Cycling victory: Sheppie Power couple clinch coveted titles

2011-03-16 00:00

PORT Shepstone power cycling couple Burry Stander and Cherise Taylor still have to come down to earth after they won two of the most coveted titles in South African cycling at the weekend.

Stander kicked off the couple’s successful weekend when he obliterated the field in the 2011 South African Olympic Cross-country Championships in Stellenbosch on Saturday, securing his ninth consecutive South African Olympic Cross-country title. “I’m obviously really happy to win another SA title. It’s an honour to race in the national champions jersey when I race abroad. I’m also very pleased with my performance …” said Stander.

He said he kept a steady pace between pushing hard on the second lap to get away from Philip [Buys] and again on the last lap. “Many think the course wasn’t that technical, but the tight off-camber turns with loose surfaces over the hardpack certainly weren’t easy to negotiate. There were plenty of crashes here.”

Stander’s fiancé, Taylor, followed suit and kept her composure to claim a thrilling win in the 109 km Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in Cape Town on Sunday. This after an early mechanical setback threatened to bring her race to a premature end.

Taylor narrowly pipped top contender Ashleigh Moolman Pasio to the line in a nail-biting sprint to win her second Cape cycle tour title in a time of two hours 49 minutes and 45 seconds.

“It was an eventful race for me,” commented Taylor afterwards. “It seemed like the odds were really against me today. My team-mates were amazing with their support! And I really was quite tired from all of the stress and having to get back to the bunch and the attacks up the climbs.

Taylor said she had suffered further complications at the finishing straight. “As I first kicked for the finish my gears slipped and I had to re-gather myself and start it again. In hindsight, it was probably a good thing or I might have started sprinting too early.”

In the lead-up to Sunday’s race, the in-form Taylor won two stages and the overall title at the Columbia Grape Escape mountain bike stage race and won the first two stages of the Le Coq Sportif Tour de Boland road-cycling stage race, effectively making Sunday’s triumph her sixth win in nine days.

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