The name on everyone’s lips in European professional cycling has to be that of Stellenbosch’s young Stefan De Bod, who claimed his second win in Europe this season for his team Dimension Data by winning the prestigious UCI u23 GP Palio del Recioto in Negrar, Italy last Wednesday.
This achievement follows short on the heels of De Bod taking first place at the u23 Strade Bianche, securing him first place in two out of three of Europe’s prestige one-day races. This feat has never been accomplished before, meaning the Paul Roos old boy has made u23 cycling history and is currently the belle of the ball among Italy’s two-wheeled fraternity.
De Bod’s emphatic solo victory came after a strong attack on the final climb of the race. The u23 South African time trial champion reached the climb with a 15 second lead, and then held onto this gap on the challenging 10km descent all the way to the finish line.
We spoke to De Bod about this incredible achievement:
“It was a race with more than 3000m ascent over 151km, making it very challenging. I knew I had to save as much energy as I could for the last climb of the day. With about 26km to go, I attacked on the climb, and went solo all the way to the finish. It makes me extremely happy to start my year by taking my second win of the European season. It feels like all my hard work is beginning to paying off and this has motivated me to work even harder for more victories going forward.”