Buys and Strauss claim victories in Durbanville

Cool and wet weather welcomed cross country competitors in Durbanville, Western Province for the opening round of the South African cross country national series on Saturday.

According to Cycling SA Technical Commissioner Grevile Ruddock, excellent racing was witnessed across all categories and of particular significance, the victories in the elite men and women's groups for Philip Buys and Mariske Strauss.

For London Olympian Buys, his race started well where he went to the front and opened up a slight gap. But then he experienced problems with his gears and dropped to seventh place, spending a lot of energy chasing race leader James Reid with Ralph Naef, Florian Vogel and Brendon Davids.

Buys made his move on the fifth lap (of eight) when he launched an attack on Naef and Reid, with Naef countering the move but then experiencing his own technical problems as well, dropping back. Reid and Buys rode the final two laps about 30 seconds apart.

"The racing was pretty tight as there was a very big field, I think around 80 riders in my race, so it makes for very exciting racing, especially with the Europeans taking part," said Buys. "The course handled the rain very well - I normally struggle in the wet, but it seems like I am getting better at it now though. These were great preparations for typical European conditions."

When asked about the influx in youngsters on the start line, Buys said, "There are plenty youngsters and they are so keen. I get a lot of messages from them asking me for tips, so the sport is healthy and growing well and there should be no reason for sponsors not to get involved. There was a great spectator turnout as well."

London Olympian Candice Neethling withdrew from the race due to a sudden ailment, and it was Mariske Strauss who dominated the women's race posting magnificent times.

After a long absence from the cross country track and spending a year in the United States, Strauss could not have asked for a better start to the season. "I had the most amazing race! I felt good and know that I've done my training and my equipment was top notch," said Strauss. "My race was problem free and with my awesome supporters and feeders close by, they regularly screamed the time gaps and an abundance of motivational words."

Racing in her final year in the under 23 age category, Strauss thoroughly enjoyed the track, particularly after the rain. "The rain was perfect during our race and exactly what the track needed. I think it suited me, there was plenty of climbing and it was a very balanced course, never a dull moment. I was always working hard and never really had time to catch my breath."

Buys paid tribute to the late Burry Stander by noting Burry's absence on the start line of the race. "There was definitely a sense of emptiness in the front row," said Buys. "But we are driven to follow in his footsteps and achieve even more. I think many other younger South African cross country racers have this same drive and know now that nothing is impossible."

Both Buys and Strauss are amongst many South African participants who are anticipating the UCI MTB World Champs that will be taking place in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal in August. Many of the top racers will now prepare for the African Continental Championships, which will be taking place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal in a month's time.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philip Buys1:39:04
2James Reid*0:00:24
3Florian Vogel0:02:06
4Luke Roberts*0:02:54
5Gert Heyns*0:04:32
6Ralph Naef0:04:33
7Renay Groustra0:05:18
8Travis Walker*0:05:35
9Matthys Beukes0:06:09
10Hamish Batchelor0:06:45
11Sebastian Batchelor0:07:09
12Arno Du Toit*0:07:50
13Patrick Belton*0:10:00
14Giancarlo Sax0:10:41
15Jason Meaton*0:10:55
16Tom Ettlich0:11:43
17Greig Knox0:16:01
-1lapStephan Reyneke*Row 17 - Cell 2
-1lapBastian Labuschagn*eRow 18 - Cell 2
-1lapMax Sullivan*Row 19 - Cell 2
-2lapsMarthinus EsmeyerRow 20 - Cell 2
-2lapsThomas Stapley*Row 21 - Cell 2
-2lapsWillem Landman*Row 22 - Cell 2
DNFDominic CalitzRow 23 - Cell 2
DNFPaul Rodenbach*Row 24 - Cell 2
DNFBrendon Davids*Row 25 - Cell 2
DNFDumeni VincenzRow 26 - Cell 2
DNFAndre HugoRow 27 - Cell 2
DNFStuart MaraisRow 28 - Cell 2
DNFRourke Croeser*Row 29 - Cell 2
DNFJurgens Uys*Row 30 - Cell 2
DNFAdriaan Louw*Row 31 - Cell 2
DNFDeclan Sidey*Row 32 - Cell 2
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mariske Strauss*1:27:32
2Helen Grobert*0:01:29
3Barbara Benko0:03:49
4Cherise Stander0:04:18
5Yolande Speedy0:04:51
6Samantha Sanders0:05:23
7Ashleigh Moffatt*0:06:37
8Vera Adrian*0:09:06
9Sara Muhl0:09:38
10Kendall Ryan*0:11:22
11Amy Mcdougall0:12:13
12Siska Van Der Bijl0:14:27
-1lapHayley Smith*Row 12 - Cell 2
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Junior men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alan Hatherly1:19:44
2Nicol Carstens0:00:04
3Louw Kriel0:01:38
4Dylan Rebello0:02:37
5Sybrand Strauss0:03:26
6Stephan Senekal0:03:38
7Harrie Malan0:04:28
8Ivan Venter0:05:14
9Neil Robinson0:05:53
10Raymond Wagener0:07:31
11Frans Grotepass0:09:23
12Gareth Andrews0:11:02
13Carel Van Wyk0:12:09
14Corbin Mann0:13:01
15P J Luus0:14:33
16Dylan Williams0:16:25
17Devin Kruger0:17:01
18Waldi Kuhn0:19:52
19Carlo Marzoppi3:17:07
-1lapKeaton KorevaarRow 19 - Cell 2
-1lapThinus BrinkRow 20 - Cell 2
-1lapLwazi TshakazaRow 21 - Cell 2
-1lapSyabulela MabasoRow 22 - Cell 2
-1lapBradley AlcockRow 23 - Cell 2
-1lapAdriaan AndersonRow 24 - Cell 2
-1lapLuke BesterRow 25 - Cell 2
DNFChanning SmithRow 26 - Cell 2
DNFJannes BuijsRow 27 - Cell 2
DNFDean MorganRow 28 - Cell 2
DNFKevin KleynhansRow 29 - Cell 2
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Junior women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bianca Haw1:19:50
2Jessica Alcock0:07:33
3Mikayla Oliver0:09:07
4Marne Botha0:09:53
5Marie-Christin Kempf0:13:45
6Michelle Benson0:15:46
7Lisle Stopforth0:16:07
-1lapNicole Van Der MerweRow 7 - Cell 2

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