The African Continental Track Cycling Championships concluded in Pietermaritzburg today with the hosts, South Africa, having dominated the podium.
Maroesjka Matthee led the medal charge with an outstanding showing throughout.
Looking back on her domination of the Championships, Matthee said: “It went very well. Coming into the Champs, I felt very, very strong. The omnium was a highlight; I won all of the events in the omnium, which is something I really wanted to do, and I am happy to have done that.”
For women, the omnium is made up of six events: the scratch race, the 3 000 metres individual pursuit, the elimination race, the 500 metres time trial, the flying lap and the 25 kilometre points’ race.
South African men’s star Nolan Hoffman teamed up with Morne van Niekerk to take victory in the Madison, raced over 40 kilometres. Although they were favoured to take the title, it was a tough outing, Hoffman admitted afterwards.
“It was a difficult race. We went into it a bit under-geared and we suffered a bit from that because we tried to take a lap on the field, but the gearing was too small and once we had the gap we were floating out there.”
On Friday South Africa’s Mitchell Sparrow proved himself to be the fastest junior sprinter on Friday after he edged out his team-mate Wade Theunissen for the title, while hard work was rewarded when Jac-Johan Steyn claimed the elite men’s omnium crown.
Sparrow had been the star junior of the event, but found himself on the back foot after Theunissen shocked him in heat one of the sprint finals.
“It was quite a surprise,” Sparrow admitted, “because the previous races I had had in the bag. It was a shock. Wade gave a really good effort there and beat me on the line. It really made me realise that I had to put in the hard work.
Jac-Johan Steyn, a member of the VWE-Europcar Track Academy, showed there is good talent at the Johannesburg-based club when he claimed the omnium gold medal.
“It’s hard, especially because I have not yet decided on the direction I want to go in, so I entered everything. I took it on as a training camp, and it has provided us with a good start to the year, and things can only get better from here,” he said.