Stefan de Bod was the top performer of Africa's leading under-23 cyclists who raced the individual time trial at the UCI World Championships on Monday.
While De Bod didn't claim the rainbow jersey or even a medal, his eighth place marks a significant personal achievement for him. The 21-year-old South African completed the 27.7km course just under a minute down on Mikkel Bjerg, who took his second straight title in the discipline. The fact that the Dane won by a massive 33 seconds ahead of Brent van Moer of Belgium and Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen (Bjerg's brother-in-law!) indicates how strong De Bod's ride was.
8th place at innsbruck_tirol2018 TT World Championships today.— Stefan de Bod (@StefandBd) September 24, 2018
I had a really good ride today and I am really happy with my performance. It was a really fast course and the climbs seemed a... https://t.co/240MsLyzve
As a further measure of his achievement, the Stellenbosch-born rider finished 11th in the individual time trial two years ago in Doha -- his only previous world championships. Finally, it backs up Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka's decision to promote him to their UCI World Tour squad starting 2019, following three years with the feeder team.
As it happens, De Bod finished one place ahead Italy's Matteo Sobrero, while his 22-year-old compatriot Kent Main set the 37th-fastest time -- both are coming off stints as stagiaires for Africa's Team.
Big thanks to all the support from everyone & especially those back home🇿🇦 I was aiming for more but unfortunately for me I was just not quick enough over the tricky course. 1min off of top 10 in my first World Champs @ibk_tirol2018 1/2...— Kent Main (@kentmain) September 24, 2018
Meanwhile, the remaining seven African riders finished further down the pecking order of the 70 starters. Ethiopia's Redwan Ebrahim was best of them in 54th, followed by Eritreans Henok Mulueberhan (55th) and Awet Habtom Tekle (61st), Rwanda's Samuel Mugisha (62nd) and Joseph Areruya (65th), Burkina Faso's Paul Daumont in 66th and finally Morocco's Othman Harakat in 69th.
Earlier, Rozemarijn Ammerlaan of the Netherlands won the junior womens' time trial, with Italy's Camilla Alessio and Great Britain's Elynor Backstedt claiming the silver and bronze medals respectively. Initially, Eritreans Desiet Tekeste and Danait Tsegay were entered for the event but ended up not lining up.