Conrad Viljoen of the Mecer-NMMU cycling club in Port Elizabeth capped a golden period for the university team when he added the Eastern Province individual time-trial title to the team’s scalps of the past month on Sunday.
Viljoen, whose season was derailed two months ago when he broke his collarbone in a crash at the national championships, showed he was back to his best with a dominant performance in the 44-kilometre test against the watch.
He will now be full of confidence for his upcoming foray into the biggest league of all when he takes on the country’s best in the Carousel Classic over 150 kilometres in Gauteng on Saturday.
Viljoen’s first senior time-trial title comes after the Mecer-NMMU squad’s recent domination of the Jaco Rademeyer Criterium Series, which took place over four legs of 63 kilometres each at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in July. Not only did their rising star Wesley Augustyn secure the overall title, but the team managed to win all four legs as well.
First blood was drawn by Andrew Crossman, after which Augustyn laid the foundation for the overall title with victory in the second leg.
Viljoen made his comeback to competitive cycling in the penultimate race and surprised his rivals by winning easily. The final leg was won by team-mate Sean Baillie.
Mecer-NMMU’s run of strong performances started at the national championships for students (USSA) in Stellenbosch at the beginning of July. They showed their depth and consistency by placing second overall in the road race section after five tough stages of racing.
Augustyn shone in the individual placings by securing a top-ten finish overall and Stephan Strauss proved his class by winning the bronze medal in the mountainbike race.
Theresa le Roux, sports manager for cycling at the university, says she is extremely proud of the team’s achievements over the past few months.
“They have shown themselves to be a force in local and national competition, which is the excellence we strive for.”
The team – consisting of Viljoen, Strauss, Crossman, Baillie, Ryan Raffan and Sebastian Lokotch – will ride their next big race in September when they will be supporting Viljoen in his bid to defend his title in the Lorraine Cycle Tour.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University