On a fantastic day in the Western Cape, Nic Dlamini of the Qhubeka ASSOS team took home the bronze medal.
Former winner of the 947 Ride Joburg and 2019 Tour of Good Hope stage winner, Pritzen will now proudly wear the South African jersey upon his return to Europe.
Pritzen’s success allows the Qhubeka team to own the jerseys of the South African champion as well as that of the current Ethiopian road racing champion Negasi Abreha Haylu, underlining the extremely important role this team plays in the establishment foundations and the possibility for Africa to compete. at the highest level. You can read Negasi’s incredible story here – https://bit.ly/2P6zY1w.
We spoke with Marc to reflect on this special day and to see what his ambitions are for the future.
You had time to reflect on your victory, tell us about the day?
Just being back on a bike and in a racing situation, standing on a start line, feeling those racing nerves and not having run for so long, made this a unique situation, no one not really knowing where they were with their form. .
The mountain bikers did races but not us roadies, I feel like it was a bit of uncharted territory for most of us. Then we had the WorldTour riders who are still in good shape, on another level, so there were all these guys to watch out for. Having Nic run with me was something special, being in the same colors as Nic meant a lot.
Then on Sunday, of course, the highlight was the last 3 kilometers, I can’t stop playing it over and over again in my head: the nerves that enter the finish line, indicate where “it ‘is is that, it’s now or never ”and then entering the last corner, I almost lost him there, I was overwhelmed by the group. I think there was a little carelessness – I don’t know – but it put me on Willie Smit’s wheel, so when he left I jumped right in and he went very strong.
At that point I looked back and saw we had a gap, forgot the pain and felt now was the time to go. There was still 800m to go so it was a pretty long sprint but I think because we had that gap it took a long time for anyone to come and fill it. Going over the top and seeing the finish line and looking back again and seeing that there was that gap was an unreal moment.
I was in disbelief as I crossed the finish line. Definitely a very special day, which I will never forget.
How did you feel to put the SA Champs Elite jersey over your head on the podium?
Getting on the podium and then being called up alongside Willie Smit and Nic Dlamini was a really very special moment. Standing on the top step, wearing the SA jersey was amazing.
Seeing my parents in front of me, who are still supporting me, just reminds me of all the hours we spent in this moment.
You will be returning to Europe with the Team Qhubeka Continental team, what will it like to be presented at the races as SA Champion?
I’m going back to Italy right away and this title will give me additional motivation to return to my continental teammates. Honestly, I don’t know what it’s going to be like to be represented as champion of South Africa in Europe, but I can’t wait to go find out.
I was the South African Under 23 Champion and it was a huge privilege to line up in South Africa so I can’t wait to see what that will do in Europe.
What was your racing experience with the Team Qhubeka Continental team and what are your ambitions for the future?
With 2020 being the year of the pandemic, I haven’t run much in Europe, but the race I did definitely opened my eyes. The level there is extremely high and I feel like it was extra motivation when I returned home at the end of the year.
It gave me this chance to reanalyze things, clear things up and start building again this season, knowing now that if I want to compete in Europe, I definitely need to improve my game. Having had no races so far. now the SA Champs being my first was a bit scary moment. You can see from your (practice) numbers whether or not you’ve improved, but the numbers don’t mean much in a race.
So for me to go into the SA championships and win it really helps and knowing the job that I have done; the mental changes I made as we approach the 2021 season have definitely paid off so far.
What are your ambitions for the rest of the season and for the future?
The objective for this year is to obtain very good results in Europe, then my final ambition for 2022 is that I would like to move up in the professional ranks.
It has been amazing to have had the opportunity to race in Europe and continue to develop, and I’m really excited for the future.
NOTE: Images in this version are courtesy of Cycling South Africa