Heading to the Olympics

2012-06-16 00:00

TWO of South Africa’s three mountain bike contenders for the Olympics are KZN riders, Burry Stander and Candice Neethling.

Philip Buys will be joining Stander on the men’s start line.

The 24-four-year-old Stander, who finished in 12th place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was always going to be in the running for the 2012 London Olympic squad. Racing XCO as a professional rider and consistently ranked in the UCI world top 10, Stander received automatic qualification.

The tipping point for South Africa’s second male and single female to qualify for the London Games was the 2012 African Continental Championships that was held in Mauritius. Cycling South Africa’s main objective was to push up South Africa’s quota by enhancing our country ranking. The results were outstanding and, coupled with the efforts of the South Africans campaigning overseas in UCI World Cups, bettered our nation’s rankings to qualify two men and one woman.

Buys, aged 24, and 20-year old Neethling, both 2012 African Continental champions, have been performing consistently well in World Cup races abroad and local National Cup races. Buys has been a very consistent and strong rider for at least a year, with no other possible contenders beating him in XCO competition.

Neethling’s consistency has seen her rapidly escalate in the UCI world rankings in 2012 as a result from touring in Europe this year. The 2009 Junior XCO World Championship bronze medallist is racing in only her second year in the U23 category, yet claimed the 2012 African Continental Championship title, closely followed by fifth and fourth places in the U23 women’s XCO races at the Czech Republic and French UCI World Cups, respectively.

These three young riders will form part of a three-year development process, which will see them in contention for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and even able to qualify for 2020.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Mountain biking mania hit the South Coast with two consecutive weekends of cycling action. The Sardine MTB Classic last weekend attracted South Africa’s Olympic mountain biker, Burry Stander, who claimed the overall men’s winner title, while his wife, Cherise Taylor, claimed the women’s overall winner position. Stander crossed the line in 1:45:07 with Taylor breaking the tape in 2:10:29.

Despite the howling 35 knot winds and pending rain, weather conditions did not hamper the spirits of almost 400 entrants. Hosted at the Port Edward Holiday Resort for the first time, this new venue created the perfect atmosphere for cyclists and the crowd alike. Behind the newlywed champions, Andrew Hill and Luke Roberts placed second and third in the men’s race, while Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt and Angela Egeland filled the women’s podium.

The 25 km race was won by Reinhard Zelhuber with Retha Collett the first women home.

RESULTS

45 km classic: Men: Burry Stander, Andrew Hill, Luke Roberts.

Women: Cherise Taylor, Ashleigh Parker Moffatt, Angela Egeland.

25 km sub junior: Boys Reinhard Zellhuber, Bermatt Viljoen, Heinrich Zellhuber.

25 km overall: Men Reinhard Zellhuber, Dylan McGovern, Brian Sclanders.

Women: Retha Collett, Cindene Smith, Sabine Thies.

• Mountain bikers will be back on the South Coast this weekend with the Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race starting from Scottburgh main beach this morning. With the 45 km riders completing approximately 800 m of climbing throughout the course, the legs will feel it at times. The event also offers a 28 km intermediate route as well as a family-orientated 10 km fun ride.

• Tomorrow morning sees the Safire Insurance Baynesfield MTB Classic taking place from the Baynesfield Estate just outside Pietermaritzburg. For those looking for a longer ride there is the option of a 65 km distance, starting at 8.30 am followed by the standard classic distance (45 km) at 9 am, the 20 km at 9.30 am and a 10 km at 10 am. Late entries will be taken at registration between 6.30 am and 8.30 am. There will also be a night ride tonight taking place from the Baynesfield club. Entries will be taken from 5 pm. Inquiries: log onto www.roag.co. za

Next weekend is the Heatonville Leopard MTB Classic, which forms part of the MiWay Big Five Series. 50 km, 25 km an 10 km distances to choose from and T-shirts to the first 300 entries. Further details on www.roag.co.za

MULTISPORT

Some like to run, some like to bike, some like to do both or take part as a team, but everyone likes to have fun while enjoying the outdoors. If this is your game, then be sure not to miss the first event in the Varsity College Multisport Series which start next Sunday (June 24) at Holla Trails, Ballito.

The three-part series sees the second event taking place at Shongweni Dam on July 22 and the third event (19 August) is at Albert Falls Dam. Further event details may be found on www.maxcluer.com and entries are on www.roag.co.za

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