The relative newcomer to the road cycling discipline knew that the race would be decided at the turnaround point on the 31km out-and-back route, which is how it unfolded as the headwind prevailed for their return.
“The route surface was divine,” said Sanders. “It was very fast and we also enjoyed full road closure, which is always great. The plan of action was to go out steady and drive it hard after the turnaround and I felt that I executed that well.
“I turned myself inside out and so it should be – you leave your pain gauge at the start blocks for a TT. My goal was certainly to podium and I tried hard for a gold medal but I was well aware of the strength of both Vera & Girubuntu. It was nail biting waiting for them to finish.”
It was Namibian Vera Adrian (23) who ultimately claimed the gold medal, surpassing Sanders’ time by 11 seconds. Second place and the silver medal went to Jeanne D’arc Girubuntu (21) of Rwanda.
“I am disappointed not to have won but I am really hungry now and have learnt valuable lessons from the event. This is only my second ever TT, the first being in Wartburg at SA National Champs, so there is some polishing that has to be done but I am certainly up for the challenge and would like to be back to fight for gold next year.”
Sanders and her teammates – Lise Olivier, An-Li Kachelhoffer and Anriette Schoeman – will compete in the Road Race on Thursday 25 February.
Summary of Results – 2016 CAC (African Cycling Confederation) Road Cycling Championships
Individual Time Trial – Elite Women
1.Vera ADRIAN (NAM) 46:47
2.Jeanne D'arc GIRUBUNTU (RWA) +1
3.Samantha SANDERS (RSA) +11
4.Wogahta GEBREHIWET (ERI) +1:11
5.Mossana DEBESAI (ERI) +1:43
6.Aurelie HALBWACHS (MRI) +2:04
7.Lise OLIVIER (RSA)+2:10
8.Helen MITCHELL (ZIM) +4:12
9.Eden BEKELE (ETH) +4:16
10.Fatima Zahra EL HIYANI (MAR) +4:31