Mariske Strauss (Orange Monkey Pro Team) and Bianca Haw (Time Freight VELOlife) excelled in their races at the opening round of the Southern African MTB Cup Series, which took place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, today. After a week of rain and dismal conditions, riders were greeted with very hot and humid weather.
Strauss led the Elite women’s race from the get-go, winning the 4 laps of the 4.8km course in a time of 01:24:32. Hayley Smith (Bell) finished second, in 01:32:16 with Kim Westbrook claiming third place in 01:38:29. VeloLife’s Ashleigh Moffatt suffered two technicals when she punctured, and had to run across the finish line after the plug popped out of her tyre on the rock garden.
Crossing between long distance training for the Absa Cape Epic and short course training for the cross-country (XCO) races Strauss’ year has been a busy one already, not to mention her Varsity studies.
“Everything has been going smoothly,” said Strauss. “Thanks to Jeroen (Swart) and Science 2 Sport, we’re getting the balance right and all the data is looking good. It’s definitely a bit of a change training for ’Epic and trying to fit everything in. At the moment I’m feeling good but the season is long and I am taking it one race at a time. Cascades is always technical, but it’s an awesome course. It was good training for next month’s World Cup.”
Haw, the current National Junior Road Race Champion, displayed her true cycling talent in the Junior women’s race. “It was very hot. I started off fast and it got really hard on the second and third laps. I did all the technical stuff, which was nice. I’m in my first year at university now, so it’s been quite nice because I have a lot more time, and I’ve been riding a lot more than normal.”
The Pro-Elite Men’s XCO race is currently underway (started at 14:00) and can be followed by LIVE streaming at www.streamit360.tv.
Summary of results: SA XCO Cup #1 (Cascades) 15 March 2014
Elite Women – 4 laps
1 Mariske Strauss 01:24:32
2 Hayley Smith 01:32:16
3 Kim Westbrook 01:38:29
4 Ashleigh Moffatt 01:24:56 (3 laps)
Junior Women – 3 laps
1 Bianca Haw 01:05:22
2 Frances du Toit 01:09:21
3 Genevieve van Coller 01:14:34
4 Kimberley le Court 01:17:47
5 Amy Williams 01:19:33
Youth Women – 2 laps
1 Saffron Vosloo 00:54:42
2 Sabrina van Wyk 01:01:18