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Bike problems cost Makae, Monese medals in KZN tourney

Leemisa Thuseho

LESOTHO’S top mountain bike (MTB) rider, Phetetso Monese says bicycle problems denied them a chance to bring home a medal from this year’s KAP Sani2 C Adventure race in KwaZulu-Natal.

The race started on Wednesday and ended on Friday. Monese teamed up with Tumelo Makae in the men’s open category. The team returned home yesterday morning.

The duo got off to a promising start on Wednesday finishing third after riding 87 km in 03:59:32. Their performance dropped the following day as they finished sixth in the second stage clocking 06:07:23 in a 97 km distance. They ended the competition on a low note as they failed to make it to the top 10 of the last stage with a total time of 05:31:06 in 86 km.

Upon arrival in Maseru yesterday, Monese said they led the way for most of the race in the first stage and could have finished first but they suffered a tyre puncture in the last few kilometres.

“We didn’t perform well because since day one, we have been encountering bicycles problems even though our chances were high to win the race,” Monese said.

“In the first stage I encountered a puncture when about 3km away from the finish line. In stage two I had the same challenge and the rear derailleur of Makae’s bicycle started developing problems 25 kilometres from the finishing line. We fixed it but mine broke a crank 15km from the finish line. I was forced to pedal with one leg for the rest of the race.”

Returning to action after a long Covid-19 break, Monese said he was happy with their performance.

The duo is looking forward to locking horns in the upcoming individual National Mountain Bike (MTB) Championship on 12 December at Ha-Tšiame in Maseru.

Monese said the KAP Sani2c race gave them the much-needed warm up ahead of the national championship.

Sehaole Mpopo, who wet with the riders to the KwaZuku Natal said he was also happy with their performance adding that the problems they encountered during the race were a wake-up call that they need equipment and spare bikes.

“We were promised that any rider who will have a bike problem will be assisted with another bike but that was not the case for our riders… this is a wakeup call that next time we should have our own equipment and not rely on other athletes’ resources,” Mpopo said.

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