Christopher Jennings, the reigning South African junior champion, secured a historic result on Sunday when he became the first South African junior male to win a top-graded UCI race in Europe. The young rider from DCM Chrome/ACI, who is representing his country in the International Cycling Union Nations Cup series, won the final stage of the Tour de Pays de Vaud in Switzerland.
"I cannot describe the feeling of having won a European race," said Jennings. "It is just amazing! I am so relieved that I have managed to do it, but I cannot take all the credit for this victory."
After spending the day in a breakaway, Jennings attacked on the final climb and took the victory solo in front of Eduard Michael Grosu (Romania) and Jesper Kousgaard (Denmark), both 33 seconds behind Jennings.
"I am so relieved that I have managed to do it"
"I am very grateful to my teammate, Johann van Zyl, who did everything in his power to help me set up the victory."
Van Zyl was in charge of driving the pace in the breakaway for Jennings to attack out of it on the last ascent. The two were together in an early escape. "Johann and Christopher managed to get away in a group with seven other riders," said ACI team manager Barry Austin. "Unfortunately, the riders had to ride into a headwind over the last 30 kilometres, which caused the peloton to catch up rapidly again.
"Before the final climb Christopher and the other riders still had a lead of 33 seconds."
Jennings then attacked, and kept his cool until the end. "During the last three kilometres I noticed that the Danish rider and a rider from the USA looked at each other and hesitated. I took advantage of that moment," said Jennings.
The Tour de Vaud overall classification was won by USA's Nathan Brown. Jennings finished an overall eighth. (HK)