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Reid leads the way for SA riders at World Championships
- Updated: September 8, 2014
Another world mountain bike championships have come and gone and South African cyclists were once again well represented, on this occasion in Hafjell, Norway, writes Mark Etheridge.
After African Youth Games champions Frankie du Toit and Alan Hatherly had got things up and running late last week and the weekend saw the Under-23 men and women in action as well as the Elite categories.
London Olympian Candice Neethling ended 32nd in the U23 women’s field, coming home 15min 08sec behind Swiss winner Jolanda Neff who won in 1:17:49.
In the men’s equivalent event, young James Reid had the best finish of the SA contingent who made the trip to Scandinavia when he finished 10th in a field of 99 starters.
The national marathon champion’s time saw him ending just +3:16 behind Dutch finisher Michiel van der Heijden who won in 1:18:40. Also in the men’s U23 event, Gert Heyns was 50th (+11:38) and William Mokgopo 79th, three laps down.
London Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games competitor Phillip Buys was best of the SA men in the elite event, ending 42nd, 11:38 behind French gold medallist Julien Absolom who won in 1:27:06.
‘A better World Champs than I expected,’ said Buys. ‘Build-up the last two months were horrible with untimely flu’s. Thanx to those who always support.’
Also in the men’s race, Rourke Croeser took 55th, one lap down.
There was no SA participation in the elite women’s race as top racer Mariske Strauss still recovers from her crash days before the Commonwealth Games in Scotland around six weeks ago.
‘I’ve learnt that abdominal muscles need time to come right so today is actually the third day in a row that I’ve gone for a spin,’ she told Road to Rio 2016. ‘Snail pace but baby steps.’
In the downhill races, Andrew Neethling was 21st in 3:31.053 after breaking his chain during his run as Gee Atherton won with a 3:23.769 and Greg Minnaar 30th in 3:33.833 who punctured and crashed during his run as well.
Picture: Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media