Tuesday, June 3, 2008

MTB vs Road

Today's post courtesy of Glen:

On Sunday 1 June, the same day as 24 year old Alberto Contador completed a victory which owed as much to his maturity as to his ability (yes I know he had Bruneel to talk to, but he still had to listen), 21 year old South African, Burry Stander, got his best ever result when he came second overall, by 9 seconds to Christoph Sauser, in the MTB World Cup XC in Andorra, after having led the race in the final lap.

That is almost as impressive as Contador.

For most of Burry Stander's career USA & Europe have been streets (well trails) ahead of SA in quality of riders, training, equipment & resources (that may be changing now). He only got a pro contract (a very poor one by Alberto Contador's standards) by racing in the USA and being so much better than his class that they couldn't ignore him. Even this year he had to fight his way through hundreds of slower riders while he improved his start seeding. According to some sources, MTBs presently outsell road bikes by as much as 300 to one. The level of competition is astonishing - up to 250 fit, professional, skilled, starters per event! I'm not saying Contador has had it all his own way, but I am saying that while a Grand Tour is undoubtedly harder to endure, podium at a MTB World Cup is no easier to achieve.

Well done Burry! This bodes well for Beijing in August.

Thanks for reading.