Hatherly holds own to claim bronze in Gold Coast

Team South Africa's Alan Hatherly recovered from a double wrist injury just in time to win a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the cross-country mountain bike race. Phil Walter/Getty Images

Team South Africa's Alan Hatherly claimed a well-earned bronze medal behind New Zealand's Sam Gaze and Anton Cooper in the men's cross-country race of the Commonwealth Games.

Gaze, who won a dramatic UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race in Stellenbosch a month ago, again used his sprinting prowess to pip compatriot Anton Cooper to the line in 1:17:36. Hatherly, meanwhile, came home two seconds later to claim a bronze medal which he was full value for.

The 22-year-old Durbanite, though now resident in Cape Town where his trade team Team Spur are based, stayed neck-and-neck with the two New Zealanders throughout the race. His ability to do so, and ride without incident, is credit to his recovery from the fractured left wrist he suffered during the Tankwa Trek marathon stage race in February.

In a post-race Instagram post, Hatherly alluded to the effort it took to get him in good shape for the Gold Coast 2018.

"Massive thank you to everyone who helped me since February to get here! Thank you to everyone for the amazing support both on track and abroad today - you are incredible!" he wrote.

Try as hard as they might the New Zealanders had to wait until the closing stages of the seven-lapper to get the better of Hatherly.

In fact, Gaze (22) offered gratitude to Hatherly -- who he beat into silver at last year's World Under-23 MTB cross-country championships - following the race because the South African allowed him a clear path through on one of the final climbs. This after Gaze suffered a puncture at the start of the final 4.5km lap.

Cooper (23) initially took full advantage of that technical mishap to stretch into an almost unassailable 26 second lead, but the powerful Gaze determinedly clawed back the time and then snuck past going into final single-track section before the Nerang Velodrome where the race started and finished.

Hatherly, meanwhile, came home comfortably ahead of Ben Oliver... in the process preventing an all-New Zealand podium.

Namibia's Tristan de Lange was the only African to finish on the same lap as the leading riders, he finished 12th, more than nine minutes back.

Earlier, South Africa's Mariske Strauss placed seventh with a time of 1:22:50 and Namibia's Michelle Vorster eighth (1:23:37) in the women's race won by Strauss' Absa Cape Epic teammate Annie Last (England).