Nove Mesto Na Morave - South Africa’s Alan Hatherly held his head high for a fine finish at Saturday’s under-23 men’s race at the UCI Mountain Bike XCO World Championships in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic.
According to SASCOC, the KwaZulu-Natal rider ended 17th of more than 100 starters, a result which will no doubt be a huge boost of confidence in his burgeoning career.
He ended five minutes 30 seconds down on winner Sam Gaze of New Zealand, who covered the course in 1:17:57. Runners-up were France’s Victor Koretzky (+50 seconds) and Marcel Guerrini of Switzerland (+1:04).
The 2014 African Youth Games champion told Road to Rio 2016 how his race went down.
"Being seeded eighth and giving me a front row start, definitely gave me an advantage to miss all the bottle necks and crashes that happen early on in the race. The pace was crazy hot after the start loop so I came to my senses and rode at a pace I knew was fast but sustainable so I didn’t blow up towards the end of the race.
"I felt really incredible and I think my prep and being here in Czech with the SA national team helped a huge amount, just to settle down, recover and get the job done.
"During our build up I dialled in the set-up on my giant anthem, a full suspension bike, which was chosen by majority of the field so I was glad to have been one of those majority.
"My lap variance was just under 30 seconds, meaning I was consistent throughout, and my last three laps I really picked the pace up and started my chase.
"I progressed by way rider by rider into the top 20 and eventually ended up with that 17th spot which I’m really happy with!
"Next weekend we’ll be in Switzerland for the next World Cup of the series and I’m looking forward to leaving it all out there again."
Friday’s junior races didn’t see the same degree of success for the South African team.
In the women’s race Danielle Strydom ended 32nd, 12:01 behind winner Ida Jansson of Sweden (1:02:30) while Henry Liebenberg was 57th, 9:48 behind Thomas Bonnet (1:08:32).