Under 23 cross country World Champion Burry Stander is keeping busy during the off season. On Saturday, November 14, he'll be making an appearance at the Momentum 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge in his home country of South Africa.
Stander missed the last two editions, and the last time he rode, he had to play second fiddle to John Paul Pearton. Since then, of course, Stander has taken the mountain bike world by storm. The 22-year-old Specialized/Mr Price star is is also currently the overall winner of the Under 23 World Cup series, the third best cross country rider in the world and the South African cross country and marathon champion.
"My season has actually ended, but there is so much hype and excitement around the Cycle Challenge that I let me arm be twisted into riding. It means I probably won't be at my best, as this is generally downtime for me, but I'll give it a good bash," said Stander.
The relatively short 50km ride - in professional mountain bike terms - at the Waterfall Country Estate suits Stander's ability to a tee. He excels in the shorter cross country type events and he will be very hard to beat.
Chances are pretty good that Stander will cross the finish line first, but he will face challenges from Phillip Buys (Garmin Adidas), who proved that his fitness is right up there with several recent wins, including the final round of the South African MTN marathon series.
Kevin Evans is another rider to watch. Despite being in the midst of taking some down time, he's still proven fast at recent events.
Stander has been taking part in road events over the past three weeks to ensure his fitness levels don't drop completely and has featured in the top 10 of these events on most occasions.
Stander will also be a studio guest for the live SuperSport broadcast on Cycle Challenge road event on Sunday. He'll be conversing with the world renowned "Voice of Cycling" Phil Liggett.
A full house of 4,000 riders is expected at the Momentum 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge, which concludes the Gauteng season for South Africa's top riders.
For more information, visit www.cyclechallenge.co.za.