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Top 10 finish for Stander

By Mark Etheridge

Our Beijing Olympian mountain biker Burry Stander returned to Val di Sole, Italy at the weekend with fond memories.

After all it was at this venue that the 2008 world championships were staged and Stander medalled.

But for this weekend’s fifth round of the UCI World Cup, the memories were grim ones as Stander took strain.

He ended up 10th behind Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, and although he won’t be displeased, given the circumstance, Stander will want to put this result behind him.

“It was here that I got silver in the Under-23 section,” said Stander. “The course was similar to the past but had a few key changes, mostly in the form of leg-crushingly steep ascents. In the days leading up to the race I enjoyed riding the track and was hoping for a big result.”

It all started off fine for Stander as the field raced in hot conditions, approaching 33 degrees Celcius.

“I had a steady start, coming around the first lap in about seventh spot, just four seconds off the lead group. I chased hard on the second laps but the trouble was that I caught the leaders and hit the wall almost simultaneously.”

Stander then started slipping back in the field and ended up riding with Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) for a couple of laps as he attempted to recover.

“With around two laps to go I had to let go and then Specialized team-mate Christoph Sauser and German rider Moritz Milatz joined me for a while, before they attacked me halfway around the penultimate climb. I was having a mediocre day on a course where you were looking for your best!

“I suffered on as best i could, in fact I don’t think I’ve dug that deep in a couple of years! I came in 10th four minutes down which was satisfactory and I was pretty happy to make the pain stop. The bike worked great again this weekend and the boys at Specialized are doing a stellar job at looking after us.

“I’m looking forward to some better recovery this week. Last week I did some mileage for marathon worlds coming up this Sunday. Maybe not the best thing to focus on between World Cup races.”


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