2017 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge Media Release

 No: eston1707

2 August 2017

Written by: Nick Tatham

Eston scalp in Jessop’s sights

Eston – Having just signed for his first professional mountain biking team, Julian Jessop will be riding in his new team colours for the first time at the upcoming Illovo Eston MTB Challenge, with an eye on upsetting the MTB elite in a bid to claim a maiden Eston title on Sunday, 6 August.

The Cross Country star recently signed with the successful PYGA/Euro Steel Team as he builds towards the UCI Cross Country MTB World Championships next month in Australia; however he is still hoping that he can put in an honest account of himself at Eston.

“I’ve got two races at home before I go to the World Championships, Eston and then the Mandela Day race,” the Elite Athlete Development Programme athlete mentioned.

“It’s important that I continue to keep my body up at race pace because it is easy to get caught up in training and not keep up the race fitness.

“Racing gets the heart rate up to a level that training can’t so I think Eston will provide me with a good opportunity to race hard against a quality field.”

The Eston MTB Challenge has always been seen as an event that plays into the hands of cross country MTB stars and previous results have backed up this claim and Jessop hopes that he can take advantage of this in 2017.

“The start is always fast with a long climb early in the race and I hope that that is where I can take advantage.

“The distance isn’t a problem for me but if I start riding over three-and-a-half-hours then distance becomes a problem.

“After that initial climb there is some great single track which I am more comfortable with so if I can start well then I think I can do well in the early stages,” Jessop added.

The current National Under 23 Cross Country champion has been successful at Eston before but stepping up into the senior category has been a tough challenge.

“I think I was 14 when I did my first Eston and I have won the 40km half marathon in the past but competing with the best in the country is always a much more daunting challenge.”

2016 saw the battle of the Olympians, with James Reid and Alan Hatherly going head-to-head for the win but Brendon Davids pipped Hatherly into second behind Reid. Jessop understands that the field is always going to be high quality but is hoping to ruffle some feathers.

“I would say that Eston is one of the hardest one day races in the country and, as we have seen in the past, it attracts the best riders.

“I am expecting much of the same again this year but I am hoping that I will be able to get myself onto the top step of the podium.

“This year will be the third time that I do the 60km Marathon so I know what to expect,” a focused Jessop added.

As Jessop aims to peak for the World Championships Down Under in September, striking a balance is key for him in his build up.

“I have got a few days of tough training and then I will take two days off before Eston and then will work hard before the Mandela Marathon but it is important that I don’t go too hard in training and racing.

“I will have to weigh up how I go about using my energy during the race and where to push and where to hold back.

“It is a busy time for me at the moment but I am excited for my build up to the World Championships,” Jessop mentioned enthusiastically.

The 2017 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge provides runners and riders with a wide selection of events to take part in. From a mountain biking side there is the Illovo 60km Marathon, the 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, the STIHL Tala Family Ride and the Omnia Kids Ride.

From a trail running perspective the events offers an 18km and 9km run.

More information can be found at www.illovoestonmtb.co.za

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Mountain biking star and new PYGA Euro Steel recruit Julian Jessop is hoping that he can win his first Illovo Eston MTB Challenge title this weekend. Rynard Claassens/
Gameplan Media

PYGA Euro Steel's Julian Jessop is excited by the prospect of potentially claiming a maiden Illovo Eston MTB Challenge victory at the race this weekend. Rynard Claassens/
Gameplan Media

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