Maccabiah Games Road Race, Golan Heights, 110km, 2200m
The road race took place in the Golan Heights, up in the North of Israel, and I could not have asked for a better circuit that suited me. We would race a ten-kilometer loop, eleven times with very hard short climbs, and technical corners. Also to factor in the heat, my preferred racing conditions, I was confident of a good result.
The Time Trial had given me all the information I needed on who the good riders were, or at least so I thought. My tactics would be fairly simple, to follow Gobrovskyy and then somehow try and get rid of him before the run into the finish. He had won the 2005 under/23 World Championships with a late attack in the final 3km, so this would be no easy feat. Simon Adler, the only other SA elite rider, would go in the early move, to make sure all I had to do was stay on the wheel of the Ukraine.
The race started with attacks immediately by Israel who had the biggest team. After one lap there was four Israelis in the break, and Gobrovskyy decided he would close the gap. I followed him as we bridged across to the leaders, and then settled down into what was going to become a race of attrition. Patience was going to be key. However I soon realized that the two Israeli riders left in the break with us, never raced the time trial, and was a little unknown. Guy Gabay put in a good attack with four laps remaining and we had to work hard to bring him back into the fold, but I countered off his move taking a chance. I was feeling good and thought Gobrovskyy would have to do all the chasing. They worked together though, and kept me at around 20seconds for two laps, until I decided to rather wait for them and save my energy.
As expected, a big attack by the Ukraine rider on the penultimate lap saw the end of the Israeli, I had to dig deep to stay on his wheel, made easier with a huge amount of support for me through the start finish, and into the ‘bell’ lap. I had to take another chance on the last lap.
On the first of three climbs, I set a really hard tempo, I knew it was make or break, and just near the top, I heard him shift off his big chain ring. This was the small advantage I needed, and put my head down with eight kilometers left. I extended the gap to about forty seconds, enough to just make the final climb, with cramps starting to bite the legs.
It was a very emotional finish, with my father, friends and teammates all waiting at the finish, finally a gold medal for the cycling team.
It wasn’t the only medal for the day, with Issy Zimmerman taking bronze in his own category after also having a tough day in the saddle.
It has been an amazing experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity given to me by the South African Delegation.
Now its time for a short break, and then a busy last quarter coming up, back to the dirt!
Till then, cheers.
1st Kevin Evans (South Africa) 3hrs05min
2nd Dmytro Gobrovskyy (Ukraine)
3rd Guy Gabay (Israel)