The racing division of Cycle Lab Toyota, South Africa’s largest cycling club, secured three gold and one silver medal on the first day of the 2012 South African Road Race Championships in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga on Thursday.

The individual time trial events got the four-day annual showpiece off to an exciting start with some top class performances. Conditions were hot and the racing course followed an undulating out-and-back route from the Mbombela Stadium on the outskirts of the province’s capital.

Cherise Taylor of the Momentum Toyota professional women’s team charged to victory in the Elite women’s 30km event, clocking a time of 45 minutes 34.92 seconds. It was the second successive gold medal in this event for the Beijing Olympian.


Cherise Taylor successfully defended her South African Elite women's time title.

Photo: Dominic Barndardt

Taylor was followed home by Momentum Toyota teammate, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio who claimed the silver medal for the second year in succession, clocking a time of 46 minutes 56.10 seconds, one minute and 17 seconds off the time of Taylor.

In the Under-23 men’s race over 43km, Toyota CSA Academy rider, Louis Meintjes, went one better than last year when he snapped up the gold medal in a time of 51 minutes 41.68 seconds. The performance placed him seventh overall in the Elite and Under-23 men’s field, 61 seconds down on Elite winner, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka).

In the Junior women’s race, Cycle Lab Toyota Academy’s Heidi Dalton overcame some pre-race drama to secure the gold medal. Officials ruled that her time trial bike didn’t comply with the technical regulations so she had no choice but to compete on her standard road bike.

She stormed to a dominant victory in a time of 28 minutes 37.06 seconds for the 20km event, more than three minutes quicker than her nearest rival.

The Cycle Lab Toyota racing teams will contest the road race events on Saturday and Sunday. The Toyota CSA Academy men's team that will compete in the team time trial on Friday is: Louis Meintjes, Willie Smit, Emile Jacobs, Steven van Heerden, Bradley Stroberg and Martin Scheppel.

Leading results:

Elite women 30km

1 Cherise Taylor (Momentum Toyota) 45min 34.92sec

2 Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Momentum Toyota) 46:56.10

3 An-Li Pretorius (MTN Qhubeka) 47:08.83

Under-23 men 43km

1 Louis Meintjes (Toyota CSA) 51min 46.68sec

2 JC Nel 52:02.09

3 Myles van Musschenbroek 54:22.39

Junior women 20km

1 Heidi Dalton (Cycle Lab Toyota Academy) 28min 37.06sec

2 Rosemary Devink 31:50.79

3 Corlia van der Merwe 31:58.19