‘You can’t under-estimate the standard of competition’

2013-08-30 00:00

JAMES Reid, Candice Neethling and Maritzburg’s own Ashleigh Moffatt are the names local cycling enthusiasts should look out for at the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships today.

Reid (20), Neethling (21) and Moffatt (20) will all be competing in the U23 cross-country world championships.

Neethling and Moffatt’s U23 women’s world championship will be at 1 pm, while Reid will race at 3.15 pm.

Reid told The Witness yesterday that he was feeling good and that Wednesday’s relay helped get him into “the zone”.

“The weather looks like it’s going to be good and I’ve been building up for this for a long time,” the former Kearsney College boy said.

For Reid, competing in a championship in his home country eliminated the burden associated with travelling and racing abroad.

“You don’t have to worry about foreign exchange, making bed and breakfast bookings. After the race, you can just go home, and that counts for a lot.”

On where he was aiming to finish, Reid said: “You can’t under-estimate the standard of the competition. It’s the biggest thing after the Olympics and you have 80 of the world’s best U23 riders. Top 10 would be great. Top five would be fantastic.

“You can never rule out a good day or a bad one. There are some things that you won’t be able to control,” he said.

Tomorrow will see the elite cyclists take to the track in the women’s and men’s cross-country championships.

For South Africa, highly rated 24-year-old Philip Buys will attempt to fill in the huge void left by the passing of Burry Stander. With the Olympic champion, Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy, and silver medallist Nino Schurter from Switzerland in the field, Buys will be in for the race of his life.

Sunday, the final day of the championships, will see competition in the cross-country eliminator, a new sprinting format that’s run in heats with four cyclists competing in each heat, and the highly anticipated downhill championships with women racing at 2 pm, and men at 3 pm.

Sunday also features Pietermaritzburg’s favourite son Greg Minnaar competing in a bid to keep his world downhill title.

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