South Africa downhill and cross-country racing round-up

Andrew Neethling and Barry Stander victorious in Mankele

Andrew Neethling won the second round of the South African MTN National Cup downhill series ahead of Johann Potgieter (Cannondale) and Gary Barnard (Fox Morewood).

The race was held in Mankele, inMpumalangaprovince,on a technical 1.8km course through rugged terrain which included rock gardens, bridges, jumps, berms and tight switchbacks. Riders got two runs, and the fastest one determined their final position.

Neethling had to use his second run to beat fellow Capetonian Johann Potgieter (Cannondale) to the top podium place. Neethling said: “Johann really forced me to wake up for the second run. I’m pretty much expected to win when I race in South Africa and I try my very best to live up to those expectations. It feels really good to get a second win so early in the year.”

Johann Potgieter’s fast first race run caused a stir

Potgieter’s first run gave him second place with Gary Barnard (Fox Morewood) finishing third. Jonty Neethling (Fox Morewood) got fourth place and 2008 national junior champion Hayden Brown (Mongoose) finished fifth.

Burry Stander wins cross-country despite shoe drama

In the men’s elite cross-country race Burry Stander took the win despite breaking one of his clipless pedal cleats on the first of his six laps. South African cross-country champion Brandon Stewart finished second ahead of Max Knox in third.

Stander broke the cleat on his left shoe when he hit a rock and had to use a borrowed pair of women’s shoes on his second lap until his spare pair was found. The setback put Stander into seventh place, but by the end of the fourth lap he was in first position with a 45-second lead.

Burry Stander negotiates one of the many wooden bridges on the cross-country course

“I usually have my spare shoes in the Tech Zone, but had forgotten them today. Luckily one of the women who had just finished racing had Specialized shoes with Crank Brothers cleats so I rode a lap with her shoes to limit my losses while my dad rushed off to fetch my spare shoes,” said Stander.

“Her shoes were a bit small so I rode the lap with my toes curled up! But once I had my own shoes, I put in a big effort and managed to take the lead again about halfway through the third lap. The course was superb and unbelievably fast, but towards the end I started to take some strain on the climbs. I’m happy to have been able to win especially with that shoe incident.”

Downhill results

Men

1 Andrew Neethling – Trek 2min 04.54sec
2 Johann Potgieter – Cannondale 2:08.56
3 Gary Barnard – Fox Morewood 2:10.18
4 Jonty Neethling – Fox Morewood 2:11.64
5 Hayden Brown – Mongoose 2:11.65

Junior men

1 Timothy Bentley 2:12.10
2 Pierre van der Merwe 2:14.10
3 Luke Davis 2:21.10

Cross-country results

Men

1 Burry Stander - Mr Price Specialized 02hr 18min 00sec
2 Brandon Stewart - DCM Chrome 2:23:06
3 Max Knox - DCM Chrome 2:23:10
4 Marc Bassingthwaighte - Garmin adidas 2:26:31
5 Roan Exelby - Fullimput Morewood 2:27:52

Elite men

1 Brandon Stewart - DCM Chrome 2:23:06
2 Marc Bassingthwaighte - Garmin adidas 2:26:31
3 Roan Exelby - Fullimput Morewood 2:27:52

Under-23

1 Burry Stander - Mr Price Specialized 2:18:00
2 Max Knox - DCM Chrome 2:23:10
3 Philip Buys - Garmin adidas 2:30:20

Women - Pro-Elite

1 Sara Muhl - Jeep 02hr 03min 01sec
2 Heletjie van Staden - Schwinn 2:05:37
3 Janneke Laesk 2:06:54
4 Shawna Thunder - The Leigh Group 2:20:12
5 Melanie Palframan - Fox 2:22:42

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