Rest of Africa shine

2015-02-13 00:00

IT was the turn of the rest of Africa to shine at the Confederation of African ­Cycling Road Championships as El ­Mehdi Chokri of Morocco and Helen Mitchell from Zimbabwe walked away with the gold medals in the junior men’s and women’s road races respectively on day four of the event yesterday.

The Moroccan rider came into the race with a clear plan and with an undulating course his plan played out exactly like he wanted to and the course was well suited to his strengths, which he exploited ­successfully.

“I am hugely excited with my result today [yesterday],” Chokri said. “We came into the race with a basic plan and that was to make sure that we didn’t get down to an end sprint which is what we managed to do and I got away from the field on the final climb which was the plan and stayed clear.”

The group reassembled with about six kilometres to go but Chokri knew that if he could make a break on the final climb he was going to be in the clear, so remaining in the front bunch until then was all he felt he needed to do before the break.

“I am a good climber so the course was definitely going to suit me and just staying with the front guys meant that I could make a late attack,” he said.

“When I got away I was always wary of what was happening around me and I felt like I was in control of the race from there and it meant that I could enjoy the moment when I came into the finish.”

Algeria’s Islam Mansouri claimed the silver medal that will go with his second place in the Individual Time Trial on Tuesday.

The junior women’s race was also a ding-dong affair with a sprint finish ­leaving Mitchell surprised by her ­performance and glad that the race panned out well for her and her ­team-mate Skye Davidson.

“It was a tough race out there today and myself and Skye didn’t quite know what was going to happen but we knew that we just had to stay with the South African riders and we would have a chance at the end,” Mitchell said.

“I knew that if the bunch was together going into the last bit of the race that there was going to be a sprint and I felt good going into it but was really ­surprised when I finished first.”

Frances du Toit rounded out the podium in the junior women’s road race and added a bronze medal to the Individual Time Trial gold medal that she won on Tuesday.

Today’s schedule will commence with the elite women’s road races starting at 9.30 am.

More information, including the road closures for Wartburg and surrounds, can be found at http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-african-conti-road-champs

Live streaming for this event will be available at www.streamit360.tv.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

Road Race

Junior Men

1. El Medhi Chokri (MAR) 1:43.43.584

2. Islam Mansouri (ALG) 1:43.57.454

3. Brandon Plaatjies (NAM) 1:44.22.325

4. Ahishakiye Leonidas (BUR) 1:44.22.656

5. Mohcine El Kouraji (MAR) 1:46.16.422

Junior Women

1. Helen Mitchell (ZIM) 1:23.31.569

2. Skye Davidson (ZIM) 1:23.31.936

3. Frances du Toit (RSA) 1:23.31.984

4. Lynette Benson (RSA) 1:23.32.193

5. Manson Swart (RSA) 1:23.32.416

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