Bikers vie for spot in MTB world champs

2014-02-28 00:00

WITH 12 of the 20 qualifying events now completed, mountain bikers are scrambling to secure their qualifications for the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on June 29.

This past weekend a significant number of international riders were on the start line for the MTN Sabie Classic in Mpumalanga for the first of two South African qualifiers on the UCI Marathon World Tour, the second being the MTN Clarens in May.

Absa Epic team-mates Urs Huber of Switzerland and his German team Bulls partner Karl Platt dominated the 120 km event, with local riders Kevin Evans (Fedgroup Itec), Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance) and Gert Heyns (Contego Giant) making up top five.

For Hill the Sabie result secured his place in the MTB Marathon World Championships, and he can now plan the year so that he can peak at the Absa Cape Epic and the Marathon Worlds at the end of June. “I am really keen to give Worlds a good go,” said Hill. “We will have to see how the Epic goes and then go into an easy phase ahead of the Worlds. It is a fine line between getting your exposure and getting your racing in.”

The women’s race was won by Ariane Kleinhans (Team RE:CM), eight minutes ahead of compatriots Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota) and Amy McDougall (Valencia Cycling), after Cherise Stander had to drop off the lead after slashing the sidewall of a tyre and having to settle for fourth.

The top 20 finishers in the UCI MTB Marathon World Series events all scoop automatic qualification for the UCI MTB World Championships; five of them from the Sabie event were international riders.

With only eight global qualifying events left on the 20-event calendar of qualifiers, riders eager to be on the start line at the Cascades MTB Park Marathon lay-out are planning their campaigns to secure berths to the world title deciders at the end of June.

Qualification is determined in one of three ways. The top 50 in the final worldwide classification are automatically qualified alongside the top 20 male and female finishers in the 20 designated international qualifying events. In addition to that, each federation can nominate six male and female riders for the championships.

Results of MTN Sabie Marathon

1. Urs Huber (Swi) 5:28:57

2. Karl Platt (Ger) 0:02:10

3. Kevin Evans (RSA) 0:14:36

4. Andrew Hill (RSA) 0:16:54

5. Gert Heyns (RSA) 0:17:26

6. Nico Bell (RSA) 0:18:09

7. Gabriel Combrinck (RSA) 0:19:04

8. Matthys Beukes (RSA) 0:21:53

9. Neil Macdonald (RSA) 0:22:32

10. Ben Melt Swanepoel (RSA) 0:47:32

11. Henry Uys (RSA) 0:53:54

12. Christopher Wolhuter (RSA) 0:54:56

13. Timo Cooper (RSA) 1:01:04

14. Luis Alberto Costa Leao Pinto (Por) 1:01:27

15. David Low (RSA) 1:03:36

16. Remi Laffont (Fra) 1:08:38

17. Timothy Hammond (RSA) 1:10:43

18. J.P. Jung (RSA) 1:12:33

19. Simon Gegenheimer (Ger) 1:29:14

20. Renay Groustra (RSA) 1:30:57

Elite Women

1. Ariane Kleinhans (RSA) 4:22:22

2. Robyn de Groot (RSA) 0:08:38

3. Amy Mcdougall (RSA) 0:11:57

4. Cherise Taylor (RSA) 0:17:43

5. Candice Neethling (RSA) 0:18:58

6. Yolandi du Toit (RSA) 0:23:47

7. Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt (RSA) 0:31:44

8. Eszter Erdelyi (RSA) 0:31:45

9. Kim Westbrook (RSA) 0:41:22

10. Janine King (RSA) 0:52:14

11. Diana Carolin (RSA) 0:53:20

12. Nicola Giliomee (RSA) 1:49:15

13. Nicolene van der Sandt (RSA) 2:31:26.

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