CAPE Peninsula University of Technology’s (CPUT) Timo Cooper showed his class when he won the national student mountain biking title at the Bestmed USSA cycling championship in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Cooper, who rides professionally for Team Bridge, demonstrated his technical skills on an undulating 50km cross-country circuit at Hopewell Trails just outside the city.
He crossed the line first in 1hr 36min 8sec – 39 seconds clear of the University of Cape Town’s Greig Knox, while CPUT teammate Adriaan Louw overcame mechanical problems to take third place in 1:42:10.
“I had a lucky day. It was a proper cross- country course, with loads of technical descents, climbs and good single track,” Cooper said.
The race started at a conservative pace on the 7km flat stretch that linked the start/finish area to the 5km loop, which the riders had to do eight times. “It was the type of course where you knew that if you went into the lap first, you’d come out first,” Cooper said.
Stellenbosch University’s Dominic Calitz was the first to show intent when he attempted a breakaway on the first technical downhill, but a puncture put paid to his efforts.
Former Wines2Whales winner Louw then set a high tempo on the ensuing climb and, with only Cooper able to follow, the CPUT riders opened up a gap on the chasers.
“On the fourth lap Adriaan punctured and from then on I just rode on my own to the finish,” Cooper said.
The women’s event over 35km was won by Emily Clarke of UCT in a time of 1:34:08, followed by Stellenbosch’s Anja van Zyl in 1:36:11, with UCT’s Nina Sender next in 1:39:01.
The five-stage road tour kicks off at 9am today with an 84.4km ride from Altona Primary School. This will be followed by a 10km time-trial from the back entrance of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University at 2pm.