Comfortable victories for Buys and Redecker at Free State XCO Cup Series Finale

Hatherly and Redecker secure Series victory

The Happy Valley Conservancy played host to the fifth and final round of the STIHL 2016 SA XCO Cup Series in Bloemfontein on Saturday 18 June. Novus OMX Pro MTB Team’s Cherie Redecker and Team SCOTT LCB’s Philip Buys took the respective wins in the Elite Women and Men’s category at the first UCI Category 2 cross-country event to take place in the Free State.

The clover leaf-like course made for excellent spectator viewing, and there was a great showing of supporters at the venue.

National Women’s XCO Champion, Redecker, came out with 200 points from her win, which resulted in her taking the overall Series win as well. She said: “I had so much fun today – what an awesome weekend of racing and spending time with friends.

“The Bloemfontein course was great. It was well built, technically challenging and had a great flow to it. I wasn't short of support especially with Stephen and Heiko popping up all over the course shouting words of encouragements and making sure that I didn't slack off the pace. It was great to take the win and overall series title.”

When asked to say which STIHL SA XCO Cup was her favourite, Redecker said it was particularly difficult to say. “I know that each province has put a lot of effort in organising their event, but if I have to choose, then I’d say Bloemfontein was my favourite. The track was great and I felt on form physically and mentally.”

Redecker expressed gratitude to her team, coach and sponsors for their support in helping her to become a competitive XCO racer.

The wind had begun to pick up for the start of the Elite Men’s race, which was lead from the start by Buys, with Kargo Pro MTB Team’s Alan Hatherly taking second place, enough to score the points for the overall Series title. Arno du Toit (Team SCOTT LCB) fought hard, and delivered a consistent race, resulting in a third place finish. The dice of the day went to Julian Jessop and Jan Withaar in a titanic battle for fourth and fifth place, with Jessop winning by a whisker.

Elite Men’s winner Buys, said: “I felt pretty good and happy to win the final race of the Series. After the Port Elizabeth race I was starting to fade a bit because of accumulated fatigue, so I took a two-week mid-season break and feel plenty more punch on the bike now. There’s still some work to do before Worlds, but all is good in training. The track was really fun – it was a very natural track that I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Overall Men’s Cup Series Winner, Hatherly, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal, spoke about the altitude difference between Bloemfontein and home. “It had an affect coming from sea level but we got here on Friday to avoid the effects of altitude, which I definitely think was the better choice for me. Of course I could still feel the air was thin but it was bearable. The descents were super fun,” he said.

When chatting about the Series win, Hatherly said: “On the whole, the Series went really well for me by being consistent at each event. I would have to say Cape Town was my favourite; everything went to the book that day and the course suited me to the tee. Having international riders there also made it really incredible to have done well there. I'm really happy to have kept my overall Pro-Elite Series title again for 2016, and I look forward to heading to Europe this coming week for World Champs in Czech.”

The Junior Women’s race saw Kristen Louw take a decisive victory against Allison Morton, winning her three-lap race by two-and-a-half-minutes. Louw also took the Junior Women’s Series title while Danielle Strydom finished in second place after only competing in three events out of five. Morton finished third on the Series Log.

Reinhard Zellhuber beat Jarrod van den Heever by nearly one and a half minutes over the four-lap Junior Men’s race. Van den Heever’s second place was enough to secure the overall series title after five races, placing him on top of the log with 751 points. Henry Liebenberg placed second on the Series Log, with Pieter du Toit and Reinhard Zellhuber finishing in third and fourth places respectively.

STIHL 2016 SA XCO Cup Series Results Co-ordinator, Grevile Ruddock, said: “It has been some years now since we had this number of unique individuals participating in the XCO discipline of the SA National Cup Series. There are 485 unique individuals on the Series Log, with sustained solid participation particularly in the younger ages categories and Elites. There were over 70 participants in each of the Youth, Junior and Elite Men groups, and also much-improved participation from Nippers through to Youth in the female categories.”

The next National event on the racing calendar is the once-off 2016 SA MTB National Championships for the cross-country and downhill disciplines, which takes place at the world-class venue of Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on 16 and 17 July. More details will be coming soon on www.cyclingsa.com.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS – STIHL 2016 SA XCO Cup Series #5 [Bloemfontein, Free State]

To view the full set of results and the final Series Log, click here

Pro-Elite Men (6 laps)
1.Philip Buys 01:29:58
2.Alan Hatherly 01:31:48
3.Arno Du Toit 01:32:53

Pro-Elite Women (5 laps)
1.Cherie Vale 01:28:15
2.Frances Du Toit 01:40:00
3.Sarah Hill 01:43:11

Junior Men (4 laps)
1.Reinhard Zellhuber 01:01:44
2.Jarrod Van Den Heever 01:03:06
3.Henry Liebenberg 01:03:57

Junior Women (3 laps)
1.Kristen Louw 01:02:56
2.Allison Morton 01:05:33
3.Sabrina Van Wyk 01:10:17

Youth Men (4 laps)
1.Ryan Conradie 01:06:20
2.Wicus Breytenbach 01:07:00
3.Daniel Van Der Walt 01:08:13

Youth Women (3 laps)
1.Zandri Strydom 01:00:03
2.Tiffany Keep 01:01:29
3.Azulde Britz 01:03:39

Sub Veteran Men (5 laps)
1.Dion Froneman 01:27:25
2.Michael Maine 01:28:17
3.Darryn Stow 01:30:04

Sub Veteran Women (3 laps)
1.Liesl Lourens 01:09:07
2.Nadine Nunes 01:10:34
3.Christelle Le Roux 01:27:20

Veteran Men (4 laps)
1.Alan Van Coller 01:12:10
2.Tertius Van Niekerk 01:12:50
3.Ewan Cochran 01:13:38

Master Men (4 laps)
1.Dirk Maarsingh 01:12:43
2.Pierre Nel 01:36:12
3.Charles Stander -1lap

Sub Junior Boys (3 laps)
1.Travis Stedman 00:55:52
2.Jean Van Der Merwe 00:58:32
3.Zac Gerber 00:59:22

Sub Junior Girls (2 laps)
1.Chante Olivier 00:42:27
2.Simone Grove 00:48:45
3.Chloe Bateson 00:51:49

Sprog Boys (4 laps)
1.Jooste Coetzee 00:42:19
2.Marcell Swartz 00:42:25
3.Alec Coleske 00:43:42

Sprog Girls (3 laps)
1.Olivia Penfold 00:41:07
2.Madison Mann 00:43:00
3.Riley Smith 00:44:10

Nipper Boys (3 laps)
1.Connor Wright 00:34:03
2.Francois De Jager 00:34:57
3.Aiden Wright 00:36:33

Nipper Girls (2 laps)
1.Hannah Elliott 00:28:37
2.Marili Nel 00:29:39
3.Amelie Owens 00:33:20