30 July 2014South Africa’s Andrew McLean and his Austrian teammate, Heinz Zorweg, claimed a dominant category victory and finished 20th overall at the 17th annual Bike Transalp international mountain bike stage race in Europe on the weekend.McLean teamed up with Zorweg for the seven-day 587km race from Oberammergau, Germany to Riva del Garda, Italy across the Alps mountain range.Led from start to finishCompeting in the Grand Master division (50 years and over), McLean and Zorweg led their age category from start to finish, claiming six stage wins in the process. But it’s their 20th place overall in a classy international field of full-time professional racers that impressed most.The race included a total of 19 227 metres of vertical ascent, making it one of the toughest climbing events in bicycle racing. Torrential rain on two stages made conditions even more challenging, while a stomach bug on day five reduced Zorweg to survival mode for the 100km leg with 2800 metres of climbing.‘That was tough!’“That was tough! There was a lot of climbing. Huge climbs compared to what we have in South Africa. We had hard rain, cold and heat throughout the event, so it was a real all-round challenge,” McLean said afterwards.“Heinz had two bad days, stage two, where he struggled with the cold and rain that we weren’t exactly prepared for in terms of clothing choice, and stage five, where he was ill. But he’s so tough and just kept soldiering on. He’s an incredible athlete.“I struggled a bit on some of the steep, technical descents. I wasn’t expecting such difficult downhill sections and had to go slow and walk some bits. The general skill level among riders in Europe is a lot higher than the level in South Africa, but it makes for a very complete mountain biking challenge,” he added.Dominant Absa Cape Epic winThe victory is the second long stage race win for McLean and Zorweg in 2014. The pair raced to a dominant Grand Masters Category title at the Absa Cape Epic in March, where they also placed a remarkable 15th overall.The German pairing of Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann of Team Centurion Vaude, who briefly led the 2014 Absa Cape Epic before dropping to 10th place, won the Bike Transalp title overall for the second year in succession.SAinfo reporter
Harbhajan Singh was all of three years of age when Kapil Dev held the 1983 World Cup aloft at Lord’s but the off-spinner still draws inspiration from that glorious triumph.Harbhajan Singh and Yusuf Pathan in New Delhi. APIn the Capital to join hands with a campaign against road rage and drunken driving, Harbhajan said that even though in the ensuing 27 years he has seen six World Cups, the 1983 tournament still serves as the biggest inspiration for an Indian cricketer.”Seeing Kapil paaji lift the trophy is an image ingrained in all of our minds. I have seen the reruns of that match so many times and it always gives me goosebumps,” the off-spinner told reporters here on Wednesday.To repeat the success of ‘Kapil’s Devils’ at the World Cup, Bhajji believes the key for India will be the explosive opening combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.”There is no doubt that they are great players and I think if they stay at the crease for the first 15 overs, it will be very difficult for the opposition to come back into the match,” he said.Asked about India’s combination for the quadrennial mega event, Harbhajan said it may not be the best team out there but he was still a good side. “It is wonderful to have a lot of options in the team. We have got different types of spinners. We have (Ravichandran) Ashwin who performed well in the IPL and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla brings variation into the attack. We have great seamers too and the batting can chase down any target. If we just focus on our processes, we should have a good outing,” he said.advertisementHarbhajan has always been a feisty character but he believes comparing sledging to a serious issue like road rage is ridiculous.”Sledging is part and parcel of the game. It just adds a bit of momentum to the game and, as a cricketer, we don’t carry anything off the field. Road rage is quite harmful and it hurts you for life,” he said. He even claimed that neither he nor his India teammates drink.Looking beyond the World Cup, Bhajji will be sharing a dressing room with Andrew Symonds for the Indian Premier League Mumbai Indians, and believes the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal that brought bad blood between them is a thing of the past.”I am looking forward to winning the IPL along with him,” Harbhajan said, guardedly adding: “What Symonds has done with his career is his personal choice and I don’t want to talk about any individuals.”Though he was surrounded by the media during his short stay at the event, Harbhajan did find time to thank Indian fans. “I salute all those who are supporting us. With their good wishes, hopefully, we will do well in the World Cup,” he said.