SA team end 11th | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA team end 11th

The 2011 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships kicked off on Wednesday with the junior women cross-country (XCO) and the national XCO Team Relay at the Swiss resort of Champ├®ry.

Approximately 840 athletes from 49 countries have entered for the mountain bike races, which sees nearly all the big names that have dominated the season so far battle it out for the ultimate glory: the World Champion’s rainbow jersey.

For the cross-country specialists, this edition of the World Championships is the last before the 2012 London Olympics.

Amidst eager fans who had gathered for the opening Championship events of the week, the Team Relay spiced up the action when the world’s best XCO riders went head-to-head in an exciting sprint race in a relay format. ┬áAcknowledged as a recognised speciality of the world mountain bike championships, the Team Relay allows each nation to enter only a single team comprising one Elite Man, one Elite Woman, one under-23 Man and one Junior Man; and each rider selected must already be entered for the individual downhill, 4X, or Olympic cross-country events.

South Africa’s finest representatives meeting this criteria were Mariske Strauss (Under-23), Rourke Croeser (U23), Luke Roberts (Junior) and Burry Stander (Elite), finishing 11th in a star-studded race that included current Mountain Bike World Champion Nino Schurter (SUI) and winner of the 2011 World Cup Series Julie Bresset (FRA).

France took top honours and the gold medal, finishing the race in 54min 04sec; Switzerland claimed silver 41ÔÇô seconds behind and Italy secured bronze 54sec off the pace. South Africa’s 11th place was completed in 57:39.

Earlier Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt raced in the Junior Women’s XCO finishing 32nd, +14:03 behind eventual winner and local Swiss rider Linda Indergand ÔÇô Indergand’s winning time was 57:30.

Thursday sees the Junior Men and U23 Women take to the XCO track for World Championship prestige. South African riders who will be kitting up are Luke Roberts, Brendon Davids, Gert Heyns, Mariske Strauss and Candice Neethling.

South Africa’s World MTB Championship Squad:

Burry Stander ÔÇô XCO
Philip Buys ÔÇô XCO
Greg Minnaar ÔÇô DHI
Andrew Neethling ÔÇô DHI
Tim Bentley ÔÇô DHI
Johann Potgieter ÔÇô DHI

James Reid ÔÇô XCO
Rourke Croeser ÔÇô XCO
Dominic Calitz ÔÇô XCO
Mariske Strauss ÔÇô XCO
Candice Neethling ÔÇô XCO

Luke Roberts ÔÇô XCO
Brendon Davids ÔÇô XCO
Gert Heyns ÔÇô XCO
Ashleigh Parker-Moffatt ÔÇô XCO
Adi van der Merwe ÔÇô DHI
Tiaan Odendaal ÔÇô DHI
Alasdair Fey ÔÇô DHI

Team Manager: Bryan Strauss
Team Mechanic: Rob Cunnington