Stander, Speedy claim elite titles for South Africa

Burry Stander (Specialized/USN) rode to victory in the elite cross country race at the African Mountain Bike Championships at Jonkershoek, near Stellenbosch, on Saturday.

"It was a most enjoyable ride," said a happy Stander afterward.

There are very good reasons why Stander enjoyed his race. For a change, he had no punctures or any other mechanical problems which meant that he was not involved in a frantic chase to catch up with the race leaders.

"I had the near perfect race," Stander said.

His winning time for the seven-lap race was one hour, 42 minutes and eight seconds. Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin-adidas) finished second in 1:48:08, Philip Buys (Garmin-adidas) was third, and Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka) was fourth.

Despite his comfortable win, Stander had some praise for his rivals. "The start of the race was certainly one of the best. Everybody raced flat out over the first kilometer. I had never experienced anything like that in a South African cross country race. I only managed to take the lead halfway through the first lap.

"From then on, I just made sure that I rode at a comfortable, consistent pace until the end."

Niyonshuti had extra motivation to ride just that little bit harder on Saturday. The reason was that Rwanda's ambassador went to Stellenbosch specially to watch the race and, of course, he did not want to disappoint a government official.

By finishing fourth Niyonshuti made sure that he became the first Rwandan ever to qualify for Olympic Games.

The performance by James Reid (Mr Price/BMC), who won his first ever under 23 cross country race, displayed true class. His winning time for the six-lap race was 1:36:33. Dominic Calitz was second in 1:37:08 and Adrian Louw third in 1:39:13.

Not surprisingly, Yolandé Speedy (MTN/Qhubeka) won the elite women's cross country race. She rode in front during the entire race for a winning time of 1:31:59.

As far as the women's racing was concerned, the highlight was undoubtedly the performance by the 18-year-old Candice Neethling (Bizhub). As with Reid, it was the first time she raced as an under 23 rider.

The moment the starter's gun boomed, Neethling set off like a rocket on fire, chasing Speedy. But, as misfortune would have it, her bike's chain came off on one of the really technical rocky sections.

She had no choice but to stop and get off her bike to see if she could untangle the mess. It must have been a frustrating few minutes for Neethling, watching all the riders in the elite group going past her. By the time she had her chain back where it belongs, she was stone last.

But Neethling refused to allow this setback to triumph over her. Like a seasoned professional she got back onto her bike and began her big chase.

"I just thought by myself that I might as well give it a go. Then slowly, one by one, I began to reel in the riders."

Neethling's gutsy performance was the talk of the spectators because, during the last three laps of the race, she achieved almost the same lap times as Speedy.

It is not surprising, therefore, that she won the under 23 race quite comfortably, beating Mariske Strauss by more than two minutes and Caitlin de Wet (Bizhub) by nearly five minutes.

Brendon Davids (Jeep) won the junior men's race, with Gert Heyns second and Luke Roberts third.

