The Netherland and Sweden scooped new world champions in the morning session of the second day’s racing at the 2013 UCI MTB Masters World Championships, before local riders bounced back to take four of the eight titles up for grabs in the downhill discipline.
The first race of the day, the Men’s 50-54 category, saw a clean podium sweep from the Europeans after the Olsson (SWE) took the lead early in the race and never relinquished it to anyone. It was a comfortable win in the end for the Scandinavian, who beat second place and former 45-49 champion Jean-Paul Stephan of France to win the event.
“I am so happy that I managed to win this year after being sick last year,” the former runner-up said. “I woke up the night before the race last year and was sick so I couldn’t race, so being able to win it this year was great!”
The Swede had been focusing on winning the event this year and once he got in front of the other riders he put his head down and did not look back to see where the other riders where.
The race was marred with a controversial incident early on when South African Doug Brown was reportedly forced into the barrier and had to restart from the back of the field.
“The whole field was in front of me and I worked my way through into fifth, and I was on the wheel of the guy in fourth but then I got a puncture and had to pull out of the race,” a dejected Brown mentioned.
Coming into the final sprint to the finish line, 10th place Mark Langman crashed and was forced to run with his bike to the end.
In the Men’s 45-49 race, it was the turn of the Dutchman Patrick Jansen to show his steel and take the win ahead of South African Shan Wilson. The race was packed with drama when potential podium finisher Robert Sim broke his frame, forcing him to retire.
Jansen held the lead for the entire race; despite battling with cramp and feeling the effects of the KwaZulu-Natal dry winter air. “I started battling a little with the dry conditions and I always knew that the guys behind me were never going to let up,” Jansen said. “My tactic was to get in the front from the start because it worked for me at the Dutch national championships.”
The Dutchman was chased down courageously by two South Africans, Shan Wilson and Andrew Mclean but it was Wilson who, after a nasty fall, claimed the silver medal.
“At one of the drop offs on the first lap I double bounced and went over the handle bars and landed heavily on my face, dislocating my jaw. I was dazed and got up and carried on, if it wasn’t a World Champs I probably would have gone home but I really had to finish,” mentioned a broken Wilson.
The Capetonian got up and started reeling in the rest of the field and caught his countryman Mclean, and tried his hardest to pull in the Dutch rider.
“We all came here to win but under the circumstances I am really happy with my second position overall,” he said.
South African cycling icon Andrew Mclean lost out on a top-two position. “Before I rode today I said I would be happy with a podium and would not mind losing out to better riders. Shan was so strong, but Jansen was in a class of his own out there today, so I am pretty happy with my third place,” Mclean said.
The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013, and will be preceded by the UCI MTB Masters World Championships from 21 to 25 August.
More info can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za
Summary of Results - UCI MTB Masters World Championships
XCO Men - 45-49 (3 laps)
1 Patrick Jansen (NED) 01:22:15
2 Shan Wilson (RSA) 01:23:02
3 Andrew Mclean (RSA) 01:24:38
4 Rafael Garrido (VEN) 01:26:16
5 Petrus Swiegers (NAM) 01:32:50
XCO Men - 50-54 (3 laps)
1 Tommy Olsson (SWE) 01:21:44
2 Jean-Paul Stephan (FRA) 01:23:22
3 Mads Boedker (DEN) 01:23:31
4 Patrick Balthazard (FRA) 01:27:26
5 Atle Hansen (SWE) 01:29:47
Issued on behalf of 2013 UCI MTB World Champs – PMB
Photo: Patrick Jansen of the Netherlands celebrates his victory in the men's 45-49 cross country at the UCI MTB Masters World Championships 2013 at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg. Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media