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South Africa Road Championships - CN
Oudtshoorn, South Africa, March 10-12, 2009
Stage 1 - March 10: Road races
Ball goes from underdog to top dog, Burger bags the big one
Jamie Ball, not rated among the favourites in the build-up to the Elite men's championship, pulled on the coveted white, green and gold jersey after a brutally hot day of racing around the 195-kilometre Voelmoed circuit in Oudtshoorn. The House of Paint sprinter charged to victory ahead of Daryl Impey (Barloworld) and Kosie Laubser (Konica).
After his team's less-than-impressive Giro del Capo results last week, Ball struggled to contain his excitement.
"After the sort of luck myself and the team had during the Giro del Capo, we felt we were due a big win soon and for it to be in a race this big is simply outstanding," said Ball. "We had punctures at the worst times which affected our results at the Giro, so we weren't going to leave anything to chance today. We had a plan and it worked. The team was great today, just brilliant. Jeremy [Maartens] rode like a champion and made sure I was in contention the whole way."
Maartens, one of the more seasoned professionals in South Africa, was full of praise for his teammate.
"The final sprint between him and Daryl was close, but Jamie is in such good form that I told him earlier in the race that if he went into the corner second then he would win," said a beaming Maartens.
Maartens took a swipe at the pundits who had failed to recognise House of Paint as being a team with a shot at the title.
"We were quite surprised that in the build-up to the race no one even gave us the slightest of mentions; not even as an underdog. I think they all under-estimated us and they paid for that."
Jeremy Maartens led a small breakaway in the first lap, but it never got too far ahead of the chasing bunch, and was pulled back in the second lap. A large number of riders withdrew at the feed zone due to a combination of the fast pace and the furnace-like conditions, which pushed temperatures on the tar to well over 40 degrees Celsius.
It was this lap that saw Ball join the escape of the day that comprised 13 riders, including the Barloworld duo of John Lee Augustyn and Daryl Impey, Neotel's Tiaan Kannemeyer, Medscheme's Nic White, Konica-Minolta's Kosie Laubser and MTN Energade's David George and Jay Thompson.
With 30km remaining 2002 national champion, Kannemeyer, was dropped, leaving the Neotel outfit without a rider in the break and forced to take up the chase in the main following pack. But with the wind picking up on the final lap and only three small bunches left on the course, Neotel's medal hopes were dashed as Impey began attacking, trimming the lead group down until it was only Impey, George, Thomson, Laubser, Ball and White remaining as the race reached the final 5km.
With Ball, Impey and Thomson regarded as sprinters, the scene was set for a thrilling finale. But a dramatic crash in the final right-hand corner, just 350 metres from the finish in Voortrekker Street, saw George and Thomson tumble out of contention, leaving Ball and Impey to duel it out after passing a tiring Laubser, who was later blamed as having caused the crash.
Clinton Barrow of Team Garmin rode superbly to finish seventh overall and upstage his more fancied rivals to claim the Under-23 gold medal. He out-sprinted another rising star, Henning Jooste (Queen's Wheelers) to secure the title with Neotel's Johann Rabie claiming the bronze.
Burger wins women's title
After a string of second place finishes in major events over the past few years, Lynette Burger finally snapped up the biggest win of her career when she won the Elite women's race at the South African road cycling championships in Oudtshoorn.
It was a double celebration for Burger's Cycle Lab Supercycling Toyota team as her teammate, Ashleigh Moolman, the Western Province road champion, secured the silver medal with 2008 champion, Cherise Taylor (MTN) taking third place.
It was just reward for the 27-year-old rider from Boksburg, who has won silver and bronze medals at the national time trial championships before, but has never finished on the podium in the higher-profile road race.
"I still can't believe it! I think it will only sink in later," said a delighted Burger. "I set myself a goal in November last year to win this title and today it's happened. It's an incredible feeling to achieve a goal like that, but I must thank my team; without them I wouldn't have been in a position to win."
