James Reid (Trek Racing South Africa) finished in fourth place at yesterday’s opening round of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series, held at Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In extremely hot and dusty conditions the 21-year-old South African ended up just 38 seconds off the U23 XCO podium.
Reid provided local fans with plenty to cheer about as he put on a commanding display of his power and skill – first fighting his way through the world-class field, then getting locked into a ding-dong battle for fourth with young New Zealand star Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing).
“I’m chuffed with how things went yesterday,” said Reid. “I finished fourth here two years ago, so I’m happy to be back up near the front of a World Cup. For me it’s a great confirmation of my form after a disappointing trip to the USA recently.”
Reid started 19th on the grid and spent the early parts of the first lap fighting his way through traffic. His calm and systematic approach to dealing with the slow start paid off, and Reid worked his way into a solid eighth position by the start of Lap 2.
The newly redesigned 4.9km track included steep climbs, hairy descents and technical rock gardens with loads of serpentine single track between. But it was the sweltering conditions that took the biggest toll on riders and terrain alike. As riders’ energy levels flagged, the dry course deteriorated, making for increasingly difficult racing as the contest wore on.
Early in Lap 3 of the five-lap race Reid joined 2012 Junior World Champion Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing) and the two worked together to put time into the chasers.
“It was super fun out there – sometimes you get into that elusive zone where you just feel the flow. Poor Anton had to put up with some really biased crowd support, but credit to him for a really tough fight. We had fun, which is the most important thing.”
Reid and Cooper swapped fourth and fifth position throughout the afternoon, as they closed in on third-placed Grant Ferguson (BETCH.nl Superior Brentjens). But the early gap the young Scotsman had carved out for himself proved too much for Reid to overcome. On the fifth and final lap, Reid jumped clear of Cooper with two technical sections of the course remaining, consolidating his fourth-place finish in front of his home crowd.
Reid will compete in the remainder of the UCI World Cup Series races and is confident he can achieve a U23 podium. He is also very excited about the opportunity to represent South Africa in Glasgow in July at the XX Commonwealth Games.
“I hope my result [in Pietermaritzburg] is enough for Commonwealth Games selection,” Reid said. “I think I’ve put in the lap times both here and at the African Continental Championships to show selectors that I deserve that spot. I’ve had an un-compromised focus on cross country racing this year and I hope they can see that.”
Reid rode his Trek Superfly Pro SL 29er at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup. He used a SRAM XX1 drivetrain (34-tooth front chainring) and equipped the bike with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25” tyres at 21psi. He set his 90mm RockShox fork at a pressure of 90psi.
Source: Hebron Media Solutions