LESOTHO’S top mountain bike (MTB) rider, Tumelo Makae, on Sunday finished 15th out of 77 riders in the men’s elite category during this year’s Jura MTB Marathon in Switzerland.
Makae finished the 70km marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes. The results saw him finishing 26th out of over 2 000 riders in the overall standings.
The race was won by Scheneller Simon of Germany in the male category and Luthi Ariane of Switzerland in the female category.
Makae told the Lesotho Times this week that he was happy with his performance. He said the race was “very competitive” as it had lots of high-profile riders.
“The competition was very high as I was competing against MTB marathon specialists with better experience,” Makae said.
“Races like the Jura MTB Marathon are essential and they help build one’s confidence.”
He also said finishing 26th out of over 2 000 riders was a respectable achievement.
Makae said his participation in the Sunday race was in preparation for the upcoming 2020 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Mountain Bike (MTB) Championship. The UCI championship will be held next month in Leogang, Austria.
Before the UCI championship, he will also contest in two races in Czech Republic early next month.
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 last month.
However, it has now been extended to next year in line with the postponement of 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.
Makae went into the Sunday race highly motivated after winning his first ever Swiss Epic MTB title last month. 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.