Windhoek – South African mountain bike cyclists dominated the International Cycling Union 2019 African Continental Mountain Bike Championships that took place at Farm Windhoek in Kleine Kuppe on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
South Africa took 14 of the 18 podium places on offer during the championships, with Namibia’s Alex Miller and Zambia’s Anita Yama being the only two non-South Africans to stand on the podium.
In the men’s elite race, current world Under-23 champion Alan Hatherly put up a dominant performance to edge out fellow South African Philip Buys.
He clocked 01 hour, 20 minutes and 27 seconds (01:20:27) in the seven laps.
Buys came home in second position in a time of 01:21:24, while Namibia’s Miller was third with a time of 01:24:35. The Namibian proved he is a force to reckon with as he fought his way from position seven in the first lap.
Fellow Namibian Xavier Papo came home in position six in a time of 01:28:12.
Three other Namibians - Danzel de Koe, Heinrich Kohne and Kai-Uwe Brettschneider - did not finish the race as they were lapped.
Speaking to Nampa at the end of the race, Miller said he was happy with his performance as he had expected to be in the top five.
“This was a quality field of riders with lots of experience. I expected to be in the top five, but the Namibian support helped me a lot and made this race an exciting one. My strategy was just to stay close to the leading cyclists and take it from there,” he said.
Meanwhile in the men’s Under-23 race, South African Wessel Botha took pole position, followed by Julian Jessop and Henry Liebenberg.
The junior men’s race was also won by the South Africans, with Daniel Tjaart van der Walt leading Johan van Zyl and Tristan Nortje to a complete sweep.
The women’s elite race was won by Mariske Strauss (01:23:39) who was followed by Cherie Redecker (01:25:39) and Candice Lill (01:26:36).
Zambian Yama was the only participant in the Under-23 women’s race, finishing it in a time of 01:32:57 over four laps.
The junior women category was won by Zandri Strydom, followed by Frances Janse van Rensburg and Emma Coller.
A total of 88 cyclists took part in the event, with South Africa contributing the bulk at 46 of the participants.
The championship is a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo, Japan Olympic Games, with more than 10 African countries competing for qualification spots. - Nampa