Ryan Gibbons doubles up with South African road race title

Three days after claiming the time trial title, Ryan Gibbons does the double at the South African road race championships

Pre-race favorite Ryan Gibbons was a marked man from the gun, even more so after dominating the time trial on Thursday. Despite this, Gibbons was able to come out on top in an impressive show of strength. The 29-year-old crossed the line in Midvaal after 182km of racing over two minutes ahead of the runner up, allowing him plenty of time to savour the important moment. For the first time in his career, Gibbons is simultaneously the South African road race and time trial champion, meaning he will be able to wear his home nation’s flag year round.

Speaking just minutes after his victory, Ryan said: “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. 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. 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. 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.”

Photos kindly provided by Damian Murphy.