After the local women dominated proceedings earlier in the day it was the turn of the oldest three categories of the men’s cross country competition to take to the Cascades MTB Park course in Pietermaritzburg on the opening day of competition of the UCI MTB Masters World Championships and it was another successful showing by the South Africans who claimed two of the three World Cup jerseys on offer.
The riders may have been at the furthest end of the age scale but the competition was brutal and in the men’s 55-59 year old category Paul Furbank snuck in ahead of Swede and defending champ Benny Andersson to take the rainbow jersey.
“I was pretty nervous before the start of the event but I am so glad that I came through with the win,” Furbank mentioned. “There was some serious competition out there and I had to be on top of my game in order to win it on such a fantastic course!”
There were a few changes in the lead in the opening stages of the clash with the Swede putting Furbank under a lot of pressure the whole way through the race and a piece of brave decision-making by Furbank required for him to eventually break the shackles and take the decisive lead that he then never relinquished for the rest of the encounter.
“I attacked early but Benny (Andersson) took over quite early and it took an A-line from me to go past him and then I made sure that I stayed in front. He was always putting me under pressure and whenever I looked over my shoulder I could see him there which made me go a little faster,” the Johannesburg rider mentioned.
The second World Championship crown for the host nation came after Linus van Onselen claimed the title in the men’s 60-64 category ahead of Venezuelan Pedro Trujillo. The South African was over the moon with his accomplishment.
“I am so happy that I was able to hold off the other riders to win a World Championship,” Van Onselen mentioned. “I came into the event hoping to get a podium but I am so happy that I managed to go even better than that and finish at the top of the podium.”
Frenchman Christian Jupillat claimed his thirteenth World Championship title across all cycling disciplines when he won the men’s 65+ category. He pipped British rider Victor Barnett to the rainbow jersey to regain the title he won last year.
“I had such a fun ride out there but it got a little tough with the people in front of me because they were quite a lot faster than me but I stuck to what I know and it worked,” he said.
Charles Stander, father of the late Burry, ended in fourth place in the men’s 60-64 category, and returning back to a course that was a favourite of his son was something that he enjoyed whilst also showed his support of the #iRide4Burry initiative by sporting his wrist band throughout the race.
“It was a lot fun to ride out there on a course that Burry really enjoyed riding on and being able to ride in a World Championship here made it even more special. It was a tough race for me and I wasn’t feeling great going into it but I will take fourth,” a satisfied Stander said.
The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013, 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 - 55-59 (2 laps)
1 Paul Furbank (RSA) 00:58:10
2 Benny Andersson (SWE) 00:58:52
3 Kim Phillips (RSA) 00:59:45
4 Chris Brand (RSA) 01:01:29
5 Gregor Grant (GBR) 01:02:03
XCO Men - 60-64 (2 laps)
1 Linus van Onselen (RSA) 01:01:57
2 Pedro Trujillo (VEN) 01:06:20
3 John Shirley (GBR) 01:08:17
4 Charles Stander (RSA) 01:13:58
5 Helio Carvalho (BRA) 01:15:03
XCO Men - 65+ (2 laps)
1 Christian Jupillat (FRA) 01:08:55
2 Victor Bennett (GBR) 01:09:47
3 Bruce Hansen (RSA) 01:18:10
4 Albeo Otazo (VEN) 01:20:11
5 John Ivy (RSA) 01:24:11
Issued on behalf of 2013 UCI MTB World Champs – PMB
Photo: Paul Furbank of South Africa en route to victory in the men's 55-59 cross country event at the UCI MTB Masters World Championships 2013 at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg © Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media