MTB Series crown rounds off rider’s junior career

2016-11-01 06:00
Reinhard Zellhuber secures his third consecutive Ashburton National MTB Series on the weekend when he claimed victory in the half-marathon event of the seventh and final leg in Rooiberg, rounding out his junior career in resounding fashion. Photo: supplied

Reinhard Zellhuber secures his third consecutive Ashburton National MTB Series on the weekend when he claimed victory in the half-marathon event of the seventh and final leg in Rooiberg, rounding out his junior career in resounding fashion. Photo: supplied

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EXCITING young mountain biking talent, Reinhard Zellhuber (19) capped off an unforgettable 2016 cycling season by claiming a third consecutive Ashburton National MTB Series title over the weekend, bringing down the curtain on his junior years of racing in emphatic style.

Aloft his Merida 96 Team issue, the 18 year-old rider overcame both his fellow competitors and the day’s hot and sandy conditions as he charged to victory in the Half-Marathon event of the seven-race series Rooiberg leg on Saturday, narrowly edging out junior national marathon champion Wessel Botha and Jean-Pierre Lloyd.

“I was caught a little off guard by the pace that the other guys set early on and they managed to open a 200-metre gap over me quite quickly,” explains Zellhuber.

“Once I caught them I looked to save as much energy as possible, especially as I knew there weren’t any climbs or other opportunities to try attack and get away from the others.

“Towards the end of the race I started feeling a bit stronger and so I looked to try do as little work as possible and then fortunately managed to make my move stick right at the end and take the win,” he said.

The triumph came as Zellhuber’s fifth race win in this year’s series, having also finished on the top step of the podium at the Sabie, Van Gaalen, Ballito and Dullstroom clashes, handing him the series’ junior boys’ spoils for a second year running and adding to the youth crown he claimed in 2014.

“Winning the National MTB Series­, especially for a third time, really means a lot,” says the 32Gi-Garrun Group-The Bicycle Company rider.

“The series has done a lot for me as a young rider and I’ve been working really hard for the title this year.

“Retaining the Junior title has definitely been harder than winning it the racing ha s been really tough this year and the competition has been very strong,” says Zellhuber.

Over and above his National MTB Series title, the versatile competitor performed with aplomb at cross country, marathon and stage race events the country over throughout 2016.

“I’m really chuffed with how the season went for me this year,” says Zellhuber.

“I tried to do as well as I could across all three disciplines as I looked to see which of the three I enjoyed the most.

“I also put in a lot of hard work this year, so it was great to see how it all paid off in the end,” he added.

- Supplied.

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