The South African Road Race Championships saw Louis Meintjes come away with the national jersey. In a thrilling race, the South African took the jersey ahead of national TT champion Daryl Impey and defending champion Jay Thompson.
After 36 km of the race, a breakaway was formed. It consisted of Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Jayde Julius (Bonitas), James Fourie (Europcar SA) and Darren Lill (Cannondale-Blend). They started to increase their lead and halfway in the race, it reached a little over 4 minutes. Then the peloton woke up and started railing the breakaway in. Jacques Janse Van Rensburg wanted to try his chances and attacked the group.
On the final lap, with only 18 km to go, Janse Van Rensburg was reeled in by an 8-man group, which consisted of Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE), Nolan Hoffman (Team Abantu), Christopher Jennings (Bonitas), Dylan Girdlestone (Bonitas), Darren Lill (Cannondale-Blend), Jay Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka) and the winner Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka).
MTN-Qhubeka used their number of riders to make the group even smaller than it was. Janse Van Rensburg sacrificed himself to position Meintjes and Thomson in the front with Impey with only 6 km to go.
“Jay and I had a discussion and he said with the way he was feeling, it would be better for me to have a go at the finish. So the plan was for him to attack early and make Daryl have to chase. I would just sit and cover the move and then on the last little climb I will try make the acceleration. So yeah, luckily it worked out,” Meintjes said modestly.
Team principal Douglas Ryder is very happy with a rider from MTN-Qhubeka will wear the South African National Jersey when they are returning to Europe.
“We are incredibly excited to have the national jersey going back into the European season. Louis was second at the world championships last year and to become elite national champion at his age, still being an u23 is fantastic,” Ryder continued. “He will do the jersey proud. He is going to ride a lot of stage races this year, so he will be very visible in the European peloton. It’s just fantastic that he will be wearing the national jersey.”
There was some drama at the end of the race with Daryl Impey having some mechanical troubles. Ryder says that I would have been nice to see Impey win the race, due to his role in South African cycling.
“It would have been wonderful for Daryl to win, he is a great campaigner for South African cycling and would also do the jersey absolutely proud. We did work really, really, hard for this though and so we super excited to take the jersey into Europe for another year.” concluded Ryder.
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