At the South African road cycling champions in East London on Sunday, Ian McLeod claimed his first major victory in four years by taking out the 181 kilometre elite men's road race. The 27 year-old from Vereeniging, who had a spell at ProTour team Française des Jeux in 2005, has struggled with injuries in recent years but returned to winning ways with strong support from his MTN Energade team.
"The team won the race today. I was just lucky to be in the right place when the winning move went," said the modest McLeod, who had prepared specifically over the past two months for the national championships. "The course suits me and I knew that if I had the support of the team, I could secure the title. A lot of my teammates rode themselves into a coma for me today so it feels good to have the title in the team as a reward. We all won today, not just me."
McLeod's team had 11 riders in Sunday's race, and ripped the bunch to shreds after 70 kilometres when the peloton hit a strong crosswind. The finish came down to a two-man sprint with McLeod edging out U23 rider Janse Van Rensburg. "Jacques is a classy rider and he rode really well. But he was up against numbers today and as elite's we certainly weren't going to let an under-23 rider beat us all to the finish," said McLeod.