Philip Buys is de­ter­mined to come sec­ond to none on the trails

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

Na­tional moun­tain bike cup se­ries cross-coun­try run­ner-up Philip Buys is de­ter­mined to win the Na­tional MTB Cham­pi­onships at Mankele Bike Park in Mbombela on Satur­day.

Speak­ing to City Press this week, Buys said that he had been putting a lot of work into train­ing and was feel­ing con­fi­dent.

“I want to win this cham­pi­onship,” Buys said. “I have been do­ing in­ten­sive train­ing in the past two weeks.”

He knows it is not go­ing to be easy com­pet­ing with se­ries cham­pion Alan Hatherly, who is the only per­son who has beat him so far.

He ad­mit­ted that Hatherly would be his big­gest com­peti­tor.

“It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult be­cause Alan has been do­ing well – not just in the se­ries, but also in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

Team Spur’s Hatherly stunned the crowds as he fought a hard and con­sis­tent fight to fin­ish sec­ond in the Un­der-23 men’s cross-coun­try race at this year’s Union Cy­cliste In­ter­na­tionale MTB World Cup race in Vall­nord, An­dorra, at the be­gin­ning of the month.

With Cy­cling SA host­ing Union Cy­cliste In­ter­na­tionale cat­e­gory events, Hatherly has ben­e­fited from points gained at home.

“It was very ben­e­fi­cial, es­pe­cially for the first World Cup round for me, as I started on num­ber three – in the front row,” he said.

On the ladies’ side, an­other na­tional se­ries run­ner-up, Mariske Strauss, is hop­ing for a win and said any­thing could hap­pen.

“I am just hop­ing for a win go­ing to the race,” she said.

Strauss, who will be in the fe­male elite cat­e­gory, ex­pressed her dis­ap­point­ment af­ter her fail­ure to win af­ter com­ing sec­ond in the se­ries.

“I worked hard in the se­ries. I was dis­ap­pointed not to emerge as the win­ner, but con­grat­u­la­tions to Beth [McDougall], the win­ner.”

Race regis­tra­tion for the cross-coun­try and down­hill se­ries takes place at the event on Fri­day and closes at 3pm. Regis­tra­tion for the down­hill race will be on Satur­day. There will be no cross-coun­try late en­tries ac­cepted on Satur­day.

A R50 penalty fee is payable for all late en­tries.

PHOTO: DINO LLOYD / GALLO IM­AGES

SIN­GLE-MINDED Olympic cy­clist Philip Buys has been train­ing hard ahead of the Na­tional MTB Cham­pi­onships at Mankele Bike Park in Mbombela on Satur­day

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