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Skizo back in hot seat

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s Beijing Olympian BMX rider is up and racing again after an eight-month hiatus from top competition following a serious neck injury in Norway.

Sifiso “Skizo” Nhlapo competed in the first round of the UCI BMX SX series in a lengthy qualifying process for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

And while Nhlapo failed to set the world alight the main thing was about getting the taste of the hustle-bustle of international competition again.

The victory went to 19-year-old Australian Sam Willoughby and Nhlapo failed to make it past the qualifying stages, ending 62nd of the 111 riders who finished the qualifying session.

But Nhlapo’s manager, Mark Squire wasn’t unduly concerned with his 23-year-old charge’s form. Nor should he be considering that Nhlapo was the talk of the circuit last year with a winning streak of six consecutive races.

“He was a couple hundredths of a second from qualifying so he didn’t make the motos. He was a little disappointed but that’s to be expected with him out of racing for the last eight months. He also rode too cautiously which you can’t do at that level – you need to be on the edge.

“Still, he’s looking forward to the next race which is the first of the European rounds in France this weekend. One or two races and he’ll be back in the mix I think.”

The first round of the Euro championships will be held at Besancon on Saturday and Sunday.