Race note: Under 23 winners Reid and Neethling, junior winners Davids and Ashleigh Parker Moffat were all coached by Johan Wykerd.Full results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite Men
1Burry Stander (South Africa)1:42:08
2Marc Bassingthwaighte (Namibia)0:06:00
3Philip Buys (South Africa)0:08:23
4Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwanda)0:12:45
5Erik Kleinhans (South Africa)0:15:51
6Mannie Heymans (Namibia)0:18:58
7Oliver Munnik (South Africa)-1lap
8Ben-Melt Swanepoel (South Africa)-2laps
9Matthys Beukes (South Africa)Row 8 - Cell 2
10Andrew Warr (South Africa)Row 9 - Cell 2
11Renay Groustra (South Africa)-3laps
12Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Greig Knox (South Africa)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Justice Makhale (South Africa)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Lee John (Zimbabwe)-4laps
16Marthinus Esmeyer (South Africa)Row 15 - Cell 2
17Chris Wolhuter (South Africa)Row 16 - Cell 2
DNSConrad Stoltz (South Africa)Row 17 - Cell 2
DNSArnaud Li Hing Fui (Mauritius)Row 18 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite Women
1Yolande Speedy (South Africa)1:31:59
2Samantha Sanders (South Africa)0:12:09
3Yolandi Du Toit (South Africa)0:13:14
4Karien Van Jaarsveld (South Africa)0:17:46
5Heletje Van Staden (Namibia)0:20:03
6Amy-Jane Mundy (South Africa)-1lap
7Tamryn Taylor (South Africa)-2laps
8Claudia Slattery (South Africa)-3laps
Swipe to scroll horizontally
U23 Men
1James Reid (South Africa)1:36:33
2Dominic Calitz (South Africa)0:00:35
3Adriaan Louw (South Africa)0:02:40
4Rourke Croeser (South Africa)0:06:49
5Louis-Bresler Knipe (South Africa)Row 4 - Cell 2
6Bryce Munro (South Africa)0:06:58
7Lourens Luus (South Africa)0:07:03
8Heiko Reecker (Namibia)0:08:07
9Ryan Ellis (South Africa)0:10:01
10Ruan Du Toit (South Africa)0:11:42
11Hilton Frost (South Africa)0:17:20
12Mark Bridges (South Africa)-1lap
13Shaun Silver (South Africa)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Michael Casey (South Africa)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Robert Frost (South Africa)-2laps
16Darryn Purtell (South Africa)Row 15 - Cell 2
17Frank Adrian (Namibia)-3laps
18Dwayne Klingbiel (South Africa)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Bonani Xatasi (South Africa)-4laps
DNFCraig Boyes (South Africa)Row 19 - Cell 2
DNFJan-Hendrik Verdoes (Namibia)Row 20 - Cell 2
DNSColin Brent (South Africa)Row 21 - Cell 2
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U23 Women
1Candice Neethling (South Africa)1:14:29
2Mariske Strauss (South Africa)0:02:12
3Caitlin De Wet (South Africa)0:04:33
4Emily Clarke (South Africa)0:18:44
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Junior Men
1Brendon Davids (South Africa)1:22:02
2Gert Heyns (South Africa)0:00:14
3Luke Roberts (South Africa)0:02:51
4Patrick Belton (South Africa)0:07:01
5Richardt Ferreira (South Africa)0:07:34
6Dylan Hattingh (South Africa)0:08:16
7Werner Van Heerden (South Africa)0:08:46
8Stephan Reyneke (South Africa)0:10:10
9Murray Starr (South Africa)0:10:28
10Olivier Le Court De Billot (Mauritius)0:14:13
11Sebastien Tyack (Mauritius)-1lap
12Ruan Erasmus (South Africa)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Ryan Gibbons (South Africa)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Luke Mashiana (South Africa)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Matthew Schofield (South Africa)Row 14 - Cell 2
16Mathieu Le Blanc (Mauritius)Row 15 - Cell 2
DNFEvan Van Der Spuy (South Africa)Row 16 - Cell 2
DNFDeclan Sidey (South Africa)Row 17 - Cell 2
DNFKyle Dorkin (South Africa)Row 18 - Cell 2
DNFPaul Rodenbach (South Africa)Row 19 - Cell 2
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Junior Women
1Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt (South Africa)1:01:43
2Vera Adrian (Namibia)0:02:10
3Hayley Smith (South Africa)0:02:54
4Linda Van Wyk (South Africa)0:03:57
5Simone Vosloo (South Africa)0:04:23
6Savanagh Vosloo (South Africa)0:05:12
7Tarryn Brent (South Africa)0:10:19
8Andrea De Boer (South Africa)0:13:37
9Tayla Odendaal (South Africa)0:14:07
10Renthea Boshoff (South Africa)-1lap
11Pia Carstens (South Africa)Row 10 - Cell 2


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