Bay cyclists reign supreme
Top honours for Gouveris and Schoeman at East Cape Cycling Champs
Port Elizabeth cyclist Bradley Gouveris was a cut above the rest of the field as he powered home to claim first place at the Eastern Cape Road Cycling Championships at the weekend.
Gouveris, battling a tough start and a bicycle change, took the victory in the men’s race as well as taking the overall honours.
Nelson Mandela Bay cyclist Anriette Schoeman got her season off to the perfect start as she crossed the line to claim first in the ladies race and third place overall in the 102-kilometre race which began at Altona Primary School on Sunday morning. Speaking about his race, Gouveris said the result came as somewhat of an unexpected surprise given his bike troubles during some stages of the race.
“It was not the best race for me, from the start my bike gave me some problems, so it was not running as it should be.
"So with only a lap to go, I had to swap bikes with my dad, who was a support rider, so I had to adapt to riding the other bike, and luckily it worked out well for me,” he said.
“The race was not ideal, granted everything that had happened earlier on, but I knew that if I was in the sprinting bunch towards the end, I could do well, so I am very happy with the win,” he added.
Despite fighting back from illness, Schoeman showed why she is one of the top cyclists in the country as she scooped the win in her first race of the season.
Speaking to The Herald on Monday afternoon, Schoeman said she did not expect to take the win, as her fitness was not at a point where she wanted it to be.
“I had suffered some illness over the festive season and have been on antibiotics, so it was a bit difficult for me to get back to full training as I had to recover from that first.
“In the race, I sustained a puncture on the final lap, so I had to chase quite was to get back to the sprinting bunch, I thought my race was over.
"so it was really hard and I had to look after myself to the end,” she said.
Gouveris, who competed at the Action Cycles Criterium series held earlier this month, where he claimed the overall series win, said this result, as well as his criterium results, were great in that it showed him where he was in terms of preparation for the upcoming season.
Schoeman echoed these sentiments and added that she would be hard at work getting back to her best with some massive races still to come on her calendar.
With more than a 100 cyclists taking to the start line across the various categories, the race started at a very high pace, eliminating any breakaways.
Within the first six kilometres, several riders went down ending Lauren Coleman’s race as she had to withdraw with a hand injury. This was followed by another crash 18km into the race.
Juanita Mackenzie (Bestmed NMU) and Sharlize Potgieter (Bestmed) lost contact with the leading bunch 35km into the race on the notorious Surrey Hills climb. Both took gold medals in the ECC Time Trial Championships a day earlier.
At this stage, the ladies left in the main bunch were Anriette Schoeman, Siska van der Bijl and Elne Owen. However, disaster struck for Owen 45km into the race when she crashed with several men and had to withdraw from the race.
Heading into the last 15km, Andre Nelson launched numerous attacks as he attempted to get away but was quickly neutralised by the sprinters.
Gouveris made his move in the last 250m followed closely by Adriaan Oosthuizen (Bestmed NMU).
Gouveris took 1st place with Oosthuizen 2nd.
Anriette Schoeman (Africa Silks Bestmed) showed terrific form when she took 3rd overall place in the sprint followed by top junior Ryno Gerber. Adam Mackenzie finished overall in the 5th place.
Schoeman was the first women to finish with Siska van der Bijl second, also in the main bunch. All top five riders finished in the same bunch time of 02:38:47...