SA's Commonwealth Games cyclists in World Cup action | TeamSA - TeamSA

SA’s Commonwealth Games cyclists in World Cup action


By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s two women mountain bikers for next month’s Commonwealth Games both saw hometown action at the weekend’s UCI World Cup cross-country event in Stellenbosch.

Already with one Commonwealth Games (2014) under her belt, Mariske Strauss ended 28th and German-based Cherie Redecker 35th.

They were respectively 7min 24sec and 11:24 behind winner Annika Langvad of Denmark.

South Africa’s men’s cross-country representative for the Gold Coast Games, Alan Hatherly is still on the mend after a serious crash in a multiple-stage event a few weeks back.

‘I’m quite happy with [the way] things went,’ said Durbanville’s Strauss. ‘I was aiming for top 20 and I’m happy with my position considering the first lap.

‘It’s the first World Cup of [the] season and [it] is really early in the season in any case. To be honest, I’m not really thinking of the Commie Games right now as I have the Cape Epic to get through first. I’m getting into training for that now and am better prepped than last year. I’m taking it on with Annie Last [10th at the weekend’s World Cup] so once that’s done I’ll just see how I feel.

‘Then there’s also nationals which I must decide if I’m doing or not, so March is very much a month of taking a week at a time and not thinking too far ahead. My end goal was to leave everything out there at the weekend, and I’m feeling like a zombie now so I think I definitely did just that.’



Redecker (pictured above) jetted off back to Germany the very next day, ready to resume a German language course but she was extremely positive about the World Cup. ‘Having a World Cup in Stellies was amazing and big thanks to all involved. I think it has had a positive impact on the development of XCO in SA!

‘Luckily I had Stephen and Daniel Van Der Walt giving me insight into the changes that were made on the track from 2015 so I had a good idea what to expect. I also managed to find a XCO race in Spain so I could get an idea where my form was in a race scenario before the World Cup. Despite mentally preparing for the track I was a little worried about my technical riding due to mainly training indoors in the German winter.

‘After a week preparing on the Stellies track and Heiko [husband] helping me, my confidence on the technical sections was good. It is amazing what a dropper seat post can do to help the confidence. All in all, race preparations were on point for the weekend’s race and surprisingly I was feeling so relaxed.

‘I was amazed with the amount of people who came to support, the atmosphere was electrifying. The nerves did start kicking in on race day but I tried to keep focus.

‘Once the gun went off my main focus was not to get caught in a crash and to get as close to the front as possible. Unfortunately, there were some crashes in front of me but luckily I didn’t get caught up in them. Everything was going well and I was closing in on the group ahead of me but on the third and fourth lap I seemed to have lost energy and went through a dip.

‘Thankfully on the fifth lap, I got going again and came back strong, finishing 35th. I’m slightly disappointed about my result but I know my form is there. Over the next few weeks, my coach John Wakefield and I will work on fine tuning my training leading up to the Commonwealth Games. I will be back in SA for the SA Cup in Gauteng before I head to Australia.’

Pictures of Strauss and Redecker courtesy of Craig Kolesky and Lynn Sigel/EGO-Promotion respectively

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