Defending champion Bernard Esterhuizen won the elite men’s 1 500m race at the South African National Track Championships in the Western Cape yesterday.
Jean Smith and Wade Theunissen rounded out the podium.
“So far these champs have been up and down for me,” said Esterhuizen.
“I had a great team pursuit and the legs felt good. I did crash three weeks ago at the Cape Town Cycle Tour so I’ve had a bit of a bad month of training.
“This last race was very good for me. I think I have the legs to sprint but my endurance isn’t up where it should be. Next year it will be much better for the longer races.”
Esterhuizen was anticipating the 15km scratch race with another gold medal top of mind, but it was track cycling ace Nolan Hoffman who crossed the line first.
Esterhuizen and Calvin Beneke gave Hoffman a run for his money, but Hoffman had the legs in the end to finish it off and secure gold.
Jean Spies put in a solid performance throughout the scratch race. Esterhuizen and Graeme Ockhuis settled for silver and bronze medals respectively.
Later in the day, African Continental elite men’s scratch, sprint and time trial champion Jean Spies grabbed the gold medal in the 1 000m time trial with Smith taking silver and Mitchell Sparrow the bronze.
Jason Oosthuizen continued his winning spree in the junior men’s races when he cleaned up in the 1 000m time trial, 1 500m and 7.5km scratch race with teammate and friend Rickardo Broxham hot on his heels.
In the junior women’s team sprint Jessica Brown and Courtney Smith set out to break their own personal best time and came back with a new National Record.
“We really went out there today to break the time that we set at the African Continental Champs, and to have fun of course,” said Smith.
“Yes, of course we were looking at the record, but our major focus was on preparing ourselves for breaking our own personal best,” added Brown.