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Neethling nails African downhill championships in close encounter

Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory Off-Road Team)

Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Western Cape local Andrew Neethling, a professional racer for the international Giant Factory Racing Team, claimed the 2014 African Continental Championship downhill title at Contermanskloof on Sunday.

Neethling's victory was not entirely a walk-in-the-park as he secured the winning time of two minutes 6.94 seconds in a close encounter with just under four seconds separating the top five finishers.

2013 African Continental Champs silver medallist Tiaan Odendaal repeated his finish by claiming silver yet again, a mere 0.42 seconds off the pace, with fellow local rider Johann Potgieter taking the bronze medal a further 1.30 seconds back.

Tim Bentley and Stefan Garlicki finished in fourth and fifth places respectively, clocking 2:09.25 and 2:10.69 respectively in their final runs.

"My off-season has been good, but good means hard," said Neethling after his victory. "I've been working hard at my fitness and my coach has not been easy on me. It felt good to race again after a long training block."

Neethling's next big event with his pro team is early April, for the start of the UCI World Cup season in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking about the race at Contermanskloof, Neethling described just how close it was: "The top section of the track makes the racing very close, but it is the second half of the track where it gets really exciting. The trail becomes a lot looser and dustier, with holes developing, and the racing lines changing as the day progresses.

"My seeding run was consistent - it was what I wanted. Tiaan's result was not a surprise, but he was a lot closer than I expected - he is a great rider. I knew Johann (Potgieter) and Stefan (Garlicki) would be fast on the local course and that they would be out for blood as usual."

The elite women's title was claimed by Hayley-Ann Adamson in a time of four minutes and 38.79 seconds.

Andrew Martin posted the fastest time in the junior men's category to secure his victory in 2:18.60. Martin was followed by Jonathan Philogene (2:22.29) and Gregg Brown (2:28.79).


Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andrew Neethling (South Africa)0:02:06.94
2Tiaan Odendaal (South Africa)0:00:00.42
3Johann Potgieter (South Africa)0:00:01.72
4Timothy Bentley (South Africa)0:00:02.31
5Stefan Garlicki (South Africa)0:00:03.75
6Samuel Bull (South Africa)0:00:06.00
7Jonty Neethling (South Africa)0:00:08.73
8Theo Erlangsen (South Africa)0:00:08.74
9Adi Van Der Merwe (South Africa)0:00:09.19
10Hayden Brown (South Africa)0:00:10.40
11Darryn Stowe (South Africa)0:00:11.40
12Andrew Martin (South Africa)0:00:11.66
13Adriaan Smit (South Africa)0:00:13.13
14Duran Van Eeden (South Africa)0:00:14.23
15Ryan Frerichs (South Africa)0:00:14.35
16Tian Strooh (South Africa)0:00:15.26
17Jonathan Philogene (South Africa)0:00:15.35
18Roman Kumpers (South Africa)0:00:19.31
19David Hogan (South Africa)0:00:19.59
20Dane Olsen (South Africa)0:00:20.20
21Shane Martin (South Africa)0:00:21.84
22Gregg Brown (South Africa)0:00:21.85
23Kelvin Purchase (South Africa)0:00:22.21
24Andre Pretorius (South Africa)0:00:24.26
25Jacques Prins (South Africa)0:00:28.16
26Dylan Els (South Africa)0:00:30.90
27Louis Smith (South Africa)
28James De Villiers (South Africa)0:00:32.35
29Theo Ngubane (South Africa)0:00:32.88
30Sebastian Petersen (South Africa)0:00:35.51
31Nicholas Camp (South Africa)0:00:39.34
32Dricus Pretorius (South Africa)0:00:39.69
33Robyn Geldenhuys (South Africa)0:00:43.78
34Tynan Usswald (South Africa)0:00:44.47
35Christopher Cartwright (South Africa)0:00:48.51
36James Savage (South Africa)0:00:55.19
37Joshua Bryant (South Africa)0:00:55.85
38Ryan Du Toit (South Africa)0:02:25.85
39Louis Van Sandwyk (South Africa)0:02:31.66

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hayley-Ann Adamson (South Africa)0:04:38.79
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