South African XCO champion Alan Hatherly came into the 2017 UCI Under-23 Mountain Bike World Championships with a pertinent point to prove V to finish on the podium ... and that's exactly what he did.

According to the Bicycling website, after walking the course earlier in the week, Hatherly pointed out the technical nature of the track and said it was "super broken up and dusty".

The topography, however, perfectly suited the South African's style, featuring one major climb as well as a jump section, both of which play to his strengths.

"Accelerating into and out of each corner fits my style of riding V there must be over 10 switchbacks on that climb, I think it's about a 4-minute climb at race pace, so I'm targeting that."

His plan worked, as did his strategy of not going out too hard owing to the humidity and heat.

After a fast-paced first lap, it was clear there were only two real contenders in the race: Hatherly and New Zealand's Sam Gaze.

The two put on an XCO master class, racing neck-and-neck over the tricky and testing course.

It was only after the Lap 4 that the defending champion, Gaze, started to open a small gap on Hatherly.

In the end, Hatherly was able to marginally bring back the gap, finishing 11 seconds behind the Kiwi. V Source: www.sport24.co.za