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[image] 05 September 2017

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STUART Marais and Natalie Bergstrom confirmed they will walk away with the biggest series prizes in South African mountain biking when they wrapped up the Quattro ROAG Series titles at the aQuelle Tour de Krantz at the weekend.

Marais, from Howick in the KZN Midlands, won the Harburg event overall, finishing four minutes ahead of Leeroy Emslie which ensures Emslie now has no mathematical chance of claiming the overall men’s series title.

In the women’s event Bergstrom ended second to a resurgent Bianca Haw with Christie-Leigh Hearder claiming third. That result means Bergstrom has now accumulated enough points to ensure Hearder cannot overtake the North Coast resident.

Marais has been the star of KZN cycling this season with a series of impressive results which put him on the edge of selection for the South African Cross Country team to race at the UCI World Championships.

Since the disappointment of missing the team last month, the Howick local has claimed two wins from two KZN races and goes into next weekend’s Mandela Day MTB Dash event as an overwhelming favourite.

Emslie finished second at the weekend with Sthembiso Masango, the up-and-coming RMB Change a Life rider, claiming third, less than a minute behind Emslie. Masango will be travelling to Perth early next month to take part in the World Championships in his second selection for the South African team.

There is still one event remaining in the ROAG Series and despite the winners of the R25 000 first prizes for both the men’s and women’s series being confirmed, there is still plenty to race for in the final event, the Safire Baynesfield Classic in September.

Marais will be aiming to become the first rider to get a perfect 600-point haul with six wins. Currently he has five wins and a second place and a win at Baynesfield will allow him to discard the second position from the Sugar Rush Classic when he was beaten by Julian Jessop earlier in the year.

And behind Marais and Emslie, David Low and Brennan Anderson are fighting for the final spot on the series podium with just 32 points separating the two in third and fourth positions respectively.

In the women’s series, Nadine Nunes is just 21 points ahead of Belinda Mason in the fight for third.

In the trail running event, both Mark McKenzie and Wendy Mills added to their leads in the Quattro ROAG Series and are also confirmed as the two winners of the newly instituted trail running series.

McKenzie ended second at the Tour de Krantz behind Ewoud Grobler while Mills was the women’s winner, ahead of Patricia Dammann.

In the ROAG Series McKenzie now has a hefty 167-point lead, but there is a massive battle for second with David Mercer just two points ahead of Haydn Bam.

Meanwhile Mills enjoys a massive 181-points lead over second-placed Alison Wasserfall in the women’s series with Karen Maiden third, just 23 points ahead of Candy Sclanders as they prepare for the final event in September.

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