University of Cape Town (UCT) cyclists did the institution proud in the recent University Sports South Africa (USSA) Cycling Championships 2019, with team members Hayley Preen and Courtney Webb taking second and third places overall in the women’s event.
Preen also took two silvers (Sprinter’s jersey and King of the Mountain) while, Webb, cycling in her USSA debut, took the King of the Mountain (KoM) bronze.
The UCT men’s team, meanwhile, walked away with two podium finishes on stages, as well as a silver in the Sprinter’s jersey and a third overall for the team position, behind very strong University of Pretoria (Tuks) and Stellenbosch University (Maties) teams.
The championships, held over four days at the beginning of July, comprised a road tour, hill climb, individual time trial and a criterium, as well as a mountain bike race.
The men’s champion’s crown went to Tuks student Alexander Worsdale, while Tiffany Keep (Varsity College) took the women’s title.
For the UCT men, Luke Evans was able to gather enough points in the 125 km first stage to place himself in second position for the Sprinter’s jersey and third for KoM, as well as third overall, setting the team up to chase a stage win in the next 75 km short stage.
Evans managed to secure second place in the KoM challenge, but didn’t have the Stage 3 hill climb he’d hoped for to defend his third spot in the overall, general classification (GC). Stage 4 didn’t do him any favours either.
In the Stage 5 criterium, team captain Martin Freyer and Evans fought back valiantly, with Freyer narrowly beaten to the line by Gert Heyns, the Maties student who was crowned USSA mountain bike champion for the first time in his career when the championships concluded in Stellenbosch.
UCT’s women’s team, prepared for three days of hard racing, saw Preen finish second in both the long stage (100 km) and the short stage (63 km). Webb’s third place in the latter stage, a few minutes behind Preen and several minutes ahead of her competitor in the third GC spot, bumped Webb up from eighth to fourth in the GC.
Preen was again second in the Stage 3 hill climb. Webb finished fourth, closing the time gap on the GC third place.
“With the majority of the team still eligible to race for UCT for another year, we are excited to see what future racing holds.”
Stage 4 saw an impressive result for the home team, with four cyclists finishing in the top 10 – Preen in second, Webb in sixth, Megan McCarley in seventh and Saskia van der Merwe in 10th.
The final criterium saw another second-place finish for Preen, and a fourth spot for Van der Merwe.
The women’s team also won the team classification.
McCarley said the biggest take-home from USSA 2019 was the overall improvement in the women’s racing team.
“With the majority of the team still eligible to race for UCT for another year, we are excited to see what future racing holds,” she said.
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