eighth, 48.36 seconds off the winning time, with Willem Smit (RSA) 28th, +2:09.83. Meintjes told Road to Rio 2016 on Tuesday, “Ja, I’m happy with eighth spot but also really happy with how my legs are feeling before the road race on Friday. The course was flat and not really suited to me but I was lucky to ride the first half without rain.”
The 2013 U23 World Championship silver medallist is confident ahead of the road race this Friday, and he feels the course is more suited to his climbing abilities. The junior men and elite women competed in their TTs yesterday. Both categories competed on a 29.5km course.
Gustav Basson and Ivan Venter finished in 28th and 44th places respectively, 2:56.35 and 3:36.84 off the winning time. German Lennard Kamna claimed gold in 36:13.49, with Adrien Costa (USA) claiming silver (+44.66) and Michael Storer (AUS), bronze (+58.11). Heidi Dalton was the sole representative in the Elite women’s TT, finishing in 43rd place and 5:43.86 behind the winning time, which was clocked by German Lisa Brennauer.
Anna Solovey (UKR) claimed a silver medal (+18.68), while American Evelyn Stevens (USA) claimed a bronze medal (+21.25). The remaining elite women, and all the elite men have placed their focus on the road race. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and An-Li Kachelhoffer were not scheduled to race in the TT, however the UCI did not remove Kachelhoffer’s name from the start list.
Daryl Impey, Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg will also not be competing in the Elite Men’s TT today.
Summary of results – 2014 UCI Road World Championships – Ponferrada, Spain
ITT – Junior Women – 22 Sep
1 Macey STEWART (AUS) 20:08.39
2 Pernille MATHIESEN (DEN) +10.79
3 Anna-Leeza HULL (AUS) +13.31
44 Monique GERBER (RSA) +2:24.80
48 Michelle BENSON (RSA) +3:25.69
ITT – U23 Men – 22 Sep
1 Campbell FLAKEMORE (AUS) 43:49.94
2 Ryan MULLEN (IRL) +0.48
3 Stefan KUENG (SUI) +9.22
8 Louis MEINTJES (RSA) +48.36
28 Willem SMIT (RSA) +2:09.83
ITT – Junior Men – 23 Sep
1 Lennard KAMNA (GER) 36:13.49
2 Adrien COSTA (USA) +44.66
3 Michael STORER (AUS) +58.11
28 Gustav BASSON (RSA) +2:56.35
44 Ivan VENTER (RSA) +3:36.84
ITT – Elite Women – 23 Sep
1 Lisa BRENNAUER (GER) 38:48.16
2 Anna SOLOVEY (UKR) +18.68
3 Evelyn STEVENS (USA) +21.25
43 Heidi DALTON (RSA) +5:43.86
Photo: Louis Meintjes during the ITT at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships, currently underway in Ponferrada, Spain, from 21-28 September.