24 June 2014
Sipho Madolo’s dream has come true with his inclusion in the South African team to represent the host nation at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships, taking place in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
The 23-year-old from Kayamandi just outside Stellenbosch, eager to quench his thirst for adventure, steered away from the region’s passion for football in November 2009 when he began cycling.
Since then his career has been on an upward trajectory, and now the young star, who rides for Team Songo.info, is preparing for the biggest event of his life at Cascades MTB Park this weekend.
“I am so happy to have been selected for the South African team for the World Champs,” Madolo said in a statement on Monday. “It is a dream for me.
“I like a challenge and mountain biking is that. You have to work very hard in training, and the racing is just as tough.”
He added: “My selection is really big [for young black riders] and my family is very proud of me, but my selection is not just big for me, it’s big for the whole of Songo.info as well.
“The youngsters need someone they can look up to, and hopefully now I can be a bit of a role model to them.”
After turning his focus to cycling, Madolo’s passion for the sport was furthered tremendously when he met current marathon world champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing) in 2010, and the Swiss star’s influence made an immediate and visible impact.
“After I met Christoph, we then trained together in 2011,” Madolo explained. “That didn’t only change things for my life in cycling, it changed my whole life.
“I told Christoph last year that I wanted to try be selected for the World Champs this year, and he told me I had to work really hard.
“I never thought I’d ever end up racing with Christoph, which I did at Wine2Whales, and now I’m even going to be racing in exactly the same race as him.”
Madolo doesn’t want to make up the numbers at the World Championships, despite it being his first ever appearance at the global showcase.
“I really want to race, not just ride, the World Champs,” he said. “I want to do well, and so I have tried my best to make sure I have prepared properly over the past few months.
“Sometimes it’s even hard just to sleep because I want to get out there and go train. I’m very excited to represent South Africa.”