Jaco Venter led home a Dimension Data one-two in the South African national road race as he secured his first ever national title. Stefan de Bod from the Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental squad took second place in the race to win the under 23 title to add to his time trial victory from a few days before.
Venter’s senior teammate Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg, who finished second in the time trial earlier in the week, claimed second again in the senior standings with Clint Hendricks in third. Venter finished 25 seconds ahead of de Bod, after attacking in the final 10 kilometres.
“Obviously, it is an awesome feeling to be national champion. I have tried for a few years to win the championships so it is good to finally have done it,” Venter said. “At the start of the race, we all had a green card from the team to go for the win so the team was really motivated. In the beginning, we worked really well, we were always on the front foot and in all the moves.
“Jacques and Songezo got into a good move that I thought was going to stay away but Daryl and Louis were just so strong. From there we just had to take control again with a few attacks, I went with about 10km to go, got a gap and just gave it my all. It worked and I am really happy to have taken the win.”
Despite an aggressive start to the race, it took until the 50-kilometre mark for a break to finally stick. Defending champion Jacques Janse Van Rensburg made it away with teammate Songezo Jim, Calvin Beneke (Panda) and Kent Main (Road Cover), building up a lead of seven minutes. It was then that time trial champion Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) and Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) set off in chase.
Their attack resulted in an up in pace from the peloton and the escapees out front and the leading four began to reduce in numbers. With 30 kilometres to go Janse van Rensburg and Beneke were the only ones remaining with just a two-minute advantage and they would soon be caught. Attacks continued to come off the front, with Venter making his race-winning move at 10 kilometres to go.
Meintjes and Impey were unable to respond after their lengthy break earlier in the day, but a handful of riders did try to follow. Venter had, however, done enough and won by a comfortable 25 seconds.
An-Li Kachelhoffer took the women’s title on Saturday, beating Lise Olivier by seven seconds.