I haven’t updated in a while…I have been up and down all around the past few weeks and contrary to belief, the life of a proffesional cyclist is super busy. Anyway not long after my trip to All Africa Games in Maputo, I was sitting in a plane on my way to Denmark. This time for the u23 World Champioinships.
I arrived on Saturday, first up for me was the Timetrial on Monday. I spent quite a bit of time on setting the bike up perfectly and riding it…getting use to the position and especially getting comfortable in the way it handles. On the start ramp I was ready, calm and confident, but it wasn’t until one of the first corners when my Tubby slightly rolled off centre…I couldn’t figure out what was going on and lost yonks of time at the end of the day. It was quite a freak accident., as I never experienced it happening before and I also tested the tubby at the All African Games a week before.
Louis Meintjes managed a solid ride, eventually finishing 18th, just over 2’30 down on the “Durbo the Turbo”, Luke Durbridge. It was an incredible pace that the Aussie managed to sustain, finishing off with an avg of over 49kmph.
At the road race I looked to make up for my TT aka “terrible time”. I felt quite confident about the finish as it was quite a hard drag in the final 600-700m. I felt that a powerful sprinter that managed to save the almost energy during the race would win.
I expected a much harder race, but everybody was quite nervous of each other and nervous to make a bad move. The plan for us was to get Johan van Zyl in the early break, with Reynardt Butler assisting. Then to use either Chris Jennings or Meintjes in the late break, with me for the finish. Things went quite to plan, as Louis managed to get into the late break, which at one point seemed quite dangerous. The stayed away for 2laps and where quite with 1 lap to go.
The finale was so chaotic with crashes happening every minute left, right and centre…One of those crashes occurred right in front of me with 2.5km to go. I thought I was going down and the guy behind me plowed so hard into me that my entire hamstring went into immediate cramp. I someone managed to stay upright, with both feet unclipped. I suddenly had to scramble and with the road very narrow it wasn’t possible to move up really.
I entered the final corner in about 40th place , but saw a gap in the inside and sprinted through it, moving up to 8th place in a few hundred meters. So I managed to get into the perfect position, but the effort that it required to get there took the sprint out of my legs. As the two Frenchmen accelerated, I also kicked out of the saddle but didn’t have any acceleration left. Hitting my max HR in final 30s I could only manage 17th place.
I would have like to do a bit better than that, nevertheless 17th is not bad. It’s a solid base for me and future u23 teams to work and improve on.
This was my first ever World Championships, and it was always something I wanted to experience. Thus a big thank you should go out to Cycling South Africa and team MTN Qhubeka, for making it possible for me to compete.