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Burry wins in US

Beijing Olympian Burry Stander has won the Sea Otter Classic cross-country cycle race in Monterey, California.

With his Specialized Factory Racing team controlling what was half road race and half mountain bike race, Stander won a sprint finish as he out-kicked Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) in a three-man sprint finish on the Laguna Seca racetrack.

KwaZulu-Natal based Stander’s Specialized teammate Todd Wells finished third.

The race took the form of five laps on a 5.12-kilometre circuit, with about half of each lap running on the asphalt racetrack before turning up into the hills above Laguna Seca. A total of 125 riders started the event, and the first lap on the track was raced in a colorful peloton, which meant road-racing tactics ensued.

The Specialized team of Stander, Wells and Christoph Sauser, who finished fourth, hammered at the front of the group. That left Kabush alone to cover attacks by Specialized’s heavy hitters, sit in or throw a few jabs of his own.

Stander, the current Under-23 world championa, said he was ÔÇ£psychedÔÇØ to win Sea Otter, his first victory at the 20-year-old event. Sauser , who along with Stander was part of the Cape Epic adventure race earlier this year, won the event last year.

But even with his team driving things, Stander said he had a difficult time shaking Canada’s Kabush, which made the finish a sprint to the line.

ÔÇ£It was tough,ÔÇØ Stander said. ÔÇ£I just couldn’t get a gap on Kabush.ÔÇØ

Going into the race, Kabush said that he figured it would be a tight finish. ÔÇ£My goal was to get to the line in a sprint and I did that,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£I felt good. Obviously I wanted to win, but it was a good race.ÔÇØ

Race organisers switched up the course so that it would be more spectator friendly. In previous years laps were longer and sent riders further away from the Sea Otter expo area. The change was part of an effort to shorten all the Pro Cross-Country Tour tracks to 15 to 22 minute laps so races appeal more to spectators.

How that went down with racers was a mixed-bag. Wells said he felt the course was short and that a sixth lap should have been added. Stander said it lacked big hills.

ÔÇ£I prefer longer and steeper climbs,ÔÇØ he said.

ÔÇ£I was trying to keep it in control on the road,ÔÇØ Kabush said. ÔÇ£On selective parts of the road I hit it a few times to soften them up.ÔÇØ
Early on Kabush worked with some of the Cannondale Factory Racing team, but by and large he was a one-man band. CFR rider and former cross-country world champ Roel Paullison managed sixth place despite stomach pains.

ÔÇ£It would have been nice to have another non-Specialized guy up there to cover the attacks,ÔÇØ Kabush said.


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