Lidl-Trek’s Ryan Gibbons sealed double South African national titles in Midvaal, winning the elite men’s road race on Sunday after claiming the time trial title on Friday.
“I’m really chuffed to pick up the win, especially with the added pressure when you’re expected to win it, it makes it that much sweeter,” Gibbons said. “To do the double and start this season with Lidl-Trek so successfully is a dream come true and I’m really looking forward to wearing the South African flag throughout the rest of the season.”
The only WorldTour rider in the race, Gibbons soloed in at the end of 182km of racing with a lead of 2:09 over runner-up Tristan Nortje. Morne Van Niekerk (St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93) was third.
“It was a really hot day and I always had a target on my back, which makes it a bit hard when you’re racing without teammates, but fortunately I had a few good friends who were in my corner today,” Gibbons said.
“The break went quite early and it contained some strong riders and the gap went up to around five minutes at one point. With around 75km to go, I asked my two allies in the peloton to start going a bit harder but the other guys were not riding with us which was quite negative.
“At 70km to go I launched solo and slowly caught the breakaway one by one, and I caught the last guy with about 40km to go. We rode together for a while and then with 20km to go I attacked him and went to the finish solo.”
Carla Oberholzer won her second South African title in the women’s road race, out-sprinting Hayley Preen from a two-rider breakaway. Preen won the time trial on Friday.
In Ecuador, Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers) got the better of time trial champion and former teammate Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) in the 180.6km road race in Riobamba.
Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) added another medal after his silver in the time trial with third.
Miryam Nuñez (Primeau Vélo-Groupe Abadie) added national titles number eight and nine, taking the elite women’s victory in the time trial and road race.