National Champions dominate third XCO Cup

South African Mountain Bike Champions James Reid and Cherie Redecker took the respective titles in the Elite Men and Women’s races at the third round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series hosted by City of Tshwane at Wolwespruit Bike Park in Erasmuskloof, Pretoria on Saturday 26 March. Pleasant skies and warm mid-twenties temperatures greeted the riders as they tackled the challenging course.

Reid broke away fairly early in the race, and managed to keep a comfortable distance ahead of second placed Brendon Davids (Trek Racing Team) despite a tumble on one of the last two laps when his pedal hit a rock.

According to Reid, the course was similar to marathon racing in many sections, which seemed to suit the Team Spur rider. “I really enjoyed it – it’s not super punchy and with a sustained climb in the middle and the sustained longer downhill, it does suit the riders who need slightly longer to recover and who are less punchy.”

The course, Reid felt, played to his and Davids’ strengths, whereas Philip Buys (third – Scott Factory Racing powered by LCB) Alan Hatherly (fourth – Kargo Pro MTB Team) both dominate in the more “punchier” courses.

Reid mentioned that before the second round at Helderberg Farms, which was considered a “home race” for him, he’d done a fairly extensive amount of work beforehand and felt over done going in. “Here, I took the intensity and the race simulation away from the Cape Epic and put it into this weekend and next weekend (African Continental Championships), which are quite important for Olympic qualification,” he added.

The keen participation of younger riders was also of interest to Reid. “It’s cool to see the cross-correlation between cross-country and Spur, in particular the Spur School Series. I’ve been lucky to be involved and have been able to keep a close eye on the high school league, and it’s been incredible to witness that talent that we have at the younger levels,” he said.

“Hats off to Cycling SA, Stihl and everyone involved in putting together this series – its really come a long way, and here its UCI Category 1 where we are earning valuable UCI points for our country and individual ranking, which is fantastic,” Reid said.

Next for our riders is the African Continental MTB Championships in Lesotho next weekend. Reid (who took the title in Lesotho in 2014) mentioned that the course is one that would suit him, but that Davids (who won in 2013) had been training up there already. “It’s never predictable and with the high altitude there, it’s a whole new ball game. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting race,” he said.

Novus OMX Pro Team’s Cherie Redecker said: “This track was pretty difficult, about 5.8km with 180m of climbing, plus the start loop. It was quite strenuous – the first climb literally felt like it went straight up. It wasn’t smooth, it was very rocky at times and we had to keep focused.”

Redecker also broke away early on in the race and sat comfortably ahead for the remaining laps.

The finish line saw many of the women riders emotionally and physically challenged from the course, and Redecker said: “It was really strenuous. I’m so proud of every single one of those girls out there today. It was so great to see more girls racing. Unfortunately my teammate Mariske had quite a bad tumble and I just hope that she recovers well as we’ve got Africa Champs this weekend. I just pray that she has a smooth season and that this is the last set back that she has.”

Redecker is excited for the Continental Championships, but said that she is a little nervous with it being 3000 metres altitude. “I think this weekend’s given me a bit of a boost but it will be interesting to see what the course is like. If it were a power course I would just have to set my mind to it and think that I love powering and flats. The climbing is to my advantage and with the Helderberg SA Cup 2 and with this race it’s been great,” she said.

Henry Liebenberg and Danielle Strydom took the Junior Men and Women’s titles respectively.

City of Tshwane MMC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Counsellor Nosipho Tyobeka Makeke said: “Having an event like this is very important for the city. Back in 2012 the city launch the City Vision 2055, and we identified some game changers that would really put the city on the map and take it to new heights. Sport is one of those game changers.

“We need to develop all the sporting codes, but in particular cycling. It’s not as popular amongst our communities as we would like it to be. Let cycling be introduced as one of those programmes of development to our communities. Cycling is one of those sporting codes that we’ve earmarked as a city. It also brings the economic spin-offs to the city, attracting visitors from all over the country and the world.

“We have started and want to see it grow. We want to see everyone get involved – especially in the communities. The city has got so much to offer and we are proud of that. We want to see it become an event destination.”

On Sunday 27 March, The City of Tshwane hosted the inaugural Tshwane Cycle Challenge Series race, which was in a MTB relay format. Participants entered as solo riders or teams of two or four, and competed on a 12-kilometre circuit in a relay format. The inaugural event was a great success and City of Tshwane MMC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Counsellor Nosipho Tyobeka Makeke looks forward to hosting more events in the years to come. The format saw many newcomers try their hand at mountain bike racing in a manageable format, which added to the success of the event.

