2017 Illovo Eston MTB
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
“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
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
“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
Click to download the hi-res
Illovo Eston MTB Challenge
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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.
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.
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