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Burry beaten in PMB

Swiss world number two Nino Schurter won an enthralling showdown with South African hero Burry Stander to win the weekend’s Momentum Health XCO International, and in the process bagged the key psychological bonus ahead of this weekend’s RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup over the same course at the Cascades MTB Park.

Schurter and his Scott-Swisspower team mate Florian Vogel worked together to keep an eager and strong-looking Stander at bay, with Schurter getting away in the closing stages of the final lap to secure the win.

However the Swiss rider was quick to acknowledge that the racing will be far tougher when the rest of Stander’s Specialized team is on the start line.

“It was good to win but be sure when the rest of the Specialized team is there this weekend, it will be very different,” said a gracious Schurter, whose team-mate Vogel secured the last spot on the podium.

Schurter enthused about the revamped layout at the Cascades MTB Park, particularly as it made life a lot easier for their crews in the technical and feed zones that are now alongside each other.

He also thrived on the new technical features added to the course. “The course was great, especially the new rock gardens and technical sections have been added since we raced it here last year.”

Stander, a Beijing 2008 Olympian, was pleased with his performance particularly as he had jetted in from Cape Town earlier that morning, and raced straight to the venue in time for the race.

His Specialized team-mates Christoph Sauser and world number one Jarolasav Kulhavy will join him in Pietermaritzburg this week as they prepare for the season-opening World Cup that is of major significance to all of the pro teams and the many international stars still trying to qualify their places for the London Olympics.

The weekend’s cross country racing at the Cascades MTB park was well supported by elite racers preparing for the RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup, with six of the world top 10 ranked riders on the starting line and the elite international entry reaching 100 riders.

The RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg takes place at the Cascades MTB Park from 16-18 March 2012.


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