It was a great win for the South African. Neville Ackermann was elated that the time had finally come where the hard work and dedication to the sport has paid off and he could leap frog silver in the gold medal spot in 2013 after he won the bronze in the UWCT Final in Pietermaritzburg in 2012.
“It was very gratifying to be crowned World Champ,” Ackermann said. “A lot of time, effort, sacrifice and money goes into chasing your dreams! Cycling has never been cheap or easy so winning really just makes it all worth it!” said Ackermann, who will use the Msunduzi Road Challenge as a platform to hone his skills ahead of next year’s finals in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
On what proved to be a difficult course Ackermann was able to hold off the rest of the field and claim the coveted rainbow striped jersey on what was a great ride from him.
“It went well on the day for me and I had worked to a race plan and gave it my all. The Time Trial course was a surprise to most as it was pretty technical and challenging and some decided not to ride and I practised the course twice, tested wheels and gearing and devised a race strategy.
“In a Time Trial there is usually some strong competition for the podium, as well as other people who ride just for the experience but I felt satisfied that I had had a good ride and was expecting a good result but you never can be sure until the results are up,” he mentioned about the time trial event.
Ackermann has battled a lot this year in terms of injuries and illness so being able to put on that World Championship jersey gave him that extra bit of satisfaction.
“For me personally it is really satisfying as it has been a very difficult year with crashes, injuries and illness - I got measles twice, before and after the Cape Epic, thanks to the grandchildren!”
Looking forward to the Msunduzi Road Challenge the Time Trial is Ackermann’s primary focus and will provide him with the opportunity to wear his World Championship jersey in competition which will, no doubt, be a proud moment for him. He too will have be under less pressure secure in the knowledge that he does not need to qualify at the Msunduzi Road Challenge as he automatically qualifies for the 2014 Time Trial final after winning in Trento.
“In the time trial I get to ride in my rainbow jersey and hopefully do it justice. In a road race winning is not everything to me and mostly I use it as a training ride for the time trial, doing as much work in the front as possible and making it as hard as possible for myself and others and gaining valuable experience at the same time.
“I find negative race tactics very frustrating and prefer a smaller, harder working group in a fair race for the line,” he explained.
Ackermann will be taking part in both the road race and the time trial at the Msunduzi Road Challenge and is looking forward to tackling the new route after it was changed in order to prevent congestion going into and out of Wartburg. Ackermann feels that he will benefit from the change in route and it will play to his strengths more than the route from last year.
“Last year I managed a bronze medal in theTime Trial at the UWCT final and the course didn’t really suit me so I am looking forward to the course that they have got laid out for us this year and hopefully it will be more suited to me as I prefer a flatter course with short power climbs or drags,” Ackermann mentioned.