It is a big week for South African cycling as the City of Tshwane will play host to the national road & time trial championships, with the time trial taking place on Friday & the road race being held on Sunday.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will have a strong 7-rider squad out to battle for the coveted national jersey’s this week. Last year, an untimely crash in the road race took out nearly our entire team, forcing us to surrender a 5-year reign of the jersey to Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).
With last year’s punch to the gut still a sensitive subject, we will be looking to win back the rainbow jersey with heightened motivation come Sunday.
Riders to Watch
Ryan Gibbons – After a breakthrough summer Down Under, where Gibbons both climbed & sprinted with some of the best on the World Tour, the national jersey is major objective for our 24-year-old.
Stefan de Bod – If anyone can rival Impey during the 52km time trial, it is de Bod. Racing as an u23 in previous years, our Neo-Pro already finished 2nd to the 8-time time trial champion twice, coming closest in 2016 with a deficit of just 16 seconds.
“National champs is an important objective for our team. It’s the only time we get to race in our home country during the season, and it’s also when all our local partners, friends and family have the opportunity to come see us in action. Naturally, the pressure is on us, but I like to think I thrive under pressure. To win national champs is certainly a goal of mine and it would be a huge honour to wear our national colours in Europe this year but, we have 7 strong riders starting, and it will take a massive team effort to ensure the jersey comes back with either one of us, that is our first priority. ” – Ryan Gibbons
Time Trial – a mostly flat course will certainly favour Impey but with a distance of 52km, a lot can happen during the 1hr+ effort.
Road Race – While the drag up past the Union buildings will start to take a toll after 14 laps, it is the final two ascents of the short steep 9% kicker of Tom Jenkins Road that should prove definitive during the 162km race.