Europeans turn up the heat in men’s Masters cross country
Pietermaritzburg – The Netherland and Sweden scooped new world champions in the morning session of the second days racing at the UCI MTB Masters World Championships, before local riders bounced back to take four of the eight titles up for grabs in the downhill discipline.
The first race of the day, the men’s 50-54 category, saw a clean podium sweep from the Europeans after the Swede Olsson took the lead early in the race and never relinquished it to anyone. It was a comfortable win in the end for the Scandinavian who beat second place and former 45-49 champion Jean-Paul Stephan of France to win the event.
“I am so happy that I managed to win this year after being sick last year,” the former runner-up said. “I woke up the night before the race last year and was sick so I couldn’t race so being able to win it this year was great!”
The Swede had been focusing on winning the event this year and once he got in front of the other riders he put his head down and did not look back to see where the other riders where.
“Every single bit of training that I have been doing since I didn’t race last year has been geared at winning this year.
“Having a silver medal was great but I was determined to add the gold to my collection and I accomplished that,” the elated Swede said.
The race was marred with a controversial incident early in the race when South African Doug Brown was reportedly forced into the barrier early in the race and had to restart from the back of the field.
“I was in a great position early but was pushed off my bike and was stone last,” Brown said.
“The whole field was in front of me and I worked my way through into fifth and I was on the wheel of the guy in fourth but then I got an almighty puncture and had to pull out of the race,” a dejected Brown mentioned.
Coming into the final sprint to the line 10th place Mark Langman crashed and was forced to run with his bike for the last 250 metres to the finish line.
In the men’s 45-49 race it was the turn of the Dutchman Patrick Jansen to show his steel and take the win ahead of South African Shan Wilson. The race was packed with drama with potential podium finisher Rob Sims broke the frame of his bike on the second half of the first lap and had to pull out of the race.
The man from the Netherlands was in front for the entire race and although he started battling with cramp towards the end of his second lap and started feeling the effects of the Kwa-Zulu Natal winter as the dry air started taking its toll but he had enough of a lead to stay in front.
“I started battling a little with the dry conditions and I always knew that the guys behind me were never going to let up,” Jansen said. “My tactic was to get in the front from the start because it worked for me at the Dutch national championships.”
The Dutchman was chased down courageously by two South Africans, Shan Wilson and Andrew Mclean but it was Wilson who, after a nasty fall, claimed the silver medal.
“At one of the drop offs on the first lap I double bounced and went over the handle bars and landed heavily on my face dislocating my jaw.
“I was dazed and got up and carried on, if it wasn’t a World Champs I probably would have gone home but I really had to finish,” mentioned a broken Wilson.
The Cape Tonian got up and started reeling in the rest of the field and caught his country man Mclean and tried his hardest to pull in the Dutch rider.
“We all came here to win but under the circumstances I am really happy with my second position overall,” he said.
South African cycling guru Andrew Mclean lost out on a top two position but he was content with his third and felt that he had lost out to better riders.
“Before I rode today I said I would be happy with a podium and would not mind losing out to better riders.
“Shan (Wilson) was so strong but Jansen was in a class of his own out there today so I am pretty happy with my third place,” Mclean said.
The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013, and will be preceded by the UCI MTB Masters World Championships from 21 to 25 August. More info can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – UCI MTB MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
CROSS COUNTRY MEN
45-49 (3 laps)
1. Patrick Jansen (NED) 01.22.15
2. Shan Wilson (RSA) 01.23.02
3. Andrew Mclean (RSA) 01.24.38
4. Rafael Garrido (VEN) 01.26.16
5. Petrus Swiegers (NAM) 01.32.50
50-54 (3 laps)
1. Tommy Olsson (SWE) 1.21.44
2. Jean-Paul Stephan (FRA) 1.23.22
3. Mads Boedker (DEN) 1.23.31
4. Patrick Balthazard (FRA) 1.27.26
5. Atle Hansen (SWE) 1.29.47