South African Jason Meaton was “stoked” to have won the 140km Mine2Mine Road Race in Zambia on Sunday.
Meaton won the same race last year when it was 120km in length and he managed to defend his title this time round in 3:34:03, beating Michael Olokani and Ray Keane in a sprint to the finish.
“I am very stoked to have won it again and to defend my title from last year,” Meaton said. “It was very nice that they extended the route this year.”
Meaton, who specialises in mountain-biking, said it was a challenge adjusting to the surface.
“It is always a bit difficult adjusting to the road, but I do also thoroughly enjoy my road riding. It adds a completely different element to cycling than mountain-biking, having to work within a team.
“There was more competition this year. The guys from Kansanshi Mine [in Zambia], who we actually race against, have really stepped up their game and gave us a good run for the win this year.
“They have learnt a lot and made many improvements. It was like riding in South Africa. We needed good tactical teamwork.”
The route was difficult, Meaton said. “There were quite a few tough climbs. The tar road was very well looked after though, and it was very nice to ride on.
“It was also very scenic,” he added.
Meaton, who hails from Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, said he originally targeted the King of the Mountains title, before he found himself in with a sniff late in the race.
“I managed to get the KOM and thereafter a breakaway went ahead, which we took about 30km to chase down. After pulling them back there was another attack off the front with about 20km left.
“Then in the last 15km I broke away from the group to catch the breakaway. I rode with that breakaway until the finish where we sprinted it out to the line.”
Meaton will now turn his focus back to mountain-biking and will take part in the three-stage 1Zambia MTB race from June 1 to 3.
South Africa’s Anriette Schoeman, also an Eastern Cape local, won the women’s category and finished fifth overall in 3:35:55.