KZN achieve 5 wins out of 6

2011-02-19 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s top mountain bikers tested their skills against the rest of the continent at the Africa Continental Championships at Jonkershoek near Stellenbosch last weekend.

KwaZulu-Natal mountain bikers achieved an outstanding five wins from six UCI categories, giving clear indication that KZN boasts some of the best riders on the continent.

Elite men’s favourite Burry Stander did not disappoint with a stunning win by more than five minutes ahead of Marc Bassingthwaighte in second and Philip Buys third.

Said Stander, “It’s one of the best courses I’ve ever raced on, not just in South Africa, but anywhere in the world. It was really a tough course.”

The race was not without its casualties — an unusually high percentage of riders picked up mechanicals — mainly punctures and chain problems.

Pietermaritzburg rider Brendon Davids took a stunning win in the junior men’s race. After an early breakaway from the field, Davids lost his chain at the end of the second lap.

Davids said: “I kept calm and tried to get the chain back on, dropping to third place, but managed to pass Gert Heyns in the single track going into the next lap. Then it was Luke’s turn to have problems — hats off to Luke for holding on to the podium.”

The junior women’s race was also a closely contested affair, with KZN’s Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt riding consistently well with each lap and winning by a margin of over two minutes. Namibian Vera Adrian secured a second place less than a minute ahead of KZN rider Hayley Smith.

The U23 women’s race saw Candice Neethling (formerly Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High) displaying her prowess in her new age category.

In the age-groupers, KZN featured another three rising stars. Mikaela Jonsson took a convincing win in the sub-junior girls and was followed home by fellow KZN rider Emily Chalmers-Banks. Dustin Starr finished third in the sub-junior boys.

The success of the KZN riders can be attributed to a number of factors, including the development that takes place such as at the Mongoose schools’ series, the nature of our terrain and close availability of great riding trails, high coaching standards and the benchmark set by a few pioneer cyclists such as Stander.

Our riders generally train very hard and this first event of the year shows that it has paid dividends.

 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Cascades hosts a mountain bike cross-country fun day tomorrow. The first round of the World Cup is also being held at the Cascades grounds on April 22, so those who want to get a sneak preview of the track that the world’s top riders will be hurtling along will be able to inspect parts of the course.

Registration starts at 9 am at the Cascades grounds (park at the back of the Cascades shopping centre). There are no entry fees, no prizes, no timing, no pressure, nothing to lose — just loads of fun.

For further information, contact Vicky at 082 896 6864 or e-mail info@kznmtb.co.za

• Next Saturday sees the Cyclelab Wartburg MTB Classic taking place from Wartburg. For more info contact Anthony Jarvie at 082 571 6380.

 

ROAD CYCLING

A big field is expected at the Ryan Maullin Cyclelab/Battery Centre Midmar Notts Cycle Challenge next Sunday.

This event — which takes place two weeks before SA’s biggest cycle race, the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour — is the oldest cycling event on the calendar and takes cyclists along one of the most scenic routes to cycle in KZN.

Starting at Midmar Dam, the route heads out past Nottingham Road and on to the 40 km turn point at Mount West for a fast (mostly) downhill finish back to Midmar to make up the 80 km race. The 30 km fun ride uses the same road, but turns just past Lidgetton at 15 km.

Enter now at www.roag. co.za

For further information call Wayne Bryant at 083 310 4258.

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