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SA trio find it tough going at World Championships

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By Mark Etheridge

South Africa wrapped up their UCI Mountain Bike World Championships campaign with Philip Buys, James Reid and Sipho Madolo racing the elite men’s race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic on Sunday.
The race was won by Switzerland’s Nino Schurter in a time of 1hr 28min 20sec in front of 23,000 enthusiastic fans.
Runner-up was the host nation’s Jaroslav Kulhavy, 17sec adrift and France’s Julien Absalon a further 13sec back.
Further down the field were the South African duo, Buys ending in 45th spot (+7:59), Reid just two spots back (8:45) while Madolo ended 98th.
Buys, who wore the green and gold for South Africa at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, told Road to Rio 2016 of his race: ‘My start was horrible. I think I just made the wrong choice with choosing my position on call-up and ended up behind the slowest starters.
‘After the second lap I got through most of the traffic and could settle into my own rhythm.
‘My lap times were around the 30th positions and it’s good to feel solid power in the legs at this stage of build-up.’
During the course of the race, Buys worked his way up from 79th to 45th spot. Next up for the Pretoria athlete are the national championships in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal on 16 July.
As for Reid, pictured above, the Cape Town ace was racing with a few restraints.
‘I’ve been nursing a few bruised ribs from a crash a week ago, and that’s shutting down my back a bit so I’m unable to deliver the power properly on race day, but it’s better every day and hopefully this weekend will be better than the last,’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
‘We’re working on a longer build as we have a number of objectives in the next few weeks, including another World Cup this weekend and National Champs the following – it really is race season now, and time to get things right. Having a solid shot at defending the National title next week will also be important.’
Elaborating on his crash from a week ago, Reid went on: ‘It was at a Swiss Cup in the week leading up to Worlds, and with ribs it affects both posture on the bike and breathing – it’s really just a small niggle.”
‘It’s not bad, just a bit limiting on the high-end but I’m sure it will be 100% this weekend.’
Rising star Alan Hatherly’s 17th in the U23 men’s race on Saturday was South Africa’s best placing of the championships.


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