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All South African field for cross country World Cup opener
Hayley Smith overcame all odds to claim victory in the junior women's race
As the men's elite cross country event finished, the heavens opened over the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg making the conditions for the women's under 23 and junior women's races of the 2012 UCI MTB World Cup which followed exceptionally difficult.
By the end of their races, most of the competitors were barely recognisable beneath the mud that covered them from head to foot, however, local rider Hayley Smith claimed the junior women's title.
Smith's victory in the junior women's event, which featured an all-South African field, was quite remarkable considering the obstacles she has overcome in the past year.
"I had a heart operation last year in April," she said. "And two weeks after that, I broke my collarbone, so then I was out for another six weeks. So I am really happy just to be here and have made a comeback."
"It was extremely tough," she said. "The conditions made it really hard, but I really still enjoyed myself it was a lot of fun."
The slippery course meant that the competitors had to resort to running in many places. "I was just slipping down on my bum on most of the features and it made it really hard just to ride some sections as they were just totally unrideable," said Smith.
Nicole Erasmus claimed second place, with third going to Savannah Vosloo.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Hayley Smith (RSA) South Africa - B||0:59:11|
|2||Nicole Erasmus (RSA) South Africa - B||0:04:19|
|3||Savannah Vosloo (RSA) South Africa - B||0:06:23|
|4||Mikayla Olivier (RSA) South Africa - B||0:12:16|
|5||Marie-Christin Kempf (RSA) South Africa - B||0:16:20|
|6||Linda Van Wyk (RSA) South Africa - B||0:18:06|
|7||Tayla Odendaal (RSA) South Africa - B||0:21:27|