Two major factors influenced the pattern of the 117km race, which took in three laps of a 39km circuit around the desolate Karoo town – an early crash and the searing heat.
The crash at around 25km took down some of the pre-race favourites, including Anriette Schoeman (Nashua Telecoms) and Lizanne Naude (Cycle Lab Supercycling Toyota), while temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius, turned the race into a battle of attrition as riders were forced to constantly hydrate and keep their core temperature down by dousing themselves with water.
The lead group was eventually whittled down to eight going into the final kilometres, with Yolandi de Villiers (Cycle Lab Supercycling Toyota) attacking constantly and forcing the three MTN riders, Marissa van der Merwe, Cashandra Slingerland and Taylor, the two Nashua Telecoms riders, Robyn de Groot and Jade Roberts and DCM Chrome's Yolandi du Toit to respond.
Van der Merwe led Taylor and Burger into the final turn 350m from the finish.
"I was in the perfect position for the sprint as the two MTN girls started their sprint quite early. I began my kick with about 200 metres to go and it turned out to be perfectly timed!" smiled Burger.
Garmin Felt tops South African junior podium
The South African Junior Road Championships were dominated by the Garmin Felt juniors in Oudtshoorn on Tuesday. Christopher Jennings won the race ahead of Stefano Maiorana. Jon Van Gesselleen finished in third.
The Garmin duo had escaped on the second climb of the day and rode to the finish together. They crossed the line hand in hand, one minute ahead of Van Gesselleen and the first group.
Garmin's Team Manager Ciska Austin was very pleased with the result. "The team rode very well together and as a unit they look to be unbeatable, they have really embraced riding as a team," she said.
Ivan Haasbroek from MR Price attacked immediately after start. After 25 kilometres Haasbroek was brought back and several counter moves followed, none of which decisive. Austin had made the strategic plan. "We wanted to control the race until km 80 use the steep little climb to ... force a breakaway."
A puncture by Rian Gouws delayed the plan, but Bradley Mitchell paced Gouws back to the group. Then Jennings went and was soon joined by Maiorana. The lead kept hovering around the 45-second margin before extending to one minute in the end.
Team OUCH to Battenkill
Team OUCH presented by Maxxis will race in the 2009 Tour of the Battenkill, April 18-19, 2009 in Cambridge, New York. The team will send a strong roster for the two-day battle, hoping to come out with overall victory.
The preliminary team roster includes recent Vuelta a Mexico Sprint Champion Karl Menzies of Tasmania, five-time US Cyclocross Champion Tim Johnson and 2008 Tour of Taiwan Champion John Murphy of Jacksonville, FL.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Kim Rose-Gershow
