Thaba Trails, Gauteng played host to the National Championships for the Cross-Country Olympic (XCO) and Cross-Country Short Track (XCC) cycling events that were held over the weekend (14-16 April 2023) with top athletes from across the country competing for the coveted national titles.
In the XCO event, Philip Buys caused quite a stir as he showed off his impressive post Absa Cape Epic form as he rode away from his competitors thus taking home the gold medal. He finished the gruelling course in a time of 1 hour 28 minutes and 26 seconds. Alan Hatherly, who admitted to suffering from the high altitude, finished in second place almost two minutes down, followed by Arno Du Toit in third place.
In the women’s XCO event, Candice Lill who finished in second position with her partner Amy Wakefield at the recent Absa Cape Epic showed no sign of fatigue as she dominated the competition, finishing the challenging course in a time of one hour twenty-seven minutes and forty-one seconds. Amy Wakefield put in a valiant effort, but ultimately finished in second place, followed by Steph Wohlters in third place.
The Under twenty-three Men’s category was won by Johan Van Zyl as he powered to the line even after a flat tyre halfway through the race. Second Place went to Luke Moir in a tight sprint finish with Jaedon Terlouw finishing in third.
Tyler Jacobs proved to be in a class of her own, winning the under twenty-three women’s category event almost nine minutes ahead of second place finisher Karlise Scheepers and Jade Skinner rounding off the podium in third.
The inaugural XCC event was equally exiting and a very tactical race, which came down to a sprint finish and had the spectators on the edge of their seats. The men’s race consisted of 20 minutes plus one lap and Alan Hatherly took home the gold medal. Philip Buys came second, followed by Arno Du Toit in third place.
In the women’s XCC event, Candice Lill took home another gold medal, as she powered away from fellow competitors and finishing by herself. Tyler Jacobs finished in second place, with Andrea Schöfmann rounding out the podium in third place.
A total of twenty-one National Jerseys were awarded over all the different categories. The event showed the highest number of entrants for a National XCO Championships to date confirming the interest and growth within the mountain-biking discipline.
Overall, the National Championships for XCO and XCC cycling events showcased some of the best cycling talent in the country, with athletes pushing themselves to their limits to claim the coveted national titles. Congratulations to all the winners and participants for their hard work and dedication in this prestigious event.