29 October 2013
Francois Geldenhuys did the double in his age category by winning the time trial on Saturday and the road race on Sunday at the 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
The conditions in the UCI World Cycling Tour event were favourable compared to Saturday’s strong winds, and the pace of the front runners was fast, with a number of breaks occurring along the route, which split the field into a number of smaller bunches.
The pressure being applied from the riders was evident, but with qualification for the 2014 UCI World Cycling Tour Finals up for grabs everyone was keeping their cards close to their chests and jostling for places in their age groups, rather than focusing on overall position.
‘Racing to qualify’
“There was a bit of negative riding early on,” Geldenhuys, who won the 30-34 age category, said afterwards. “The guys that were specifically racing to qualify held us up a bit, but when I managed to get free I felt a lot more comfortable.
“I have been doing a lot of mountain biking and I could feel that my training there really helped me today and gave me that extra bit of power that I needed.
“It was great to come all this way and take two wins from two, I’m really happy,” he added.
Geldenhuys claimed the fastest time of the day when he edged out 16-29 age category winner Adolf Krige by 47 seconds. Krige felt that he produced a great race and with the help of his team mate, Lionel Moolman, he managed to fend off a late attack from local man Kevin Benkenstein.
“It was a really hard course, but the race was great and I am happy with how it turned out for me,” Krige said happily.
Johannesburg resident Bruce Diesel had enough in the tank to hold off a last gasp effort from Alan Henry and Martinus Scheepers to take the title in the men’s 45-49 age category. It was one step up the podium for Diesel, who had finished second in the Time Trial.
‘Two substantial climbs’
“It was a pretty tough race with two pretty substantial climbs, but we got away on the second climb when the group broke up into six riders,” he explained.
“The sprint was pretty tough at the end because I was quite tired from yesterday, so it was great that I had enough in the tank to win my age category.”
With a trip to Slovenia on the cards Diesel is hoping that a shot at the MTB World Marathon Championships might also be a possibility.
“It could be a really busy year for me next year and if all goes to plan I should get a lot of competitive riding done,” he said.
In the women’s race, Junita Venter produced a dominant display to cross the line first in 03.09.49, which gave her the double after she was the fastest during the Time Trial on Saturday.
Pauline Cound, a former world champion and the future mother-in-law of Tour de France champion Chris Froome, managed a second place in the combined women’s 109km race and was pleased with her performance.
“It was a really tough race today and I battled on the climbs, but I was happy with how I went,” she said.
In the men’s 80km race Johan Spies produced the fastest time to take the 60-64 age group one second ahead of Bobby Nefdt.
- 16-29 Male: Adolf Krige 03.01.49
- 30-34 Male: Francois Geldenhuys 03.01.02
- 35-39 Male: Trevor Rowe 03.04.21
- 40-44 Male: Austin Steyn 03.03.52
- 45-49 Male: Bruce Diesel 03.03.55
- 50-54 Male: Jackie van Eeden 03.04.55
- 55-59 Male: Mark Beneke 03.04.55
- Female: Junita Venter 03.09.49
- 60-64 Male: Johan Spies 02.24.19
- 65-69 Male: Peter Allen Haupt 02.36.07
- 70-75 Male: Jan van den Berg 02.30.10
- 75+ Male: Michael Smith 03.08.17
- 55+ Female: Dionne Birkett 02.56.57