LESOTHO’S top mountain biker (MTB), Tumelo Makae, begins his quest for glory this afternoon at the ongoing 2020 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Mountain Bike World Cup in the Czech Republic.
The event started on Tuesday but Makae’s first race (round 1) in the elite category will be at 15:40pm local time. He will take to the field again on Sunday at 15:20pm.
“We arrived on Monday and trained in preparation for my races on Thursday (today) and on Sunday,” Makae said this week.
Being the only Lesotho rider at the competition, he said he was ready for the challenge as he believes he had good preparations despite the challenges brought by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
“I had good preparations and my target is to finish in the same lap with the winner.”
Makae is highly motivated after his recent commendable performance. In August this year Makae won his first ever Swiss Epic MTB. He was crowned champion in the mixed team category alongside his South African partner, Cherie Redecker.
The duo competed as the Velosolutions #Pumpforpeace team in the gruelling five-day race.
He continued his good performance last month finishing 15th out of 77 riders in the men’s elite category of this year’s Jura MTB Marathon in Switzerland. Makae finished the 70km marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes. The result saw him finishing 26th out of over 2 000 riders in the overall standings.
After the World Cup, Makae will travel to Leogang, Austria for the 2020 UCI MTB World Championships set for 5 to 11 October.
He said he is happy to compete in the World Cup and the World Championships and wants them to boost his Olympic qualifying chances.
This will not be the first time for Makae to compete at the world stage. He competed at the UCI World Cross country championships in Australia 2017 and in Switzerland 2018. Last year he also represented Lesotho in the UCI World Marathon Championship in Switzerland.
Early this month, Makae told this publication that he was confident of performing well in World Championships after faring poorly in the past.
“The world championships will be part of the Olympics qualifiers and I hope all the experience gathered in the past races will be a boost,” Makae said.
This year’s World Championships will also see Makae graduating from the Under-23 to the elite category.
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. 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.