France claim day 1 glory

2011-04-09 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — Team France threw down the gauntlet when Joris Daudet and Manon Valentino powered their way to victory in the super final at the end of the first day of the UCI BMX Supercross at Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Billed as the dark horses in the season-opening Supercross, the French flew under the radar up until the time trial stage. However, the notoriously strong BMX time-trial nation made sure they put their best foot forward when it really counted and demolished the strong international field in the men’s and women’s finals.

“It went really well for me today and I’m really happy to have won in the time trial, but the big race is tomorrow so we’ll just wait and see,” said Daudet, who put together a staggering second half in his super final to rocket from fifth to take line honours.

“I’m really happy with where my speed is at the moment and it’s really awesome for us [France] to have won both the men’s and women’s time trial,” the beaming Frenchman added.

“The track was a little bit soft yesterday, but it’s hardened up today so tomorrow should be good,” he said. “We’ll just chill out tonight and watch some of the footage from today and hopefully things go well tomorrow.”

Junior Women’s 2009 World Champ and Daudet’s fellow French star Manon Valentino was clearly satisfied with her time trial success.

“This is my best result in a time trial so far and I’m very happy to have won, but tomorrow is the big one, the one that really counts, so there’s still lots more work to be done,” she said.

Hot title favourite Sam Willoughby of Australia finished sixth, digging deep to get himself in the starting line-up, after being laid low by a stomach bug.

“I wouldn’t exactly call myself a time trial specialist and some of those other guys are really going well at the moment, but overall I was happy with today,” he said.

Caroline Buchanan, who claimed fourth place in the women’s time trial, dispelled all concerns over the bumpy corners on the track.

“At last year’s Worlds the corners got a bit bumpy so with it being the same clay as then, these corners were probably always going to be a bit rough. I really don’t think it’ll be much of an issue tomorrow. I’m a little more worried about the weather,” she laughed nervously.

Gavin Lubbe topped the local challenge on a day that saw a South African line-up depleted after Donovan Minnie, Lunga Mkhize and Kane Herbert failed to make the muster, sidelined by injuries on the first day.

Lubbe scraped into the second day’s heats, finishing 63rd in the time trials that saw the men’s field slashed from 103 to 64.

Lubbe and Teagan O’Keeffe in the women’s event remain as the sole local challengers in the event.

Today’s action starts at 2 pm.



Day one UCI Bmx Supercross

Super final results: 1. Joris Daudet FRA 33,497; 2.Rymon van der Biezen NED 33,691; 3.Tory Nyhaug CAN 33,805; 4.Sylvain Andre FRA 33,9; 5.Corben Sharrah USA 33,919; 6.Sam Willoughby AUS 33,973; 7Nicholas Long USA 34,181; 8.Carlos Oquendo Zabala COL 34,223; 9.Joshua Meyers USA 34,225; 10.Brian Kirkham AUS 34,231.

Women: 1. Manon Valentino FRA 33,541; 2.Sarah Walker NZL 33,902; 3.Mariana Pajon COL 33,923; 4.Caroline Buchanan AUS 34,215; 5.Jana Horakova CZE 34,539; 6.Magalie Pottier FRA 34,615; 7.Joyce Seesing NED 34,629; 8.Lauren Reynolds AUS 34,667; 9.Eva Ailloud FRA 34,709; 10.Samantha Cools CAN 34,818.

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