African Continental Championships road race podium
Today I won gold and Cherise Taylor took silver in the African Continental Championships road race held
in Asmara, Eritrea earlier this morning. This is my first time representing South Africa at the continental
championships and I’m very happy to be bringing the African title home! Team mate Jo van de Winkel
narrowly missed bronze, when she was outsprinted by Aurelie Halbwachs from Mauritius.
Today’s race was a great example of team work. South Africa started racing aggressively from the gun
and it just so happened that my attack was the first to stick. I was shortly joined by team mate Cherise
Taylor and once we realised that Jo van de Winkel was not going to be able to join us, we started
working together to extend our lead.
Once both Cherise and I had gotten away, the racing back in the bunch became very negative. Aurelie
Halbwachs and the Eritrean girls marked Jo very closely and made it impossible for her to getaway
and stay away! This is very unfortunate as it would have been nice to have seen all three of us South
African’s on the podium, but none the less, Jo rode a great race and as a team, we are very happy with
Team South Africa sharing a moment with the Eritrean national women’s team
The African Continental Championships are very important for us as a nation. The UCI points won at the
road race today and the time trial on Friday help to boost South Africa’s ranking internationally. They
also help to boost our personal world rankings, which are important for Olympic qualification.
The London Olympics 2012 is a big goal for the South African women’s team. The more riders we can
qualify, the better! Currently South Africa is in a position to qualify two riders and we are working very
hard at qualifying a third before 31 May 2012.
The crowds lining the streets for today’s road race
Eritrea did an excellent job of hosting the Continental Championships! Both the time trial and the road
race were very well organised and controlled. We had full road closure for the entire race which took
place on a lap around the Eritrean capital city of Asmara this morning.
The support from the locals was also amazing! The streets were lined with thousands of passionate local
cycling fans shouting FORZA, FORZA, FORZA the entire day! What a wonderful experience. Something I
will remember for the rest of my life! It is really hard to explain the vibe we experienced today!
Tomorrow we will enjoy a sightseeing day in Eritrea.