This time last year South African Burry Stander was a promising international racer using the Asishove Mountain Bike Race as a podium-topping bookend to his 2007 season. Now, he's the Under 23 World Cup champion and World Championship silver medallist and he confirmed on Wednesday that he'll be on the start line of the 2008 Asishove.
Ever the competitor, Stander, who won the inaugural event last year, will return to the Asishove just outside Durban on October 18 not only to try and win the 45km event again, but also to bid farewell to his longtime bike sponsor and thank his home-province fans. The 21 year-old Port Shepstonite has signed a contract to race alongside World Champion Christoph Sauser on the European-based Specialized team in 2009.
"It will be one of my last races with GT Bicycles, who have helped me achieve the success I have over the past three years. As a professional, having a supportive sponsor is essential and they've been just great. I have also enjoyed amazing support from fellow KwaZulu-Natalians while racing abroad this year and I feel it's only right to show my appreciation by doing some of my favourite local races like the Asishove," said Stander.
"Actually, while it's lots of fun, the Asishove is a deceivingly tough event and it suits me well because there are steep climbs, lots of singletrack and fast descents, which is what I'm accustomed to in the World Cup cross-country races I do. It's a great event for anyone looking for a race with a bit of everything in it and I would love to see it grow each year."
The event will take place at Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park, Pinetown and is open to all mountain bikers, with a 20km option for the less fit or beginners and youngsters. Both routes start and finish inside Giba Gorge and also incorporate sections of rolling countryside in the Shongweni area with ocean views.
For more information, visit www.amashova.co.za.