Mountain biker Hatherly seeks back-to-back Sharks Trail Adventure crowns

2016-11-22 06:00
Olympian Alan Hatherly hopes to retain his 40km MTB title when he tackles the 2016 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure on Sunday 4 December. Photo: supplied

Olympian Alan Hatherly hopes to retain his 40km MTB title when he tackles the 2016 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure on Sunday 4 December. Photo: supplied

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HILLCREST Olympian Alan Hatherly is looking forward to returning to the 2016 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure at Shongweni Estate on Sunday 4 December in an effort to defend the 40km MTB title he claimed at his maiden appearance at the popular Upper Highway race twelve months ago.

After putting in a stirring effort at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August, the 20 year-old sensation hopes a successful title defence at the upcoming Sharks Trail Adventure clash will cap off a memorable year in his rapidly advancing career before he makes the move down to the Western Cape before at the end of the calendar year.

“Last year’s Sharks Trail Adventure was my first time at the race and it really was a great event,” says Hatherly. “Stu Berry and his Impi team know how to put on a proper event!”

“Even though I’m from Hillcrest, I’d never ridden through that area before and so it was really cool to be exposed to a whole new trail network out in the Shongweni area.

“I would love to win this year’s race and keep my title, especially as I look to start a new relationship with a new sponsor as of the new season,” he adds.

While the end of the year traditionally represents some down time for the country’s top elite mountain bikers, Hatherly’s schedule saw a return to the saddle three weeks ago and the young star is eager to use the upcoming event as an early new gauge.

“Since my break it’s been all about strength work and building a base for the rest of the season.

“There won’t be a lot of leg speed in me come the Sharks Trail Adventure so it definitely won’t be the fastest race of my year.

“It will be a great form tester early in the season though and a good opportunity to see just how much of a building block I’ve managed to put in place during the past couple of weeks of training.”

A star studded field at the 2015 edition of the mountain biking and trail running event saw Hatherly charge home 44 seconds ahead of TIB Insurance’s Andrew Hill while Brendon Davids finished third.

The result saw Hatherly become just the second name added to the event’s men’s winners list after Hill’s dominance from 2012 to 2014.

The former Hillcrest High School pupil will be hoping the list’s length remains the same come the completion of the 2016 encounter as he goes in search of a second consecutive title at the versatile 40km contest.

The 2016 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure takes place at Summverld Estate in Shongweni on Sunday 4 December. Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found atwww.sharkstrailadventure.co.za

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