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Stander tops Down Under
- Updated: September 4, 2009
By Mark Etheridge
Burry Stander is South Africa’s latest world champion!
Early on Friday the young KwaZulu-Natalian powered his bike to victory in the men’s under-23 cross-country event at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Canberra, Australia.
Stander represented South Africa at last year’s Beijing Olympics where he finished 15th.
But Friday the odds-on favourite was unstoppable as he simply flew around the six-lap course.
He covered the 38.82 kilometres at an average speed of 21.68km/h before crossing the finish line with the South African flag flying over his shoulder.
Victory was the perfect early birthday present for the Umtentweni, South Coast rider as he turns 22 on September 16.
His time was 1hr 47min 26sec and he beat runner-up Alexis Vuillermoz by 1min 21sec. This despite the Frenchman posting the fastest last lap of the day
Bronze medallist was Switzerland’s Thomas Litscher, 2:46 further back.
Stander went into the event as favourite after some superb World Cup form.
ÔÇ£A couple of days leading up to the race it was pretty nerve racking but today I was just focused on the start because I knew it would play a vital part in the race,ÔÇØ Stander said. “Unfortunately we had a really strong head wind so it wasn’t possible to take the lead from the beginning. We had to take our chances in the group and then wait until the single track before we made a move.
ÔÇ£Things worked out and I got into the track in second and from there on the race went perfectly.ÔÇØ