The 2020 KZN Provincial Road Championships was successfully staged by Johann Wykerd and his team supported by the KZN Road Commission in Wartburg on the weekend of 25th & 26th January. A good size field across all the varying age categories including a large contingent of KZN Cycling Development HP squad riders competed in the time trial and road race competitions on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The roads in the Wartburg area have been used on a number of different occasions over the years for major events including National and African Continental Road Championships and also the UCI Masters Road World Championships as far back as 2012, and the minimal traffic in the area allied to the rolling nature of the terrain always makes for great racing conditions – and yet challenging enough to ensure all riders are tested completely.
Saturday’s time trial saw races over 15km, 20km and 30km – the length varying according to the age categories – and despite a large proportion of the main men’s race top twenty results being filled by the older gents, it was the impetuous youngster, Travis Stedman, still a Junior rider, that won the day and was crowned as the Provincial Time Trial Champion. Frances Janse van Rensburg and Tiffany Keep, both U23 women took the top sports in the women’s event.
On day two, the various road race competitions took place in hot and windy conditions that put paid to many a rider’s chances and in the earlier races, the development squad performed exceptionally well with a clutch of medals attained, including a Championships title in the U17 boys race for Thabiso Zindela who had been narrowly beaten in the TT the day before. Tiffany Keep and Frances Janse van Rensburg were again the top two women on the day, but with their positions reversed with Tiffany coming out on top in the road race. In the main man’s race of the day, the KZN Road Team were well represented in the break of the day but again no one could keep up with Travis Stedman who rode exceptionally well to take the overall title as well as his Junior category. Henry Liebenberg (U23) was in second place overall and the winner of the U23 category with Luke Chambers rounding out the podium and winning the Elite category gold.
Another good provincial championships staged and all riders are looking forward to carrying their good form forward to the National Road Championships in Mpumalanga in February.
The eyes of the South African cycling will focus on the small Drakensberg village of Bergville next week when the Drakensberg Extravaganza rolls into town for a sporting and cultural festival with the road cycling race which starts and finishes in Bergville on the 24th November being one of the sporting highlights of the 11-day festival.
This year the road riders have a choice of three distances from a short 15km fun ride, a 40km intermediate event up to a serious 84km test. The start and finish of all events is in Bergville with the 84km riders completing a loop around the picturesque Woodstock Dam. All three routes feature some stunning vistas and competitors will ride with the Drakensberg mountain range creating a massive backdrop to their efforts.
The long route, which has been reversed from 2018, includes some testing climbs and a flat final 25km which means the top riders are faced with a test of fitness and tactics as they aim for a share of the generous prize fund. The route has been carefully put together to ensure it is not so arduous that the backmarkers will not also enjoy their day in the saddle.
For more information and entry forms go to http://drakensbergextra.co.za/ or contact Michelle on 084 407 5566 or Kelvin on 082 446 9833. Online entries are via ROAG (www.roag.co.za) and entries close on Sunday.
Travis Stedman was one of only three South Africans and the only rider from KZN invited to take part in the Junior Tour of Ireland that finished on Sunday 14th July. This international six day event over 540km was always going to be a big challenge for Travis as a first year junior but the young man took on all comers and performed exceptionally well. Solid riding on every stage saw him finishing close to the front each day which led him getting onto the podium in third place overall and also winning the best Young Rider category. A great performance and assisting to further the aims of KZN as a winning province.