Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) claimed a record sixth title at the South African time trial championships Thursday, passing the record of five that he previously held with David George. The win in Wellington is Impey's fifth consecutive title out of seven attempts, dating back to his first elite championship in 2011.
"No-one has ever had six time trial titles here, so it is quite nice to have that achievement as well," Impey said. "In 2012 I didn’t ride the nationals, so it works out that in the elite nationals I have won this event each time I have raced.
Impey covered the 39.8-km course in a time of 49:14 to finish almost two minutes faster than his closest rival, Willie Smit. Dimension Data's Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was third.
"It started off well," Impey said. "I think I paced it really well, and from the start I could feel I was having a decent day. I could see I was putting time into Reinardt (J V Rensburg) early on and that was a good confidence booster and I kind of learnt a bit from last year how to pace it."
"It all worked out really well and I felt like I still had something to give so I was pretty chuffed with the effort in the end."
The elite men's South African National Championship road race takes place Sunday.
Bardet gets late start in Oman
Four of eight riders competing in the upcoming Tour of Oman [February 14-19] for AG2R La Mondiale will be starting their 2017 seasons at the six-day 2.HC race, including Tour de France runner-up Romain Bardet. Axel Domont, Mathias Frank and Sondre Holst Enger will also open their season in Oman. The quartet will be joined in the race by Alex Gougard, Gediminas Bagdonas, Hugo Houle and Oliver Naesen.
Bardet was set to open his campaign on home soil, but a shortfall in available police officers for La Mediterraneenne meant the race was cut from four days to two. Keen to rack up the race kilometres, Bardet will instead delay his planned start by three days at the Tour of Oman, where he finished runner-up last year.
Following the Tour of Oman, Bardet will continue with his first WorldTour race of the season at the Abu Dhabi Tour February 23-26. He'll be joined in that race by Axel Domont, Sondre Holst Enger, Domenico Pozzovivo, Ben Gastauer, Cyril Gautier, Mathias Frank and Christophe Riblon.
"Along with the management of the AG2R La Mondiale cycling team and my coach, we decided to postpone my return to racing by a little bit, and then kick off with these two stage races where there will be hot weather that will allow me to prepare in excellent conditions with a view towards being ready for Paris-Nice," Bardet said. "Last year, I performed pretty well at the Tour of Oman. It is a demanding race with a high level of competition. Then I will go to the Tour of Abu Dhabi, which will be my first time there, and my first WorldTour race of the season."
AG2R for Tour of Oman: Romain Bardet, Axel Domont, Mathias Frank, Sondre Holst Enger Alex Gougard, Gediminas Bagdonas, Hugo Houle, Oliver Naesen.
AG2R for Abu Dhabi Tour: Romain Bardet, Axel Domont, Sondre Holst Enger, Domenico Pozzovivo, Ben Gastauer, Cyril Gautier, Mathias Frank, Christophe Riblon.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA present 2017 line-up
Spanish Pro Continental squad Caja Rural-Seguros RGA presented a 20-man roster for the 2017 season Thursday in Pamplona. The line-up counts nine newcomers this season, with several international notables among the signees.
Russia's Yuri Trofimov – who joins Caja Rural from Tinkoff – is among those who will offer a veteran presence, while the likes of Australian Tour de l'Avenir stage winner Nick Schultz and former Spanish junior national champ Alex Aranburu provide the team with developing talent.
Fuji will continue to supply the squad's bikes this year.
"This season, we have a very young team and you really feel the enthusiasm," said longtime Caja Rural veteran Fabricio Ferrari via a team press release.
"I enjoy working with my teammates and helping the young riders evolve and achieve great results."
Caja Rural for 2017: Alex Aranburu, David Arroyo, Miguel Ángel Benito, Chris Butler, Fabricio Ferrari, Jon Irisarri, Jonathan Lastra, Lluis Mas, Antonio Molina, Justin Oien, Dylan Page, Sergio Pardilla, Eduard Prades, Rafael Reis, Jaime Rosón, Diego Rubio, Héctor Sáez, Nick Schultz, Yuri Trofimov, Josu Zabala.
LottoNL-Jumbo for Algarve and Andalucía
LottoNL-Jumbo will divide into sprinters and climbers as the Dutch WorldTour team continue their season with two five-day 2.HC races in Spain and Portugal. The climbers will head to Spain for the Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta Del Sol, while the sprinters will test their legs in Portugal at the Volta ao Algarve. Both races will take place February 15-19.
The sprint train in Algarve will be built around Dylan Groenewegen, while Primož Roglič will carry the team's general classification hopes. Roglič was fifth overall last year after finishing third on the climb to Alto da Fóia, which is the finish for stage 2 this year. Sprint finishes are expected on stages 1 and 4, while stage 3 is an 18-km time trial around Sagres.
The Andalucía roster will include two riders, Antwan Tolhoek and Floris Tier, who will be making their debuts with the team. The 178-km queen stage on the second day ends with the climb to Será la Peña del Águila. Stage 3 is a 12-km time trial between Lucena and Cordoba.
LottoNL-Jumbo for Volta ao Algarve: Lars Boom, Dylan Groenewegen, Gijs Van Hoecke, Tom Leezer, Primož Roglič, Timo Roosen, Robert Wagner, Maarten Wynants
LottoNL-Jumbo for Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta Ciclista Del Sol: Jurgen Van den Broeck, Victor Campenaerts, Stef Clement, Martijn Keizer, Bram Tankink, Floris De Tier, Antwan Tolhoe
Gazprom-RusVelo for Trofeo Laigueglia
Gazprom-RusVelo will continue their season this weekend at the 1.HC Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy. The 192.5-km one-day counts the Colla Micheri and Capo Mele among its challenges. Both hills are approximately 2km in length, with the Colla Micheri being markedly steeper. The final time up the Capo Mele will come 4km before the finish.
"We set high goals on each race, and Laigueglia is not an exception," said Sports Director Paolo Rosola. "We have a strong line-up which was formed for this exact type route. Brutt and Rovny – are our top men. The altimetry of 'Laigueglia' is perfect for these guys and of course our aim is to win."
Gazprom-RusVelo roster for Trofeo Laigueglia: Ildar Arslanov, Pavel Brutt, Artem Nych, Andrey Solomennikov, Aidar Zakarin, Ivan Rovny, Ivan Savitsky and Anton Vorobyev.