Philip Buys (Scott Sports)

Brendon Davids (Trek South Africa)

Rourke Croeser (Kargo Pro MTB Team)
Buys put in a consistent performance to claim the win ahead of Brendon Davids (Trek South Africa), who finished 38-seconds behind, whilst Rourke Croeser (Kargo Pro MTB Team) secured third place despite an injured hand, about 1 minutes 30 seconds behind.

Buys displayed good form in the Cup Series season opener: “It was great for Cycling South Africa to put on a UCI Category 1 event – I didn’t have to travel to Europe to gain these points, I just had to come to Pietermaritzburg and race on the World Cup track today. Sixty points is very valuable.”

The Absa Cape Epic starts next week Sunday, 23 March, and Buys will partner with none other than cross-country World Champion Nino Schurter (SUI). “My intensity and power work started late, only in the last 2 weeks. Most of my training has been in preparation for the Cape Epic. Today’s race formed part of my training, and Brendon (Davids) gave me quite a go. It was very hot today and gave me an idea of what I can expect from next week.”

Davids was happy with his performance: “The new World Cup course is running well, and Nick’s (Floros) done a good job with the new layout. It’s beneficial for us South Africans to be racing on a course like this ahead of the World Cup. Philip’s riding very well at the moment and I tried to hang on as long as possible, but heading into lap 3 Phil made a break. The gap was about a minute at one stage, but I managed to bring it back towards the end, to just 38 seconds.”

Junior Men’s winner Alan Hatherly (Heart-Sports ag) celebrated his birthday with a victory of just over a minute: “Today’s race was very challenging. The course goes straight up and then goes straight into the technical sections. My first lap went very well for me, but I was sick during this week, so my heart rate was a bit high and I struggled with the last three, but I still managed to keep the pace up and I was happy to come out with the win.”

South Africa’s downhill stars will be racing tomorrow, Sunday 16 March, at Cascades MTB Park, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Spectators are welcome to attend. For detailed race information, visit the Southern African Mountain Bike Cup Series 2014 : Standard Programme of Events

Summary of results: SA XCO Cup #1 (Cascades) 15 March 2014

Elite Men – 5 laps
1 Philip Buys 01:27:21
2 Brendon Davids 01:27:59
3 Rourke Croeser 01:29:27
4 Matthys Beukes 01:29:55
5 Renay Groustra 01:30:23

Junior Men – 4 laps
1 Alan Hatherly 01:13:34
2 Julian Jessop 01:14:59
3 Sybrand Strauss 01:15:27
4 Marco Joubert 01:16:40
5 Marc Fourie 01:16:50

Youth Men – 3 laps
1 Thomas Jessop 00:58:55
2 Jarrod van den Heever 00:59:51
3 Andrew Sparks 01:01:14
4 Matthew Keyser 01:03:43
5 Dean Wortmann 01:04:04