Stander and Speedy among favourites for South African cross country nationals

Beijing Olympians Burry Stander (Mr Price Specialized) and Yolande Speedy (IMC Racing Momentum) are...

Beijing Olympians Burry Stander (Mr Price Specialized) and Yolande Speedy (IMC Racing Momentum) are among the favourites to shine at this weekend's South African National Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships, which take place in George on Saturday and doubles as round three of the national series.

Fresh off winning a silver medal in Thursday's Under 23 road championships and fourth overall in the time trial championships, Stander is happy with his form and hopes it will translate into a seventh successive national cross country title.

"My first goal each year is to retain my national title," said Stander. "I then build my racing season overseas from there. It's important to race the national championships – no matter how successful you are outside your own country."

"I've been preparing for the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, which has involved a lot of long distance riding, but my speed hasn't been compromised much, and I look forward to some flat-out cross-country racing this weekend."

In the women's race, Speedy is making a return to cross country racing after a long layoff as a result of an operation last November. She's been focusing her training time on preparing for the Cape Epic, but is still a strong favourite.

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