LONDON - Namibian mountain biker Marc Bassingthwaighte is in the form of his life and raring to give it a go in the Men’s Mountain Bike race at the 2012 Olympic Games on Sunday.
Bassingthwaighte took a practice ride on the course, which is situated on Hadleigh Farm in the Essex countryside, which offers some fantastic terrain for mountain biking, with gradients measuring 70 metres from top to bottom earlier this week.
The veteran rider was excited and commented that it was a very technical course that suits his riding style perfectly.
“There are a lot of rocks, but that won’t be difficult for me, because riding on rocks is one of my strong points,” he said, adding that he was physically and mentally ready for the race.
“I’m really looking forward to this race. I’ve worked very hard with my coach this year and I’ve never been in this shape in my life, so it’s now or never.” Bassingthwaighte is aiming for a top 30 finish.
“It’s going to be tough because the 50 best riders in the world will be here, but I think a top 30 place is possible.”
Veteran Namibian cyclist Mannie Heymans, is Bassingthwaighte’s manager and believe his protégé is ready for the challenge.
“Marc is focused and in good shape. He is physically in the best form that I have ever seen him. I raced with him at the Namibian National Championships in July and was impressed with the improvement he has made. But then again, all the other participating bikers have also improved tremendously so the challenge will be immense.”
However, Heymans rubbished any hopes of winning medals and dismissed any suggestions about winning medals as unrealistic.
“It takes a lot of hard work just to qualify for the Olympics and all this talk of medals, medals, medals is driving me through the roof.
We must be happy that Marc is here, competing against the best riders in the world,” he fumed.
Meanwhile, Heymans said he was very sorry that cyclist Dan Craven crashed out the Cycling Road Race on July 28. “I feel very sorry for Dan Craven. He should have had a helper in the support vehicle who could have helped him back into the race, but there was none.”
Craven had to share a support vehicle with riders from other nations and did not have a helper in the car and when he went down in a crash there was no one to support him and help him back into the race.