Burry Stander is back from his latest world travels and in his luggage was yet another medal, this time a silver medal for the cross-country ride of the Roc dAzur Festival in France.
Stander, who represented South Africa at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, was determined to do well at this year’s ‘roc’ as it is known.
“Even if it is considered holiday racing… after suffering badly in last years Roc I wanted to really prepare well for the event this year. Unfortunately after world champs I just didnt have the time I needed. About a week ago I started doing some good rides and decided to focus on the event anyway. Sometimes fresh legs go surprisingly well,” said Stander on his internet blog.
“I did a few hard rides on the course to prepare and get used to my 29er again. The course was similar to last year, very rocky! I also opted out of the marathon to save all my energy for the XC which is the main event on the Sunday.
“It felt quite strange be nervous again on Sunday morning. A serious field had turned up for the event and so did the spectators. The course was lined at the start and along most of the route as well. Speaking of starts, this course has my least favourite one of the year. We start on a 50m wide grass field for the first km and its absolute pain!!! The big wheels did make it somewhat easier over the bumpy tufts though.
“After just 10km we were a group of around eight riders at the front and I managed to go with all the small moves after that. It definitely wasn’t a repeat of the suffer fest that was Roc 2009. At around halfway we split into a group of five with marathon world champ Alban Lakata just hovering on the rear of the group. As we hit the beach Florian Vogel and I got a small gap on a chasing Alban which wasn’t long lived as the guy has imense power on the flat. It came down to a long power sprint in which Alban got me by about half a wheel. With very little training over the last month I was stoked!”
Stander now comes back to South Africa where he’ll be in action at the Amashova criterium and road race in Durban this weekend.