Team Spur’s Alan Hatherly is in Mauritius for the 2017 African Continental MTB Cross-country Championships. The event takes place at Heritage Resort on the Domaine de Bel Ombre in the south of the island. Cycling South Africa did not select a national team so entry was open to anyone.
Despite falling into the U23 age category, Hatherly has been given permission to race for the Elite title. The young Rio Olympian is the reigning U23 African Continental Champion, which he won in Lesotho last year.
Alan saw the Mauritian course for the first time yesterday ahead of Friday’srace. “There’s been a lot of rain here, which has forced the event organizers to reroute a few sections of the intended course.”
“It’s pretty simple with the majority being open road sections with lots of climbing.” he says “There’s a few tricky mud and river sections which I’m sure will become more difficult on race day when the ruts start to form.”
While the African Continental Championship title is a sweetener, Alan’s hop across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius was motivated by his hunt for valuable UCI points ahead of his European UCI XCO World Cup campaign. Alan rejoins Team Spur’s Ariane Lüthi and JP Jacobs as they head to Europe next week.
Hatherly goes into the island race brimming with confidence after a big win at the third round of the Cycling SA XCO Cup Series in Bloemfontein, where he took the holeshot at the start and never released his vice-like grip on the front of the race. “I saw that everyone had latched on with no-one else wanting to do any work, so I ramped it up to race pace from the start.” he reflected after the victory. “At the end of the first lap I had about a 15-second lead and then it just grew from there.” Alan enforced a 4-minute winning margin on his competitors by the finish line.
After the effort in Bloemfontein and with travelling now behind him, he’s looking forward to tomorrow.
“I managed to clear the legs out yesterday with a few solid efforts on course. The high humidity and heat is bound to play a role in the race,” he says. “The weather forecast for today and tomorrow look good so far, with only a few scattered showers in the evening and warm weather during the days.”
The Elite race starts at 12:15pm on Friday, 12 May. More information is available here.