South African ladies are once again the toast of continental cycling, as confirmed by this year’s UCI-sanctioned African Continental Championships, which have just concluded in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.
This year’s entries boasted a record number of fourteen countries, represented by Cameroon, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, Sao Tomé and Principe, Central African Republic, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Guinea and South Africa.
The course for the third edition of the Championships was an undulating route through the hills close to the residence of the President, which UCI delegate Jean-Pierre Van Zyl had declared himself to be well pleased with: "It’s a difficult circuit, and certainly one in which the climbers will be favoured," said Van Zyl.
The African Continental Championships comprised of 2 heats, a road race and time trials, and defending champion, South Africa’s Yolandi de Villiers was hyped as a strong climber to defend her title, which she claimed in Mauritius last year.
But the women’s time trial was won by South Africa’s Lynette Burger, followed by her compatriot Yolandi du Toit, while 2006 African Time Trial champion, Mauritian Aurélie Halbwachs, finished off the top three.
In the women’s road race, South African cyclists announced their intentions of a challenging course when their planned attacks began as early as the third lap, their intention to win a maximum of points.
Marissa van der Merwe promptly danced up the climb to leave her fellow competitors in her wake, with only Lynette Burger following in pursuit to capture the second place, with Yolandi du Toit rounding up the medals for 3rd place.
Women’s Road Race: