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Sandes eyes top ranking

Ryan Sandes admitted he was in need of a break after producing another solid performance in the Ultra Trail World Tour at the weekend, solidifying his place as one of the top mega-distance runners in the world.

Sandes finished fifth at the Western States 100-mile (161km) trail race in California on Sunday, and he hoped to climb to the top of the World Tour standings which were set to be updated later this week.

The 32-year-old South African, aiming for a historic victory at the Western States event, crossed the line nearly an hour behind American winner Rob Krar in 15 hours, 47 minutes, two seconds (15:47:02).

“I would have loved to have won but take nothing away from Rob Krar. He had a great race and deserved to win,” Sandes said on Tuesday.

Having won the 125km Transgrancanaria in the Canary Islands in March, and taken second place at the 168km Mt Fuji race in Japan in April, Sandes was lying second overall in the World Tour standings ahead of the Western States race.

Antoine Guillon was 54 points ahead of Sandes with 520 series points, but the Frenchman finished 12th at the 119km Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy on Saturday, and he was likely to be overtaken by the South African in the rankings, with just two races left in the 2014 campaign.

Australian Brendan Davies, who was lying third in the standings, settled for eighth place at the Western States event, while fourth-placed Cyril Cointre of France was ninth at the Lavaredo race, and Sandes expected to take a commanding series lead.

“I may have done one or two too many races leading up to Western Sates but this was necessary as my focus has been on getting a good ranking in the Ultra Trail World Tour. I should be leading the tour now.”

Sandes confirmed he would have a short rest before tackling his next race in September.

He would not participate in the penultimate event of the World Tour season, the 168km Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc mountain race in the Alps in August.

“It has been a busy year for me so I will take a few weeks off and then run a multi-day race in Madagascar at the beginning of September.”

– Sapa

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