Namibian mountain bikers, in wetsuits. (Photo: Custom Tacti)
The Commonwealth Games mountain bike events saw strong performances from South African competitors on Wednesday in Birmingham.
Riders ventured into Cannock Chase Forest for the Commonwealth Games mountain bike event, riding a new course. Local authorities had spent almost R20 million on a major upgrade to the Cannock Chase Forest trail system, which has come to light.
Although some Olympic mountain biking events are held on artificial courses, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games venue at Cannock Chase Forest was terrifyingly authentic. Riders raced on forest trails and mountain bikers from Southern Africa took the podium in both men’s and women’s events.
With her extensive Cape Epic driving experience, the South African Candice Lill showed great form to win a bronze medal in the women’s race. England’s Evie Richards took gold, while New Zealand’s Zoe Cuthbert took silver.
All aero for Namibian pilots
The real upset was in the men’s mountain bike event. New Zealand’s Sam Gaze won gold, but Namibia had an incredible showing among the finishers. Despite being only 21, Namibian Alexander Miller won bronze in the men’s mountain bike event.
Miller’s teammates Hugo Hahn and Xavier Popo finished 13th and 17th.
Interestingly, Namibian mountain bikers rode in aerodynamic jerseys and bibs, designed and produced by Tactic, a Girona-based cycling clothing specialist.
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