Neethling, Botha take the spoils in MTB Cup | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Neethling, Botha take the spoils in MTB Cup

Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg provided perfect conditions for Sunday’s second round of the Cycling SA-MTB National Downhill Cup Series leaving the deciding of the final outcome to the performance of the riders with the track in pristine condition.

With a field of 60 riders participating, it provided for a solid day of racing action. The qualifying times of the elite men were just outside the four-minute mark and the pressure of the race produced a number of times in the top five below four minutes.

Cape Town rider Jonty Neethling, sponsored by Monster Energy, Fox and Morewood, qualified outside of the top five and confessed to have taken a cautious approach to the seeding run. He certainly held nothing back in the race final proving that even after just returning from a shoulder injury, which has sidelined him for a few months, that he will remain a serious contender for the SA series title. Neethling posted a winning time of 3min 56.34sec.

It wasn’t all plain sailing as fellow Capetonian Stefan Garlicki (Investec), who was top seed for the race, was given a clear run after second seed Timothy Bentley (brand ambassador Specialized/Fox) went out with a crash, injuring his shoulder. Garlicki, who leaves next month to start his overseas racing campaign, looked in great form, missing out on the top spot by less than a second.

Not to be left out of the action, Tiaan Odendaal snatched third place ahead of fourth placed Alasdair Fey and fifth placed Hayden Brown, who all finished within half a second of each other.

Local Nadia Botha (Velolife) won the women’s race by just over 10 seconds from Kathryn Fourie, claiming the top spot in 5:29.38.

Neethling, who had surgery on his shoulder in January because of a trapped vein, said he took it easy in the seeding run. ÔÇ£I knew there was a big pedal section so I rather wanted to save my legs for the final. I was a bit nervous at the top, but when I made it through the first section, the nerves were gone and I let it loose.

“It was a really fun race today. I don’t think any of us enjoy the pedalling sections, but it’s the only way we can prepare for the world champs. Cascades is such a good track. I was hoping for a top five so I am very happy with the result.ÔÇØ

Second placed Garlicki was pleased with his run. ÔÇ£It was so close. I’m really happy, but when you’re so close its kind of frustrating at the same time. I was very happy. Even though I made one minor mistake, the rest of the run was all good. I couldn’t have done much more than I did today.ÔÇØ

The women’s race winner Botha has been racing downhill for five years now, and was also pleased with her result. ÔÇ£The track was amazing ÔÇô super dry, which was nice, and way better than the African Continental Champs weekend, which was wet and muddy. There was enough grip and I had a lot of fun.ÔÇØ

Results

Elite Men
1 Jonty Neethling 3:56.34
2 Stefan Garlicki 3:56.59
3 Tiaan Odendaal 3:59.38
4 Alasdair Fey 3:59.56
5 Hayden Brown 3:59.81

Junior Men
1 Theo Erlangsen 4:09.26
2 Andrew Martin 4:10.41
3 JP du Plessis 4:13.06

Elite Women
1 Nadia Botha 5:29.38
2 Katherine Fourie 5:39.69
3. Kate Stephenson 5:51.31


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