2017 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge Media Release

 No: eston1708

3 August 2017

Written by: Nick Tatham

Eston a vital building block for Haw’s World Champs assault

Eston – The road to recovery has been a long and tiring one for Bianca Haw, however the multi-sport star has eyed the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge this Sunday, 6 August as an important element in her preparation for the Cross Country World Championships in Australia next month.

The Red Bull star has been trying to overcome a severe bout of glandular fever that has curtailed her professional racing career quite severely, but true to form the smiling Haw has taken it in her stride and is glad to be racing again.

“I am starting to feel a lot better and I was originally in two minds about doing Eston but after making the SA team for Worlds I knew I needed to race,” Haw mentioned.

“I don’t think that I am quite back to full race fitness but I am slowly getting my confidence back and I want to try and race a few times before I go to Australia.

“The Imana Wild Ride was recently and myself and Housty (Andrew Houston) raced hard but I think he was at about eighty percent and I was going flat out!” she joked.

“It is great to be back racing again after such a long lay-off.”

Haw, who recently moved back to KwaZulu-Natal following her studies at Stellenbosch University, has been out of the Eston loop for a few years and is looking forward to rekindling her love for the local one day classic’s.

“It has been about three of four years since I last rode at Eston and I am looking forward to racing there because it usually has a good, strong field and there is a fair amount of prestige behind the race.

“There are usually some really good riders there but I am not sure about this year as I don’t know how many of the out-of-town riders will be there.

“I know that it is one of the faster 60km events you can do and I have heard that it is quite well suited to cross country riders which will be good for me,” Haw added.

Haw’s lengthy lay-off from competition has meant that she has had to be careful about her preparations for the world championships following her second place finish at the recent SA Cross Country Championships behind Frankie du Toit.

With an eye on a potential win at the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge this coming weekend, the 22 year old is hoping that she will start hitting her straps at the right time before she jets off Down Under next month.

“It is a busy month and a half for me and I haven’t peaked yet this year so Eston will be a good start for me as I build up to Worlds.

“With all my training and racing I don’t want to peak too soon though so I am relying on my coach to get me through!” she said with a smile.

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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Following a devastating bout of glandular fever, Red Bull's Bianca Haw is in XCO World Championships build-up mode and will use the upcoming Illovo Eston MTB Challenge on Sunday, 6 August as part of her final preparations for the global showpiece. Anthony Grote/
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