Younger riders earn their stripes in Clarens

2016-04-20 06:00
FOCUSED: Some of the cyclists who took part in the 43,5 kilometre half-marathon route in the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series this year, which played host to the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Clarens. Photo: Supplied

FOCUSED: Some of the cyclists who took part in the 43,5 kilometre half-marathon route in the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series this year, which played host to the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Clarens. Photo: Supplied

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CLARENS. It was the turn of the younger riders to make strides and earn their stripes when they took to the 43,5 km half-marathon route in the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series this year, which played host to the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Clarens on Saturday (16/04).

Crossing the line first in their categories and claiming the National Championship titles were Wessel Botha (Lynwood Centurion Cyclery) and Danielle Strydom (Swiss Cycles) in the junior men and women’s class, while Jean-Pierre Lloyd (Team Fury Motor Group) and Azulde Britz (BestMed Factory Lapierre Team) claimed their titles in the youth men and women’s class.

The front group of the junior men’s race were riding together and looking quite relaxed until roughly the 20 km mark, after which the riders started the big climb of the day and Botha launched his attack. Pieter du Toit of the Kargo Pro MTB Team went with Botha, but was dropped at the top of the climb.

Botha (18) was happy with his race.

“I had a very nice race, the route was fantastic and I couldn’t do any better. This is probably the biggest achievement in my cycling career. I am very happy and it’s the best race ever.”

The cross-country mountain biker from Pretoria will now focus on the upcoming PMB MTB Festival (30 April) and the fourth round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series in Port Elizabeth (14 May) in the next few weeks – both races form part of the UCI Junior World Series.

Similarly, in the junior women’s race, the first 20 km were rather fast and a group of about eight women were riding together.

As soon as the climb began, the field began to split and current South African junior road champion Strydom launched an attack, with Kristen Louw (Kargo Pro MTB Team) in tow.

“As the climb continued to go, I attacked again and soloed until the end,” said the 17-year-old of Potchefstroom Gymnasium, who claimed the Junior Women’s South African Road Championship title earlier this year.

“It was a very good competition. The people were very friendly and always making way on the track when I came through. Mountain biking is where my roots are, but the road was more like beginner’s luck, with different techniques and tactics to learn. I am very happy with my two titles.”

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