Strauss takes charge of second round of national XCO series

KZN Mountain Bike Commission is hosting round two of the Cycling SA-MTB National XCO/DHI Series in great style at a course that will soon be part of the UCI World Championships.

In perfect weather conditions on an immaculately prepared course at Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg, the Olympic discipline of mountain bike racing took place this morning when the women started the day’s racing.

Right from the outset, Mariske Strauss (Team Contego 28E) racing in the U23 Pro-elite category took complete control of her 5-lap race right through to the finish line, proving her complete dominance over the entire field.

KZN Mountain Bike Commission is hosting round two of the Cycling SA-MTB National XCO/DHI Series in great style at a course that will soon be part of the UCI World Championships.


Mariske Strauss (Team Contego 28E) showed total dominance in the Pro-elite category at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

In perfect weather conditions on an immaculately prepared course at Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg, the Olympic discipline of mountain bike racing took place this morning when the women started the day’s racing.

Right from the outset, Mariske Strauss (Team Contego 28E) racing in the U23 Pro-elite category took complete control of her 5-lap race right through to the finish line, proving her complete dominance over the entire field.


Namibian Vera Adrian (2nd U23) thoroughly enjoyed the immaculate course at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Having just returned from London whilst on her varsity break, Strauss is now preparing for the first two UCI XCO World Cups of the 2013 season.

“It was a very fun race, and very smooth and at times it felt like free riding,” said Strauss. “There were rock gardens and some jumps, and it was a bit different to what I am used to. It was fun but also hard.


Amy Mcdougall (PY a[s]g MTB Academy) finished second in the elite women’s category at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

“I had a couple of close calls in the rock garden but mostly enjoyed myself. Well done to everybody and the organisers to putting up an awesome event. I love this course so much, Cascades is so close to my heart. I’ve been racing for about eleven years now and I figured that any course you race on you should make it your own.”

Namibian Vera Adrian, who is currently studying in Stellenbosch for her first year, also loved the course. “I love the technical aspect and the rock garden.”


Bianca Haw (BMC-SA) dominated the junior women’s race by more than 10 minutes at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Adrian finished second in the U23 category, five minutes off Strauss’ winning time. “The conditions were perfect today, and the track was very smooth. It’s a tough course with lots of climbing, but I loved it,” continued Adrian. “I found it far more enjoyable than the track we raced during the African Continental Champs.”


Hayley Smith (Bell) loved the thrill of the new rock garden near the start section of the track at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Hayley Smith (Bell), in her last year of school, finished third in the U23 race. “There were a few changes to the track with some more rocks and jumps added in the early parts, which I really enjoyed. I had a really good start and I really enjoyed myself.”


Samantha Sanders (Valencia) felt better form when she won the elite category at round 2 of the Cycling SA-MTB National Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo Credit: Mylene Loumeau/Cycling SA

Winner of the elite category Samantha Sanders (Valencia) said: “My race went well, better than the African Continental Champs – I felt like I was on better form today. Mariske rode really well again and she seems to be the one to beat. The course was a lot more fun today, they seemed to break up the climbs a bit, but I thoroughly enjoyed the new technical sections that they added.”

Summary of Results – 2103 SA National XCO Cup 2

Elite Women (5 laps)

  1. Samantha Sanders 01:18:39
  2. Amy Mcdougall 01:21:57
  3. Cherie Vale 01:25:19

U23 Women (5 Laps)

  1. Mariske Strauss 01:15:46
  2. Vera Adrian 01:20:45
  3. Hayley Smith 01:26:15

Junior Women (4 laps)

  1. Bianca Haw 01:04:18
  2. Catherine Colyn 01:14:06
  3. Marne Botha 01:14:50