“Let’s hope that the rest of the week goes better and we can win some medals for South Africa,” said former SA road race champion Louis Meintjes, clearly disappointed by the defeat.
Eritrea’s Merhawi Kudus, who rides for SA outfit MTN-Qhubeka on the professional circuit, was elated with his team’s effort in hot conditions,after recovering from potential disaster by mending a punctured tyre on the start line.
“Winning a continental championship title is great and I really can’t believe that we managed to win today,” Kudus said.
The national women’s squad, meanwhile, had no trouble securing victory in theteam time trial, as the host nation dominated day one of the annual continental championships.
“We just wanted to go out there and have fun,” said Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, who defended her SA road race and time trial titles in Mbombela last week.
“It was a really nice course out there but it was quite tiring and we have been travelling a lot recently… but we are really happy to win today.”
Earlier, the SA teams had won the junior men’s and women’s events, though the South Africans were the only squad entered into the junior women’s race.
The six-day event continues with the junior men’s and women’s individual time trials on Tuesday.