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Makae opens up on challenges



MASERU – Lesotho cyclist Tumelo Makae has opened up about the realities and challenges of racing and competing abroad.

Makae left the country in 2018 to join a Swiss cycling team named PumpForPeace Velosolutions and has been travelling and competing throughout Europe since.

Speaking with thepost from Malealea on Saturday, Makae said he often starts races from the back of the grid because he does not have enough world ranking points to push for a spot in the middle of the pack let alone at the front.

Last month Makae competed in the Cross-Country World Championships in France which ran from August 24 to 28 and finished 85th.

Before that he raced in the Swiss Epic Stage race for five days.

It is a different case altogether when Makae is racing at home or in South Africa because he gets to start closer to the front racers which is why his performances are much better in comparison to when he is in Europe.

Makae need points and the only way he can get them is through going to races as often as possible.

It would help him if there were cup series here at home like there are in South Africa. An example of how tough it is for cyclists in Lesotho is that the national championships still have not been held.

“The main challenge is not having enough points as a rider and at these big races I start at the back, it is difficult to pass people,” Makae said.

“If I don’t have enough points, I cannot perform the way I want to, people in front start the race while I am still standing.”

The four-time Lesotho champion arrived in the country last week and competed in the Lesotho Sky Ride which was a distance of 55 kilometres.

He is set to return to Europe next year. For now, though, Makae has turned his attention to preparing for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup next May as the season is practically over.

“Plan is to race here at home and in South Africa and get points, I have the advantage of starting on the first line or second line but when I go to Europe, I have a lot of people starting in front of me.

I have to start racing in the South Africa cup series starting from February and the African championships and then go to Europe,” he said.

Besides the technical challenges, Makae said he has no complaints about his team because they provide him with everything he needs.

He said he works on a daily basis with his coach Mark West.

Every day Makae is riding for however long West has set his programme and the intensity increases as the days progress. Makae said he rests on Mondays.

Having been in Europe for some time now, he added that he has grown and gotten experience from competing with the best riders from all over the world.

“I have experience of racing in a big field with aggressive people who all want to be in front, everyone is there to fight and anything can happen. I am going to prepare to be at a better level and to improve,” Makae said.

Tlalane Phahla

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