Conrad Viljoen bulldozed his rivals to bag all three titles at the Eastern Province elite road cycling championships at Cows Corner in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.
The 24-year-old team leader of the Mecer-NMMU squad started his winning sequence with a dominant performance in the 40km time-trial on Friday morning, blitzing the wind-swept course on Old Cape Road in 53 minutes 47 seconds.
In the afternoon Viljoen collected his second gold when he scaled the steep five-kilometre ascent from the old Seaview Hotel in 8:06, in the process putting more than a minute between himself and his closest rival.
He completed his haul of golds on Sunday when he successfully defended his title in the 138km road race in 3:41:18.
In this final event, Toyota-Cycle Lab’s Kevin Dorfling took advantage of the slow early pace to break away and build a substantial lead on the first of four 34,5km circuits.
He was joined by the Mecer-NMMU trio of Viljoen, Mark Murray and Jade Muller at the beginning of the second lap after they had bridged most of the gap on the Three Sisters ascent.
Together the four built a minute’s lead over the chasing bunch, which was embroiled in a tactical battle.
Muller, who was nursing a cold, was forced to call a premature halt to his day when he developed breathing problems while the leaders were climbing Three Sisters for the second time.
Shortly afterwards, Dorfling also paid for his early exploits when he dropped off the pace in sight of the summit.
This left Viljoen and Murray at the front for the final two laps or 70km. They combined well to stretch their lead to over two minutes on the third lap and even further towards the finish.
In the elite section of the road race, the silver and bronze medals went to Friendly City Cycles’ Antal Meiswinkel (3:48:47) and Toyota-Cycle Lab’s Doug Shadwell (4:05:02) respectively.
Murray (3:41:17) claimed the U/23 crown ahead of Mecer-NMMU’s Weslee Todkil and Friendly City Cycles’ Luthando Fatyi.
Shadwell (55:41) and Muller (1:02:27) completed the podium in the elite 40km time-trial and Shadwell (9:15) and Mecer-NMMU’s Ryan Raffan (10:45) were second and third respectively in the hill climb.
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