Elite Women, 117km 1 Lynette Burger (Pro Lab Ladies) 3.25.07 (34.22 km/h) 2 Ashleigh Moolman (Pro Lab Ladies) 3 Cherise Taylor (Club 100) 4 Robyn De Groot (Nashua Telecoms) 5 Jade Roberts (Nashua Telecoms) 6 Marissa Van Der Merwe (Club 100) 7 Yolandi Du Toit (Mugg & Bean) 8 Yolande De Villiers (Pro Lab Ladies) 9 Cashandra Slingerland (Club 100) 0.21 10 An-Li Pretorius (Nashua Telecoms) 3.59 11 Chrissie Viljoen (Club 100) 4.38 12 Erica Green (Cycling Club Helderberg) Elite Men, 195km 1 James Ball (House of Paint Cycling Team) 4.53.33 (39.86 km/h) 2 Daryl Impey (Barloworld) 3 Kosie Laubser (Konica) 4 Nicholas White (Medscheme) 0.14 5 Jay Robert Thomson (MTN) 0.51 6 David George (MTN) 0.58 7 Clinton Barrow (Garmin) 1.18 8 Henning Jooste (Queens Wheelers) 9 Pieter Seyffert (Konica) 1.26 10 John-Lee Augustyn (Barloworld) 11 Sven Teutenberg (MTN) 1.33 12 Johann Rabie (Neotel) 13 Jaco Venter (Club Garmin) 14 Casey Munroe (Konica) 15 Johannes J Kachelhoffer (Medscheme) 16 Shaun Ward (Konica) 17 Luthando Kaka (Ascends Cycling Club) 18 Ian McLeod (MTN) 2.43 19 Jacques j.v. Rensburg (Mugg & Bean) 20 James Perry (Neotel) 2.44 21 Christoff Van Heerden (MTN) 2.45 22 Dean Edwards (House of Paint Cycling Team) 5.28 23 Tiaan Swart (Konica) 13.30 24 David Brown (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 25 Tiaan Kannemeyer (Neotel) 17.27 26 Prince Maluleke (Ascends Cycling Club) 20.32 27 Songezo Jim (Ascends Cycling Club) 20.34 28 Dylan Girdlestone (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 26.39 29 Kurt Arendse (Ascends Cycling Club) Junior Men, 117km 1 Christopher Jennings (Garmin) 2.55.01 (40.11 km/h) 2 Stefano Maiorana (Garmin) 3 Jon Van Gesselleen (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 1.00 4 Rourke Croeser (Zululand Cycling Club) 5 Avery Arendse (Yorkshire Cycling Club) 6 Ivan Haasbroek (Mr Price YCA) 7 Pieter Hendrik Herbst (Mr Price YCA) 8 Shaun-Nick Bester (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 9 Danzil Afrika (Oudtshoorn Cycling Club) 10 Donavan Lubbe (Mr Price YCA) 11 Jarred Salzwedel (Mugg & Bean) 12 Daniel Heyns (New Balance Multisport) 13 Ryan Ellis (House of Paint Cycling Team) 14 Quinton Simpson (Mugg & Bean) 15 Divan Van Der Berg (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 16 Calvin Beneke (Beneke Sports) 17 Viehann Du Plessis (Speke Cycling Club) 18 Charl Van Der Berg (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 19 Chris De Jongh (Mr Price) 20 Gerrit Nel (Walmer Cycling Club) 21 Kyle Donachie (New Balance Multisport) 22 Johann Van Zyl (Garmin) 23 Joshua Windt (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 24 Richard McIver (Cyclelab WP) 25 David Andrew De Klerk (Speke Cycling Club) 26 Oupa Maluleke (Medscheme Cycling Club) 27 Cornel Jacobs (Lindsay Saker) 28 Victor Malan Grobbelaar (Tygerberg) 29 Albertus Van Der Walt (Mr Price Cycling Academy) 0.58 30 Simon Luke Adler (Cyclelab WP) 31 Jaco Steynberg (Lindsay Saker) 1.17 32 Bradley Mitchell (Garmin) 33 Daniel William Coribel (Mr Price YCA) 3.03 34 Neil Kruger (Club 100) 35 Hendrik Kruger (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 36 Riaan Gouws (Garmin) 37 Ruan Keun (Mr Price) 38 Simphiwer Mhlakaza (Medscheme Cycling Club) 3.24 39 J C Nel (Mr Price) 5.23 40 Adam Reyneke (Garmin) 41 Jacques Visser (Mr Price YCA) 5.37 42 Waldo Gronum (Mr Price YCA) 43 Stuart Strachan (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 44 Louis Meintjies (Cyclelab Toyota) Junior Women, 70km 1 Michele Corbett (Konica) 2.23.45 (32.56 km/h) 2 Claire Matthews (Mr Price) 3 Elizabeth Samson (Toyota Supercycling Academy) 4 Fran Van Der Merwe (Mr Price YCA) 5 Danielle Dalton (Zululand Cycling Club) 6 Nicole Terblanche (Mr Price NW) 7 Caitlin De Wet (Molteno Cycling Club) 0.02 8 Lilandi Swanepoel (Mr Price) 2.39 9 Danika Gerber (Oudtshoorn Cycling Club) 8.23 10 Elzanne Myburgh (Toplay DIY) 11 Nicolene Van Der Sandt (Hillbillies MTB Club) 23.35