5 December 2013
South African cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio was crowned African Continental Champion in the elite women’s road race at Sharm El Sheik in Egypt on Wednesday, while Monique Gerber claimed the junior women’s title.
Moolman Pasio, who represented South Africa in the road race at the 2012 London Olympic Games, added the continental title to an impressive list of accolades this year.
Her results have included victories in the road race and time trial at the South African Championships, a win in the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge, another title in the Boels Rental Hills Classic in The Netherlands, a first ever podium finish in a UCI World Cup event at the prestigious La Fleche Wallonne Feminine, and eighth place in the Giro Donne, the women’s version of the Giro d’Italia, which is renowned for being the toughest race in women’s cycling.
The finish to Wednesday’s 93-kilometre race was tightly contested, with Moolman Pasio, Vera Adrian from Namibia (silver) and Wehazit Kidane from Eritrea (bronze) all recording the same time of one hour, 53 minutes 24 seconds. South Africa’s An-Li Kachelhoffer finished in fourth place, missing the podium by 33 seconds.
Junior cyclist Gerber crossed the finish line in first place ahead of Ebtesam Zayed Ahmed (Egypt) and teammate Mikayla Oliver, who claimed a bronze medal, in a time of 56 minutes and 21 seconds for the 63-kilometre route. Fellow South Africans Heidi Dalton and Andri Coetzee finished in fourth and seventh places respectively, also recording the same finishing time as Gerber.
In the junior men’s race, contested over 93 kilometres, Ivan Venter, who races in the Nuwater team in South Africa, claimed a bronze medal an hour, 33 minutes and three seconds, the same time as the race winner, Morocco’s Abderrahim Zahiri, with Algeria’s Abderrahmane Mansouri finishing second.
Morne van Niekerk claimed sixth place in the same time, while Nickolas Dlamini ended tenth, three seconds behind the winner, and Jandrich Kotze placed 17th.