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Burry blazes to title

South Africa’s Burry Stander (Specialized USN) put in a dominant performance at Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch near Cape Town on Saturday to retain the African Elite men’s cross-country mountain bike racing title.

The 2009 Under-23 cross-country world champion and 2008 Beijing Olympian masterfully completed the seven laps of the short, but testing 4.2km course, more than five minutes faster than his nearest rival, leading from start to finish to claim his third African title in total, and his second in the Elite category.

As one of the world’s leading cross-country racers, Stander was the clear pre-race favourite, even more so following his silver medal-winning ride at last week’s South African road race championships in Port Elizabeth.

Riding a dual-suspension 29-inch-wheeled bike (standard mountain bikes traditionally have 26-inch diameter wheels), Stander recorded lap times over half a minute faster than anyone else and had no mechanical difficulties to contend with.

ÔÇ£It was one of the best races I have had in South Africa. No problems at all out there. After having suffered from a bit of a cold this past week, I started out with a conservative pace and kept it there because it was enough to keep me in front. I felt a bit spent towards the end though,ÔÇØ said Stander.

Stander was full of praise for the course. ÔÇ£It’s one of the best courses I’ve ever raced on, not just in South Africa but anywhere in the world. It was really a tough course. The fact that the perfect bike for this course is a dual suspension 29-er gives you an indication of how challenging this route was,ÔÇØ explained Stander afterwards.

South Africans won all six International Cycling Union racing category titles on offer. Beijing Olympian Yolande Speedy (MTN Qhubeka) secured the Elite women’s title, Candice Neethling (Team Bizhub) took the Under-23 women’s title and Ashleigh Parker Moffatt won the Junior women’s gold medal. James Reid (Mr Price BMC) won the Under-23 men’s title in his first year in that category.

Results
Men overall:

1.┬á┬á ┬áBurry Stander ÔÇô RSA (Specialized USN)
2.┬á┬á ┬áMarc Bassingthwaighte ÔÇô NAM (Garmin adidas)
3.┬á┬á ┬áPhilip Buys ÔÇô RSA (Garmin adidas)
4.┬á┬á ┬áAdrien Nyonshuti ÔÇô RWA (MTN Qhubeka)

Women overall:
1.┬á┬á ┬áYolande Speedy ÔÇô RSA (MTN Qhubeka)
2.┬á┬á ┬áCandice Neethling ÔÇô RSA (Team Bizhub)
3.┬á┬á ┬áMariske Strauss ÔÇô RSA (MTN Qhubeka)


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