As the men’s elite cross-country event finished, the heavens opened over the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg making the conditions for the women’s under-23 and junior women’s races of the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup which followed exceptionally difficult.

By the end of their races, most of the competitors were barely recognisable beneath the mud that covered them from head to foot, however, Team Protek’s Ekaterina Anoshina flourished in the dire conditions to claim a convincing victory in the under-23 section whilst local rider Hayley Smith claiming the junior women’s title.

Incredibly, the Russian said the conditions played a big part in her success. “I won because of the rain! My technical skill helped me. I am very happy,” said Anoshina.

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Under 23 women's cross country winner Ekaterina Anoshina at the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg at Cascades MTB Park © Darren Goddard (cycho.co.za)/Gameplan Media

Second place went to the Ukraine’s Yana Beomoyna of the Bi&esse Infotre Protek team who was followed over the finishing line by Austria’s Lisa Mitterbauer of the BikePark.ch SCOTT team.

Candice Neethling was the leading South African, in 11th place.

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South Africa's Candice Neethling claimed eleventh in the Under 23 women's cross-country race at the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg at Cascades MTB Park © Darren Goddard (cycho.co.za)/Gameplan Media

Hayley Smith’s victory in the junior women’s event, which featured an all-South African field, was quite remarkable considering the obstacles she has overcome in the past year.

“I had a heart operation last year in April,” she explained. “And two weeks after that I broke my collarbone, so then I was out for another six weeks. So I am really happy just to be here and have made a comeback. I am really happy.

“It was extremely tough,” she added. “The conditions made it really hard, but I really still enjoyed myself it was a lot of fun.”

The slippery course meant that the competitors had to resort to running in many places. “I was just slipping down on my bum on most of the features and it made it really hard just to ride some sections as they were just totally unrideable,” said Smith.

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Hayley Smith overcame all odds to claim victory in the junior women's race at the 2012 RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg at Cascades MTB Park © Darren Goddard (cycho.co.za)/Gameplan Media

Nicole Erasmus claimed second place, with third going to Savannah Vosloo.

More info can be found at www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za

SUMMARY OF RESULTS - 2012 ROCKYROADS UCI MTB WORLD CUP –PIETERMARITZBURG

UNDER 23 WOMEN

  1. Ekaterina Anoshina (RUS) 1:10.29
  2. Yana Belomoyna (UKR) +1:15
  3. Lisa Mitterbauer (AUT) +1:59
  4. Barbara Benko (HUN) +4:51
  5. Kajsa Snihs (SWE) +5:55

JUNIOR WOMEN

  1. Hayley Smith (RSA) 59.11
  2. Nicole Erasmus (RSA) +4.19
  3. Savannah Vosloo (RSA) +6.23