Reid claims Eston MTB title in final pre-Olympic clash

2016-08-08 12:47
James Reid (Gallo Images)
Eston – First and third place respectively for James Reid and Alan Hatherly after a four-rider end sprint at Sunday's 60km Eston Marathon, the feature race of the 2016 Eston MTB Challenge, served as the perfect final race preparation ahead of the pair's departure for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, while Cherie Redecker claimed the women's title.

In edging out the trio of Brendon Davids, Hatherly and former Olympian, Philip Buys, Reid successfully defended his Eston crown and added the final piece to his all-important Olympic preparation puzzle.

“It was a super dice out there!” said Reid. “The other three guys are three of the fastest in the country at the moment so it really was the perfect build up to Rio.”

"Eston is a race with a very high average speed, similar to the course we’re going to be riding in Rio, so both Alan (Hatherly) and I used this race for some speed work.

“We’ve both had a pretty tough week of training, so for us to come here and have a clash with two other classy riders in Brendon and Philip was really great,” he added.

With pedigree aplenty and the quartet having spent close on the full 60km together, Reid played his cards perfectly and surged onto the Beaumont Eston Farmers’ Club field first.

“With Philip (Buys) and Brendon (Davids) coming out to race today, Alan and I were always going to have our work cut out for us.

“Philip was also in close contention for Olympic selection and Brendon is super strong and he’s really hungry after quite a difficult season.

“Once things settled down, it was just the four of us and no one was able to make a meaningful break at any stage.

“It was also great to see the class of the guys when I had a piece of wire stuck in my wheel and all three of them waited for me,” explained Reid.

While a desperate lunge for the line saw Davids narrowly pip Hatherly to the post, the latter was still thrilled with his effort on the day and the role it played in his Rio build up campaign.

"Eston is always has quite a cross country style course with lots of technical single track and quite a few punchy, hard climbs and then the last 15km are quite flat,” said Hatherly.

“With the course over in Rio also quiet flat and fast, Eston was the perfect race to finish off our preparation at.”

Hatherly also confirmed that road cycling star Louis Meintjes’ seventh placed effort in the Men’s Road Race on Saturday in Rio would serve as added motivation come his and Reid’s cross country mountain bike equivalent in a few weeks’ time.

“It’s definitely motivating to see one of your fellow South African riders doing so well; now it’s for us to try follow in his footsteps and get to that sort of level as well.”

Davids, currently riding unsupported, was also pleased with his second place effort having returned recently from a frustrating two months of racing in Europe.

"As important as it was for the Olympic guys to come here to test their form and boost their confidence before Rio, it was also great for guys like Philip and I to come out and re-prove to ourselves that we have what it takes to compete at that level as well,” said Davids.

“For me to be involved in a sprint with three Olympians is really good for my confidence, especially after the couple of mechanicals I had during my recent stint in Europe."

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