DCS coaches Spook and Erica submitted tenders for team management and team mechanic for SA MTB Team to UCI World MTB Championships in beautiful Lenzerheide, Switzerland – the land of chocolate and cheese!

Team SA was made up of 10 cross country riders and 5 downhill riders.  6 of this group travelled and stayed in team accommodation – the rest of the team were travelling and staying with their families or teams.  Very typical of the Swiss villages the race venue spanned across 2 towns (Lenzerheide and Valhalla) – 2 very famous ski resorts.  Swiss – just so organised and such pristine scenery:

  • Tiffany Keep (Junior Women XCO)
  • Zandri Strydom (Junior Women XCO)
  • Jamie Penfold (Junior Men XCO)
  • Keagan Bontekoning (Junior Men XCO)
  • Daniel van der Walt (Junior Men XCO)
  • Alan Hatherly (U23 Men XCO)
  • Julian Jessop (U23 Men XCO)
  • Candice Lill (Elite Women XCO)
  • Cherie Redecker (Elite Women XCO)
  • Mariske Strauss (Elite Women XCO)
  • Connor Finnis (Junior Men DHI)
  • Jasper Barrett (Junior Men DHI)
  • Theo Erlangsen (Elite Men DHI)
  • Johann Potgieter (Elite Men DHI)
  • Greg Minnaar (Elite Men DHI)

Team SA stayed 5 kms down the valley in a small town called Churwalden, in self-catering units.   Meals were enjoyed around the table and much fun was had.  Spook was even called in to help Jamie with his trigonometry learning, as he was writing a maths test the day after he returned!


Team SA met at the official opening ceremony – what an occasion – the Swiss certainly put on a great show.  Family and friends of team riders all had an opportunity to meet up and finalise planing for the days that lay ahead.

Erica attended a hugely informative Medical Summit – all national federations were invited to attend – topics were so pertinent to the sport of cycling and guest speakers were of the highest calibre.  Topics included:

  • Head injuries in MTB
  • Clavicle fractures
  • Elbow dislocations and forearm and hand injuries
  • Performance, pacing strategies and power output (French Federation)
  • Performance testing in athletes – the Swiss approach
  • The travelling athlete
  • Lower back pain
  • Kinking of iliac vessels in cycling

Racing got underway with the Juniors up first.  It had rained a lot prior to their racing and the race course was sooooooo very slippery – what’s new for Europe??  The routes are so well designed – the width of the track is so wide and there are multiple choices of lines.  The lines change on each lap, so riders have to be really vigilant during each lap, and make the best call of which line to take – sometimes they don’t have a choice!

The course was superbly designed – really tough – absolutely nowhere one could take a “free mile”, except on the 150 m section of paved road through start/finish area.  I noticed a lot of the ricers shaking out their hands on each lap, here!  Ouch!

We were very fortunate to have Thomas Schroder, Cherie Redecker’s team manager, who offered his infrastructure to Team SA.  Thomas, a big thank you!! 

Qualifiers for DHI, looked a bit hectic as visibility was pretty much, nil, up at the top of the mountain!!  Freezing cold and raining.  Theo had a startling 18th position finish for his qualification event!


Alan Hatherly is just one superb athletes to work with.  Alan had his team manager, Tim Bassingthwaite, as well as his friend and mechanic, JP Jacobs by his side – he created his winning environment and succeeded!  Well done Alan – really wonderful to be a South African, watching you win rainbow stripes in the U23 World!

Greg Minnaar finished in 8th position, 2:67 sec off the leader – soooooo close!  Greg has been out most of this season with injury, so this was a fabulous result for him.  He reckons he still has a good couple of years of racing left to give!  Good luck Greg!


Results of 2018 UCI World MTB Championships can be found here.