Jonty Neethling takes split second downhill victory

Botha wins women's race

Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg provided perfect conditions again for the second round of the Cycling SA-MTB National Downhill Cup Series. Racer enjoyed competing on a track that was in pristine condition, and at the end of the day, Jonty Neethling and Nadia Botha were crowned victors in the elite races.

The qualifying times of the elite men were just outside of the four-minute mark and the pressure of the race produced a number of times in the top five below four minutes.

Men

Cape Town rider Jonty Neethling (Monster Energy, Fox and Morewood) qualified outside of the top five and confessed to have taken a cautious approach to the seeding run. He certainly held nothing back in the race final proving that even after just returning from a shoulder injury, which has sidelined him for a few months, that he will remain a serious contender for the South African series title. Neethling posted a winning time of 3:56.04.

It wasn't all plain sailing as fellow Capetonian Stefan Garlicki (Investec), who was top seed for the race, was given a clear run after second seed Timothy Bentley (Specialized/Fox) went out with a crash, injuring his shoulder. Garlicki, who leaves next month to start his overseas racing campaign, looked in great form, missing out on the top spot by less than a second.

Not to be left out of the action, Tiaan Odendaal snatched third place ahead of fourth placed Alasdair Fey and fifth placed Hayden Brown, who all finished within half a second of each other.

Neethling, who had surgery on his shoulder in January because of a trapped vein, said he took it easy in the seeding run. "I knew there was a big pedal section so I rather wanted to save my legs for the final. I was a bit nervous at the top, but when I made it through the first section, the nerves were gone and I let it loose. It was a really fun race today. I don't think any of us enjoy the pedaling sections, but it's the only way we can prepare for the world champs. Cascades is such a good track. I was hoping for a top five so I am very happy with the result."

Second placed Garlicki was pleased with his run. "It was so close. I'm really happy, but when you're so close its kind of frustrating at the same time. I was very happy. Even though I made one minor mistake, the rest of the run was all good. I couldn't have done much more than I did today."

Women

Local Nadia Botha (Velolife) won the women's race by just over ten seconds from Kathryn Fourie, claiming the top spot in 00:05:29.38.

The women's race winner Botha has been racing downhill for five years now, and was also pleased with her result. "The track was amazing - super dry, which was nice, and way better than the African Continental Champs weekend, which was wet and muddy. There was enough grip and I had a lot of fun."

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jonty Neethling0:03:56.34 
2Stefan Garlicki0:00:00.25 
3Tiaan Odendaal0:00:03.04 
4Alasdair Fey0:00:03.22 
5Hayden Brown0:00:03.47 
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nadia Botha0:05:29.38 
2Katherine Fourie0:00:10.31 
3Kate Stephenson0:00:21.93 
Junior men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Theo Erlangsen0:04:09.26 
2Andrew Martin0:00:01.15 
3JP du Plessis0:00:03.80 
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