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Makae off to a poor start


Leemisa Thuseho

LESOTHO’S top mountain bike (MTB) rider, Tumelo Makae, on Thursday got his campaign off to a poor start in the ongoing at the 2020 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) MTB World Cup in Czech Republic.

Makae came 106th out of 119 in his first race in the elite category.

His second and last race is on today at 15:20pm.

After the World Cup, Makae will travel to Leogang, Austria to compete at the 2020 UCI MTB World Championships from 5 to 11 October 2020.

This year’s world championships will also see Makae graduating from the Under-23 to the elite category.

Makae’s target was to finish in the top positions following his recent impressive form as he also believes his participation will boost his form for upcoming races.

Lesotho’s cycling national team coach Mark West told the Sunday Express that competition is extremely high at the World Cup and the World Championships as they are regarded the biggest cycling races.

He said Makae on Thursday had a good start but his time dropped along the way.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet but he seemed to be going well at the beginning and then his time dropped and he was stuck behind,” West said.

“If you get stuck at the back, you lose a lot of time… imagine having 100 riders in front of you on a narrow trail,” West said.

He also said it is tough for a rider to compete at this level without teammates.

“Team work is not that important in mountain bike racing like it is on road cycling. However, it’s always difficult being alone or not having anyone to benchmark your pace with.”

West said the difference between the World Cup and World Championships is that in cups riders compete for themselves or their clubs while in championships, they represent their respective countries.

Therefore, he is hoping for better results from Makae who is also preparing for the World Championship next week to boost the country’s standings.

“I am looking forward to seeing improvements on Sunday (today) as he builds towards championships next week. The championships are important for the country’s rankings as compared to cups where they represent themselves.”

This is Makae’s fourth appearance at the world stage after competing at the UCI World Cross Country Championships in Australia (2017) and in Switzerland (2018). Last year he also represented the country in the UCI World Marathon Championship in Switzerland.

Makae is in Switzerland under a Lesotho Tokyo 2020 Olympic Athletes Solidarity Scholarship financed by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC). His scholarship to train at the World Cycling Training Centre (WCTC) commenced in 2017 and was expected to end in August this year. However, it has now been extended to next year in line with the Olympics that will now be held in July and August next year.

The Olympics were initially meant to be held in July and August this year.




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