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Burry stands tall in Harrismith

Beijing Olympian Burry Stander rode to an impressive victory at the MTN national mountain-bike  championships in Harrismith at the weekend.

He dominated from start to finish, winning the N3TX Dirty Harry event over 120 kilometres in a time of 4hr 17min.

Runner-up was his Specialized club-mate Ben-Melt Swanepoel in 4:24 with Garmin-adidas rider Francois Theron third in 4:30.

Stander only arrived back in South Africa on Wednesday where he had ridden World Cup cross-country races.

But there was no questioning his stamina and he was helped by opting for a “soft tail” bike, meaning that his body took less of a pounding.

“It was a little cold but a lot drier than Canada,” said Stander. “The first few kays were neutral which was great to warm the legs up, unlike the World Cups where you go straight to the pain zone as soon as the gun fires.

“I upped the tempo on the climb and managed to pull a gap of just under a minute as I neared the top. I knew that if I could get out of sight early and setle into my own rhythm on the very bumpy route the gap would grow rapidly and so it did. The bike was just incredible. I just focussed on keeping a high cadence over the first three hours and the bike did the rest. By the time I got to the 75km tech and feed zone I had a five-minute gap and I was still feeling relatively fresh.

“After a hard 4hr 17min in the saddle I claimed my first national marathon title and I was extremely stoked and also excited because in second place was SA specialized’s Ben-melt Swanepoel making it a 1-2 for the Specialized epic!”


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