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Stander stamps his class

Reigning ABSA Cape Epic champion and 2008 Beijing Olympian, Burry Stander (Specialized USN), captured his second marathon victory in successive weekends when he won the 105km MTN ’50 Miler’ mountain bike event in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

The 24-year-old Stander clocked a winning time of 4hrs 18min 34sec for the tough course, which included over 3000 metres of vertical ascent, just six days after capturing the title at the Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill2Hill marathon in the same province last Sunday.

Rwandan star, Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN Qhubeka) was second with Max Knox (DoItNow Ghost) third. David George (Nedbank 360 Life) and current South African road cycling champion, Darren Lill (Team Bonitas) rounded out the top five.

ÔÇ£It was my ninth weekend of racing in a row, so I wasn’t in the mood to go hard from the start so I just sat behind the others in the early stages,ÔÇØ explained Stander ÔÇ£But as the race went on I felt quite good as the tough course started to take its toll.ÔÇØ

There were more than 3000m of ascent in the 105km race, with almost 400 metres of that coming in the final 5km.

ÔÇ£With about 30km to go I started to push the pace a bit and the guys left in the lead group started to drop off. I just kept the pace steady because the course really did the rest as the climbs were hard and the descents were mostly singletrack. It’s probably the best marathon course I’ve ridden this year,ÔÇØ added Stander.

George, Knox, Lill and Niyonshuti survived until the final few kilometres with Stander.

ÔÇ£Adrien really impressed me. He looked like he was taking the most strain but he was the guy that hung on the longest. I actually had to pull out a bit extra to get rid of him on that last climb. He rode a 26-inch-wheeled hardtail bike, which makes his effort even more impressive (most top marathon racers now compete on 29-inch-wheeled bikes).ÔÇØ

The MTN 50 Miler was the penultimate round of the eight-leg MTN National Series. George and Niyonshuti are  the two riders in contention for the coveted title, which will be decided at the MTN Crater Cruise next month.

MTN 50 Miler, 105km
Leading results:
1 Burry Stander (Specialized USN) 4hr 18min 34sec
2 Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN Qhubeka) 4:20:21
3 Max Knox (DoItNow Ghost) 4:22:35
4 David George (Nedbank 360Life) 4:24:01
5 Darren Lill (Team Bonitas) 4:24:51
6 Kevin Evans (Nedbank 360Life) 4:26:34
7 Ben Melt Swanepoel (Specialized) 4:27:58
8 Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) 4:32:11
9 Brandon Stewart (ITEC Connect) 4:34:38
10 Philip Buys (Garmin adidas) 4:34:55


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