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UCI MTB World Cup - Lenzerheide Switzerland - 10 July 2016 - Sipho Madolo's race report

12 Aug 2016

It has always been my dream to participate in the MTB World Cup, ever since I started mountain biking. With hindsight it feels like all the races, and everything I have done before competing in this race, has been preparing for my first MTB World Cup. 

Over the last couple of years I have had the amazing opportunity to work closely with Christoph Sauser. He has helped guide me in a number of ways including with my training. Working this closely with him made me realized from the very beginning, that if I want to achieve my dream then there is no way around it, I have to put in the time and hard work.  I have also come to realize that although I have done all the training, and put in all the time and effort, that it will never be enough! I will have to continue working hard. 

Sipho WC-1Making the SA Team for Worlds made things a bit easier to get to Europe, even though there was a lot of planning that was already done. At the beginning of the year I met the Valaulta family (Beat, Esther and their son Silas) here in Stellenboch. They visited our songo clubhouse many times in February just to see where they can help while they were here. It was during one of these visits during a conversation with Beat he asked “what is your dream?”. Sipho WC -2

My answer to that question was that my dream is to particiapate in the World Cup, and to do a bit of racing in Europe. Beat immediately looked at the world cup calendar and said “We will try and find sponsors for you to come and Participate in the Swiss Cup and the World Cup in Switzerland at the beginning of July” Which all worked out for me!

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The Monday after the World Championships in Prague, Czecheslovakia, Team SA drove to Switzerland for the World Cup. I stayed with the Valaulta family for two days before going to the  accommodation arranged for me while in Switzerland. There I meet up with Christoph for my last preparation before the race. I really felt welcomed at at home in Switzerland! The support I got from the Valaulta family, from Christoph and other people was incredible and really made my trip so special. My last bit of preparation before the race went really well,  I was so relaxed going in to the race and deep down in myself I was ready for a good race after a tough World Champs. Sipho WC-4

The few days leading up to the race were quite busy with local TV and Newspaper interviews. It was so cool to be on the local Swiss TV and newspaper on the Thursday before the race. I landed up having a lot of friends and supporters few days later!

Sipho WC-5Race day was really stressful morning.  Even though I had done all the work and preperation for the race I didn’t really know how the race would go. The  race started at 14:20,  but all my Swiss fans and sponsors were already having coffee at the restaurant by the start/finish at 11:00. I decided that I had to go and say ‘Hi’ before getting ready for the race. It was so special to see their excitement and to see the “WE SUPPORT SIPHO MADOLO” jersey everywhere in the restaurant, and my nervous friend Silas after all his hard work to get this together.

Sipho WC-8I was feeling really excited when I went to the start. It was cool to see so many people behind me including Kathy, who escaped from some work she was doing at the Tour de France just to come and support me on the day. I had a good starting position, as the seeding was not as bad as what it was at the World Champs in Prague. I didn’t have to put in the same amount of extra effort to move up to right position during the race. Th start in the World Cup was obvioulsy crazy, and it’s ‘full gas’ right from the very beginning.  The track really suited me so I was a bit comfortable after the crazy start and I felt good the whole race.  However, I had to try and be consistant uring the whole race to avoid the same mistake I did at World Champs. I had a really good race, no mechanical issues, no crashes and it was so cool having Oom Bryan at the feed zone with a fresh water bottle in every lap and Christoph cheering on the side line. I Finished 90th overall, with 85% rule in 2 laps to go. But I was really happy and because of the peoples support and cheering I didn’t feel pain or discomfort during the race. It was really special!

Thanks at Valaulta family for making my first world cup a very successful one and also big thanks at, Christoph Sauser and Specialized South Africa for the huge support, I wouldn’t have done any big race without them.

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