Adrien Niyonshuti finished 3rd today in the African Continental XC MTB Championships which were held in Mauritius.
This is the first time that a Rwandan rider has podiumed in the African Continental MTB Champs, Niyonshuti was ecstatic as he crossed the finish line.
The U23 and Elite Men’s race started at 13:00pm local time with both categories racing together giving all riders an equal opportunity to earn the very lucrative UCI points due to the small amount of entries in the U23 category. This meant that they would only have one competition and either an Elite or U23 could take the overall win and earn the 200 UCI points up for grabs for the winner.
In the first of 6 laps which were 5km long, Niyonshuti was lying 6th overall as he came through the feed/tech zone. This was due to his foot coming out on one of the technical sections which lost him crucial seconds. He pushed hard going into the 2nd lap and managed to pass a rider putting him in 5th place. He continually made up time and eventually in the 4th lap Niyonshuti was in 3rd place.
Niyonshuti managed to hold on to this position and slowly made up time to 2nd place Marc Bassingthwaighte (Namibia) who was consistently in 2nd place for the whole race. Philip Buys (South Africa) also had a superb race and after every lap made up more time to the rest of the field, taking the overall win by over 3 minutes to 2nd place Bassingthwaighte.
“I am really happy with my result today,” said Niyonshuti. “It is the first time my country has been on the podium in MTB Continental Champs so this is truly great for me and for my Country. Today was really hard and I pushed myself as much as I could. I knew that my technical skills needed some more work so I put a lot of effort into the hill climb on each lap which really helped me to make up time and let me finish 3rd overall.”
1st Philip Buys South Africa 01.29.40
2nd Marc Bassingthwaigthe Namibia 01.33.24
3rd Adrien Niyonshuti Rwanda 01.34.20
4th Rourke Croeser South Africa 01.35.08
5th Renay Groustra South Africa 01.36.22