Cycling South Africa extends a huge “Thank you” to the City of Tshwane for their wonderful contributions over the course of the weekend, and to Wolwespruit MTB Park for pulling out al the stops in creating a great racing venue.

Next on the agenda for our cross-country specialists is the African Continental Championships, which takes place in Lesotho this coming weekend, after which XCO riders will turn to the 2016 Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival at Cascades MTB Park on Saturday 30 April for the UCI HC-rated Elite Men and Women’s XCO races with the Junior race also forming part of the UCI Junior World Series. More details of the 2016 PMB MTB Festival can be found here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-pmb-mtb-festival/

Don’t miss the fourth round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series, which takes place in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on Saturday 14 May. It is a UCI Category 1 race for Elite Men and Women and also forms part of the UCI Junior World Series. More details of the Stihl 2016 National Cup Series can be found here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-cup-series

Summary of Results – Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series #3 [Wolwespruit MTB Park]

Full results are available here.

Pro-Elite Men (6 laps)
1.James Reid 01:37:01
2.Brendon Davids 01:37:13
3.Philip Buys 01:38:57
4.Alan Hatherly 01:40:39
5.Stuart Marais 01:44:03
6.Marc Fourie 01:45:57
7.Nathan Byukusenge 01:46:23
8.Jan Withaar 01:46:29
9.Tristan De Lange 01:47:04
10.Yannick Lincoln 01:48:03

Pro-Elite Women (5 laps)
1.Cherie Redecker (Vale) 01:37:47
2.Mariske Strauss 01:41:00
3.Candice Neethling 01:42:19
4.Frances Du Toit 01:44:45
5.Amy Mcdougall 01:45:32
6.Michelle Vorster 01:48:42
7.Genevieve Van Coller 01:50:01
8.Hayley Smith 01:51:22
9.Mandy De Beer 01:52:43
10.Skye Davidson 01:59:54

Junior Men (4 laps)
1.Henry Liebenberg 01:10:49
2.Pieter Du Toit 01:10:51
3.Jarrod Van Den Heever 01:11:41

Junior Women (3 laps)
1.Danielle Strydom 01:03:54
2.Kristen Louw 01:07:13
3.Christie Hearder 01:09:42

Youth Men (4 laps)
1.Ryan Conradie 01:16:03
2.Dawie Grobbelaar 01:16:45
3.Daniel Van Der Walt 01:17:03

Youth Women (3 laps)
1.Zandri Strydom 01:07:50
2.Azulde Britz 01:11:09
3.Rimari Sutton 01:16:17

Sub Junior Boys (3 laps)
1.Luke Moir 00:58:38
2.Travis Stedman 01:03:13
3.Juan Van Rooyen 01:05:56

Sub Junior Girls (2 laps)
1.Chloe Bateson 00:50:59
2.Jade Slabbert 00:54:42
3.Sarah Van Der Walt 00:57:03

Sprog Boys (4 laps)
1.Jooste Coetzee 00:36:37
2.Nicholas De Bruin 00:37:40
3.Lourens Spies 00:39:59

Sprog Girls (3 laps)
1.Lilian Baber 00:35:39
2.Jessica Svacha 00:36:37
3.Jeanine Badenhorst 00:38:34

Nipper Boys (3 laps)
1.Francois De Jager 00:30:17
2.Connor Wright 00:30:35
3.Aiden Wright 00:31:16

Nipper Girls (2 laps)
1.Caitlin Mccoy 00:25:08
2.Hannah Elliott 00:25:12
3.Marili Nel 00:27:12

Sub Vet Men Overall (4 laps)
1.Armand Du Toit 01:14:11
2.Dion Froneman 01:14:47
3.Duane Stander 01:15:31

Sub Vet Women Overall (3 laps)
1.Adrienne Moolman 01:08:36
2.Liesl Lourens 01:12:39
3.Annie David 01:17:10

Vet Men Overall (4 laps)
1.Grant Usher 01:16:38
2.Mark Moir 01:17:05
3.Rynard Van Hoven 01:19:30

Vet Women (3 laps)
1.Diana Carolin 01:10:18
2.Helen Gibbings 01:26:35

Master Men Overall (3 laps)
1.Paul Cannon 01:01:53
2.Colin Gibbings 01:14:37
3.Charles Stander 01:16:40