Cherise Stander takes her career off-road

Cherise Stander is bringing an end to her road racing career and switching to mountain bike racing. Starting in 2013, Stander will compete primarily in mountain bike races. Her goal is to represent South Africa at the 2014 UCI Marathon Mountain Bike World Championship in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Cherise is the wife of World Cup elite mountain biker Burry Stander (Specialized) and earlier this season she won the South African marathon national championships.

"I am not saying that I will never compete in road cycling events at all, but after not being selected for the women's road cycling team that competed at the Olympic Games in London, and also because of the atmosphere at the world road championship in the Netherlands, I think it will be a good idea for me to focus on something else for a while," said Stander, who races currently for Momentum-Toyota.

"I really had enough of all the internal politics of South African cycling. If circumstances should change over the next few years, I might consider a comeback to road cycling. But for now I will only compete in the odd local road race and, when I am overseas and an opportunity should arise, I might compete in a criterium."

Stander has previously proved her versatility both on and off road. In 2010, she made South African cycling history by winning both the Momentum 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge as well as the Momentum 94.7 Cycle. Last year she was second overall in the Cycle Challenge and she'll be back this year for the South African road event, her swansong event on the road, on November 18.

"The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge is one of the most special events on the local cycling calendar and there is great prestige involved for whoever wins. In women's cycling this is one of the most difficult races to win, because it is so unpredictable and also because the racing is so hard." She tipped Lisé Olivier and An-Li Pretorius (MTN-Qhubeka) as the two riders who can upset her plans.

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