Superstar Stander set for Sappi Scottburgh
The Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race received a major boost on Tuesday morning when Olympics bound mountain biking sensation Burry Stander (Specialized Racing) confirmed he will be on the start line for the popular South Coast event on Saturday morning.
Despite already having one foot on the plane ahead of his all-important RockyRoads UCI MTB World Cup Mont-Sainte-Anne clash in Canada the Port Shepstone based cross country star wasn’t going to miss the rare opportunity to tackle two consecutive events not far home.
“I’ll definitely be there on Saturday,” said an enthusiastic Stander. “I’m busy racing all over the show most of the time so I only really get to do two or three races on the South Coast a year and I’m really looking forward to getting out there this weekend.”
“It’s not all that often that I get the opportunity to take part in a race close to home so it’s really cool that I’ve got the opportunity this year to do two races on back to back weekends with last weekend’s Sardine Classic and now this weekend’s race.”
Having finished fifteenth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing Stander is set on utilising the experience he gained at his first Games and over the past four years of racing the elite circuit to catapult himself onto the podium at this year’s London Olympics.
“The last few weeks have been my last build up at home so it was really great to take a bit of a break and then build things up again before heading off to Canada which really gets things going for me in preparation for the Olympics,” said the Specialized Racing competitor.
“The Olympics has obviously been a long term goal of mine for quite some time now and we’re getting closer to crunch time so I’m starting to work really hard on the focus and the little things like getting my diet right but I’m just glad that it’s nearly here now.”
“I’m definitely hoping to medal at this year’s Games. Last time I went over there to enjoy myself and see what it was all about but for me the Olympics is all about the medals and that is definitely my goal this time around,” he added.
Despite having his sight firmly set on achieving his dream of stepping up onto the podium at the Olympic Games, the Port Shepstone based athlete recently took another bold step when he entered the world of married life.
Stander and fellow professional cyclist Cherise Taylor tied the knot just a couple of weeks ago in a hometown ceremony on Oslo Beach just outside Port Shepstone.
“Cherise (Taylor) and I have been living together for the past four years already so not much has changed for us since we got married but our wedding was really special and we had an awesome honeymoon at a game farm just outside Grahamstown and things are going really well for us,” said Stander.
With online entries for this weekend’s event only closing on Wednesday 13 June Stander, who claimed victory in last weekend’s Sardine Classic, is unsure who will be alongside him on the start line however, irrespective of who joins him and after last weekend’s Sardine Classic victory, the South Coast superstar will be looking for another solid performance on home turf before jetting off overseas.
“I have no idea who will be there this weekend but I fly out to the World Cup on Sunday so for me it’s a great opportunity to work on some last minute fine tuning and it’s really cool to be able to ride to the event and then get some really good, hard training in and ride at home again,” said Stander.
“I’m sure there will still be a good race at the front, there always is and last weekend at the Sardine Classic was no different, so it gives me a chance to push a little harder than I would in a normal training session without having to travel all over the world to do so,” he added.
The Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race takes place on Saturday 16 June. The event starts and finishes at Scottburgh main beach and riders can take part in either the 45km Classic, 28km Intermediate or the 10km Fun Ride.